Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Sea Talker

Sea Talker

Hated by the people around him, sixteen-year-old Mercaj expects everything to change for the better with the arrival of his predestined soulmate. After she fails to show up, he's forced into exile where he discovers long-forgotten powers over the sea, which despite his efforts to carve out a peaceful place of his own, might just destroy the whole world. More info β†’
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Response to Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

  1. Hey Alex, just checking in to see what you are up to. Great website. Watching on your blog!

    Congratulations on your book!

    Pauline Hoffman CPO
    Just in Time Solutions

    • A very definite Someday – once I clear my life of some lingering responsibilities, I’ll be back to blogging – and to wrapping up Someday Syndrome. I have a whole bunch of plans for this blog fiction-wise but I didn’t want to overload myself and turn this love into a chore…

    • Actually I opted for both, but went for the hyphens as the main site and the non-hyphens as a redirect.

      I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of blogging again.

  2. Ah, that makes sense. I did something similar, using my name without the middle initial as a redirect — something I hadn’t even thought about until you mentioned your dilemma.

    I’ve always enjoyed your blog posts, even when I haven’t commented, so it’s good to see you getting back into it.

  3. Oh, thanks for the reminder! Set up – but unfortunately the RSS button is at the bottom of the screen – must remember to add some text to the sidebar to allow people to sign up to RSS that way.

  4. Bwhahahahahaha …. but how can you not like unicorns? I mean really :-)

    Loved your reviews, and if I actually had time to read just for fun as opposed to doing Silver & Grace book reviews I MIGHT consider a Kindle since it means I can do previews.


    I still love the tactile feel of holding a book.

    • The only unicorn I like is the one in Through the Looking Glass because he’s not all virginal or magical – he spends his day fighting with a lion and disbelieves in little girls.

  5. It’s been out for a while, so you may have seen it already, but I’m going to suggest you check out Jon Gibbs’s Fur-Face. The beginning of the product description on the Kindle store: “An evil scientist with a dastardly invention. A sadistic billionaire with a diabolical plan. What stands in their way? Two teenagers and one amazing cat. The bad guys don’t stand a chance!”

    Loved the reviews!

  6. I’m a big fan of rabbits. Of course, mine tend to be plot bunnies (sometimes with “great BIG teeth!”), but I love the Watership Down reference and the tailoring clothes for wings — something I’ve always wondered about.

    So is this supposed to be standalone, or is it part of a serial?

  7. Very nice. I have to read it again with a dictionary. But I think I understand it more or less. And I like it!!
    My conclusion: I need a fairy godmother in my life!!! πŸ˜‰

  8. Neat blog, Gail / Alex ! I love the style and feel it’s going to be a page-turner!
    But ouch! Having an 18-year old girl mention “I like sex too (who doesn’t?)” in a book intended for 14 to 18 year-old teenagers makes me feel uncomfortable as a parent…

    • @Cat – Thanks! Glad you like it. Re: the sex comment, did you never read Judy Blume at that age? Plus don’t 12 year-olds watch Gossip Girl or 90210? πŸ˜‰

  9. OK, you got me there, I don’t know all these authors or series! I am French and grew up reading Sci-fi and mysteries – no sex. And my soon-to-be 18 year-old daughter reads fantasy and vampire stories that only recently got hot. I have to guess French girls are not living up to their reputation and are way behind American girls πŸ˜‰

  10. awesome alex absolutely amazing, actually admitting life not where it should be and actioning it for something else! mr inspiration 2010!

  11. @sammi – thanks! It takes a lot of self-awareness to know when to stop and make a major change in direction – but since I had a clear idea of my destination it was an easy course change to make.

  12. I love the idea of your YA roundup! I’m a new fan to YA fiction – or at least new to embracing my love for YA. On a recent trip to NYC I borrowed my guy’s ebook reader to check out how I like the technology and decided to download The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for my first ebook. LOVED. I’ve since downloaded the final two books, finishing off the whole series in a week. Good YA can be so great – I feel bad for snubbing it for so long. Thanks for sharing your YA roundup!
    While none of the following are new releases, the exerpts I’ve read will have me moving on to Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.
    p.s. I’ve asked Santa for a Kindle of my very own πŸ˜‰

  13. @LoriW I’ve been hearing wonderful things about The Hunger Games. I think I’ll need to hole up over Xmas with them. πŸ˜‰ Thanks as well for the other suggestions – I’ll check them out.

    Hopefully Santa is good to you with the new Kindle 3 – I received my Kindle 2 one month before they announced the new one.

  14. I’m totally with her on What Not to Wear! They are so brutal. Thanks, I can tear my own ego down without it being televised. I know I’m not a fashion plate, so there! (And sometimes Stacy wears the most hideous things, and I wonder how she can bear to be seen in them.)

    Love the characterization of her roommate, and I’m beginning to wonder whether this curse includes her sense of adventure, so even the thought of going shopping gets put out of her head — much safer, more boring, to stay home and watch the soaps.

    • @Erin Thanks! This is one of those moments where I nod sagely and say “why yes, that was my exact intent” but then I’d be lying so I’ll have to give the subtly credit to my muse who knows what to do even when (or should I say especially?) I don’t give her direct orders.

  15. Having read several of Scott Westerfeld’s books, I urge you to give him another chance. Check out Leviathan, the book that came before Behemoth. (Kindle link:

    Not having received my (pre-ordered) copy of Behemoth yet (it’ll be shipped next week, when Riordan’s new book, The Lost Hero, also pre-ordered, is released), I can’t say whether the “on guard” error was something he did deliberately or an error (possibly introduced by someone else who worked on the book — I’ve seen some doozies in books I’ve proofed, and I imagine not every proofreader catches editing mistakes in content), but I can say if you can can get past it, you’ll probably enjoy the book.

    • @Erin – Okay, I’ll give the sample another go. If you like his books then I’ll give him a second chance. πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks Shannon! The best part of this was coming up with the slang and it’ll be fun to use it again in subsequent stories.

  16. Very nice! I’m not sure it stands on its own quite as well as the last one — the end doesn’t feel resolved, but more like a scene break. I think Linda’s trying to sneak in as an unplanned novel-length project.

  17. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» Friday Flash: Space Boy --
  18. I agree completely. This was definitely unfinished and that didn’t make me happy as it’s not really a flash story – more like a snippet – but yeah my muse is offering me a new novel (or longer short story) and I’ll let her play here.

    Linda has another snippet to offer about her hating to go space walking and hopefully that one will come up next week as a complete story in flash length.

  19. No, funnily enough no name. It was something that never came up. I think Gail keeps her as The Boss as a way to keep the bank and the job distant. She doesn’t want to think about moving up or any sort of ambition, so of course the boss can’t have a human face.

    Or something like that…

  20. @Erin

    I *think* Amanda is getting a feel for the curse, but of course you never really know what fairies are thinking, so I could be wrong. πŸ˜‰

  21. So what girl-dressed-as-a-boy book are you reading?

    I like Dylan, and I like the Hapsburg heir in disguise, too, but there are definitely some bits where I talk with my son about how something was written (for example the Tesla machines that emit the thunderous roar and then have lightning, which bugged my son since everyone knows thunder comes afterward). In general, though, I think the premise is good.

    I don’t know what’s up with the prologues. I know before I started writing, it never occurred to me to skip a prologue or ask whether it needed to be there. Now, I’m always suspicious. I saw someone (don’t remember who) who said that having a prologue was like having to hook your readers with two different first chapters. That’s an awful lot of work.

    • @Erin – Anne Lyle’s (hopefully soon to be published) A Mirror for London, set in an alternate Elizabethan England. It’s very well done and totally believable.

  22. Heh. I notice that neither Amanda nor Andrew mentioned the measurables. Love this entry! And can’t wait to see what’s in the magazine — Gail’s photo, taken at the art show?

  23. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» The YA Fantasy Roundup --
  24. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» Friday Flash: Spacewalk --
  25. *snicker* Has she managed to say “no” to Amanda yet about anything? Nope. What makes her think she can this time?

    Eagerly awaiting the next installment.

  26. @Marisa

    Thanks so much! I’m intrigued by him as well. He hasn’t revealed much about himself to me either. If he wants me to write more about him, however, he’s going to have to tell me *something* soon! πŸ˜‰

  27. Amazing what the mind can do to you. I wonder if Space Boy is another kid from another flight that drifted beyond the gravity well. I fear someday she’ll listen to Space Boy, and it won’t be good. Nice piece.

    Welcome to #FridayFlash.

  28. I can’t help thinking no good will come of her listening to Space Boy but she might have some fun, as well. With a name like Comet she probably needs to get out in space more – not that you’d get me up there or outside the spacecraft. Great story and welcome to #fridayflash

  29. @Aiden
    Thanks! At 15, parents are always a source of tension. πŸ˜‰

    Glad to be a part of it. It seems to be turning into the playground for a new novel. I’m excited to see where it goes.

    I have a feeling Space Boy is going to be as mysterious to me as he is to Linda. I’m enjoying the suspense.

    Thanks! I’m having fun creating slang although I’m also translating the stories into Spanish for friends here and the slang just doesn’t translate. At least not with my intermediate level of Spanish…

  30. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» YA Fantasy Book Review: Stork by Wendy Delsol --
  31. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» Friday Flash: Cooties --
  32. The story flowed extremely well. Even though scenes ended, or thoughts reflected, the story did not feel broken up. The scene where the children playing was very realistic. Then you find out they are on a space ship very far away from a white picket fence. Realistic characters, thoughts and emotions. Really enjoyed it.

  33. @Lara
    Thanks so much! I’m glad that the story didn’t feel broken up because it’s coming out as vignettes of a larger story (my muse isn’t giving me much choice about it) so it’s difficult to do without making it feel choppy.

  34. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life: In Love? How Boring --
  35. I liked the portrayal of the medic with no bedside manner. This brings tension into the scene later where she won’t describe what is happening and neither do her parents. Like how this tied in with “space boy”.

    • Thanks Aidan – these Friday Flashes seem to be coming out as an extended story. I’m curious to see where the characters what to do…

  36. Pingback: Wendy Delsol | A REVIEW BY ALEXWORLD
  37. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» Friday Flash: Rule Breaker --
  38. @Jax
    LOL! Thanks! When I was 16 I was convinced that magic was just a matter of believe that what you wanted to change was different from the current state. If only that were true, eh?

  39. Great to see this story continue to unfold. This boy sounds very complex, but he has somehow managed to maintain an innocence and youthful vibrancy by being able to roam and test the limits of space. Kind of like a scifi peter pan. Really cool!

  40. @Lara: I hadn’t thought of him like Peter Pan, but yes, he’s very much so. Time to go do some re-reading. (And thanks for the edit)

  41. Of course, the real question is whether others will see her eyes as pink. I’m really enjoying Space Boy and Linda’s interactions.

    This bit implies that her infection is in the past, so she’s already told her parents about him, hasn’t she? Should she consider what they said about his existence at the time? Just idle thoughts.

    • @Erin: Good questions! It’s getting hard to write these stories as separate stories that anyone could read without needed to read earlier ones, but yes, this one does happen after her parents know. That scene is going to have to wait until I string the pieces together into a novel I think. Not something that 1000 words could cover…

    • Thanks Mike! It’s fun to write and even more fun to write it as a series of short pieces. I can explore the characters without the stress of having to make it into a coherent story (yet).

  42. Tweeted this one out. Really enjoyed the light touch of tone, intimate third person capable of admitting this was “way cool,” and the way you brought the twig creature out so quickly and nonchalantly.

    • @John
      Thanks! This one came out of the first line that came to me on the walk to the library today to go write. I love when stories come out like this. I think I’ll explore this world some more.

    • @Adam
      Thanks! Someone mentioned Babylon 5 to me the other day and I was thinking that TV needs another show like that on the air again…

  43. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» Friday Flash: Spanish Twigs --
  44. Interesting world you’ve created here. I like the setting in spain (?) and was amused that the stick creature is much better than us americans able to understand and speak at least two languages.

  45. Thanks Aidan! Yes, it’s Spain (the Basque Country to be exact) and I figured if a bunch of twigs had intelligence, it would probably speak many languages… πŸ˜‰

  46. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» YA Round Up: What’s up with 1st Person Narrative? --
  47. Very curiosity-piquing, oh,she’ll be there alright, because she hungers for excitement, and he promised that no harm will come to her while he lives….

    But.. what if he is one of the undead that can turn into a bat?

    • @Steve & @Aidan:

      Sorry for taking forever to get back to you. Life swamped me for a bit. Glad you enjoy the piece and there is definitely danger there for Paula. More than she thinks. πŸ˜‰

  48. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» Book Review: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi --
  49. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life: Claire’s Meltdown Day --
  50. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life: Why Am I So Popular? --
    • Thanks Lara! I had a lot of fun writing the book, especially since it doesn’t fit the traditional chapter structure. And with the comments I can combat the unreliable narrator problem of 1st person.

    • @Lara
      The fun thing is that I’m setting it in the city I live so I’m now picturing the wee folk as I walk around. πŸ˜‰

  51. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» Book Review: Cold Magic by Kate Elliott --
    • @Lara
      I’m not sure what Hannah will do with her death, but move on surely not. Now that she’s full of happiness instead of bitterness she needs to go explore the world.

      That is a tough question, isn’t it? Too bad she let herself have such a crappy life but yay at least to her soul (?) getting it right after so.

      Thanks! Every once in a while I like to get allegorical with my emotional imagery. πŸ˜‰

  52. Quite an enjoyable and unusual story Alex, It’s hard to know whether to feel sorry for Hannah’s wasted life, or glad for her new-found happiness, even though it be in death.

  53. Pingback: Tweets that mention AlexWorld Β» Blog Archive Β» An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life: I Hate My Life --
  54. Hi Alex, I’ve just been catching up on Friday Flash, I love all the stories, more please! Space boy reminds me of a teenage Q from Star Trek, mischivous and meddling, and dead happy Hannah is great fun, even if she doesn’t like it! Alicia xx

  55. Yes Alicia, Space Boy is sort of a teenage Q mixed with teenage Dr Who, and a touch of Zaphod Beeblebrox.

    Hannah is becoming a great character, although given how contrary she is by nature, she doesn’t want to cooperate and tell me her story. πŸ˜‰

  56. Amused at the premise that there is a constant amount of happiness and for her to get rid of some of that she’ll have to make someone else happy. Yet, in the end we discover that happiness isn’t constant (or is it just that the teachers are losing a lot of happiness).

  57. I’ll take a planned vacation through a country of staggering beauty. Especially a paid planned vacation. Spontaneity will show up somewhere along the line. It’s what boredom is for (and alcohol, for the extremely bored).

    How come it says this was posted in 2004…? Are you playing with our heads?

  58. @John: It’s part of an extended series of posts “originally published” seven years ago. As for the planned vs unplanned vacations, I love them both. For Gail, however, the last thing she needs is someone else telling her what to do… πŸ˜‰

  59. @Aidan: I hadn’t thought of happiness as something limited. I pictured it as something that expands and contracts depending on the situation. But it’s a fascinating concept. I might explore that…

  60. That’s a good enough excuse for republication, just funny that they’re popping up the same day X-number of years later.

    The advice was good enough, but the ending is just tempting fate. Never ask what else could go wrong. Learn the lessons of Frasier Crane.

  61. Wow, that’s actually pretty interesting.

    Now you have me wondering all sorts of things about the story.

    I’m curious about the politics of your world, the customs therein. Is casual murder as common as this flash implies? Or is Mark somewhat different?

    The only part I’d want to see strengthened a bit…and I could be so very wrong here…is that while I’m clearly supposed to care about William, I’m not quite convinced why I should.

    Otherwise, the suspense right off the bat is really great and it’s enough to make me care about Wiliam…it makes me want to know if he succeeded.

    • Thanks Frank! Actually, no, you’re not supposed to care about William – you’re supposed to hate him as the other two protagonists do. He’s the antagonist – and yes the world (or at least this part of it) is full of casual assassinations.

  62. I’m supposed to hate him?

    Hmmm. I guess it’s because it’s an excerpt because I didn’t quite get that hate. If the world is full of casual assasinations, he’s not really doing anything anyone else wouldn’t be doing. There’s nothing in his thoughts or actions that make him someone “bad” at this point.

    I came away definitely wanting to know more…and like I said, I had the feeling I should root for him :) I guess it’s because there’s really no reason to care about Mark at this point…so Mark feels like a throw away character (which may not be the case).

  63. A little late to the party, but I’m liking the Hannah story. I too came off a Being Human marathon over the holidays so that puts me into a ghost in the real world kinda mood.

    • @Elaine: You’re a little late to the party but I’m very late in greeting you. Glad Hannah’s interesting you. Today you get her ending.

  64. Late to this posting too – but I read Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie last year and really enjoyed it. I like Flavia. And Bradley’s second book, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag was my first official Kindle purchase. I enjoyed that one too, although I think the first one may have been a bit more fun. Will be purchasing the 3rd book just out in the next bit too.

    • @Elaine – thanks for letting me know. I’ve put off getting the second one as there are so many other books I want to read, but it’s in my download list.

  65. I enjoy #fridayflash that allow me to read a sentence never before produced in my language. While this one was technically in existence back in 2004, it counts: “Before I could respond, Amanda (in bunny form) hopped into reality, then onto a chair.” Haha

    minor typo in the second paragraph: “its” for “it’s”

    • Thanks John. Glad you like the line (as for the timing, in reality it was created back in 2007 pretending to be 2004). πŸ˜‰

  66. Just finished reading this myself. I didn’t realize it was a first book and at the end I was off looking to see where book 2 was. As I watched my progression bar on my kindle get closer to the end I was thinking it was a little long on the story of ghost/girl relationship and short on girl/scottish boy/background on who she might be story – but as I realized there was going to be a sequel I knew I was still interested in finding out more. Easy fun read with an interesting setting.

  67. Pingback: A trip via Serendip to reading | Erin M. Hartshorn
    • @Damyanti: Glad you liked the piece! I look forward to seeing what you come up with from the random prompts people give you.

      @John: Having been a personal development blogger for a while the whole idea of happiness not being what we all think it is appealed to me.

      @Lisa: I’m happy you enjoyed it. Also happy I could provide a double reason for visiting. πŸ˜‰

      @Lee: I’ll comment directly on your blog posts. πŸ˜‰

      @Ella: The piece is a part of a series of short fiction based on watching too many episodes of the UK Being Human plus listening too much to Florence + the Machine.

      @Lara: Exactly – dead on your own terms. Good way to describe it!

  68. I’ll happily be your happy ghost. Her whiny approach to eternal glee is understandable, even if I won’t adopt it should I become a Spectral American. Appreciated his resistance in the end.

  69. What a great piece you have written. I enjoyed it very much.

    This is a double comment for me as I follow Flash Friday but you are also part of the blogs I committed to commenting on for the A-Z challenge so I will be back frequently.

    Inspired By Lisa A-Z

  70. Unique little piece of fiction. Nice way to start the challenge.
    I think your plan of daily topics sounds very good.

    Contrary to my usual practice of subscribing to comments, to save time during challenge I will not be doing so. If you want to respond to my comment , please email me directly from your email notification for the comment.

    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  71. Nice to meet you; I look forward to more interesting posts~It was intriguing to read. It has a hint of “Being Human” which I love. I have been watching the British version~ Well Done

  72. Wow, first of all I love you blog design – I’ve seen a lot while blog-trotting, and I really like yours.
    Nice to meet you, I followed your link from twitter :)
    I’d love to read more about you, so see you around :)

    • @Barbara: Thanks! I love the design as well. It was something that jumped out at me and it’s completely different from the blog designs I’d chosen in the past (bright and riotous instead of calm and cool).

      @Lisa: Some of my friends don’t get how I can be creative when being so organized. I tell them that I have to be organized or I’m too chaotic to get anything done.

      @Rae: Good for you for mixing things up! So you’re doing a double challenge then. AtoZ and random topics. Good luck!

      @Erin: I already have the titles for every piece from now to the end of the month. It was the first thing I did when I decided to do the challenge.

      @Christina: Sometimes I’d like to be more random as well, but it makes me anxious (that’s the thing my brain is missing). πŸ˜‰

  73. I’m also an organizer, but I decided not to do categories for the challenge. I already do categories during regular months and I wanted to do something different. Here’s to a month of intense blogging!

  74. Heh. Clear difference between us — I can’t even imagine trying to plan out every day like that! I do know what I’m going to do for D, though. πŸ˜‰

  75. I am insanely jealous of Master Planners and Professional Organizers. I am unfortunately missing whatever part of the brain that involves.

    Good luck with the challenge and see you on C.

  76. I enjoyed the premise of this one, souls that have a light and an essence of emotion coloring them after the death and the ending of two bodies crashing together and resulting in their emotional levels being even has a great correspondence to atomic physics.

  77. Thanks Aidan! I too love the mix of emotions and physics which must explain why the story came out that way even if I didn’t consciously mean it. πŸ˜‰

  78. Ooh, I loved it! It’s interesting how they balanced another in the end and, in a way, at least it’s relief. I don’t mind being happy, but I wouldn’t be able to comprehend being -that- happy. I’m curious what happened before she died. I’m also curious about Colin’s life. Good work!

  79. I may read it simply because you said they’re not helpless women. I hate helpless women in real life, in movies, in books. But they don’t have to be so hardcore that they hate men. Sounds like my kind of chicks.

  80. That’s quite the enticing opening you’ve got here. You’ve got a good ear for dialogue; it really breathes life into your characters. And now I’m curious what sort of adventure Mercaj is about to be thrust into. Sure, I can guess, based on allusions and foreshadowing, but I suspect I’d be way off.

  81. Oooh! I can’t stand whiny, helpless female characters. In books, movies, tv shows…anything. I guess cos my parents raised me to be the exact opposite, I don’t have patience for that. I like characters that are strong, yet knows when she needs help.

  82. @Christina & @Rae: My grandmother trained as a doctor in the early 1900s so I’ve always been surrounded by strong women. Reading about weak women just make me want to shake some sense into them. I don’t know why people still think that a weak woman is an attractive one, especially when it’s other women who think that…

  83. Thanks Nate! I used to write scripts with a friend for fun, which helped me develop my dialogue. I always worry that my characters all mush together into a single voice (mine πŸ˜‰ ) so it makes me very happy that in this short excerpt you got the sense of distinct characters.

  84. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Wonder how a Kindle experiment of some of my flash fiction would work out :). Most of the comments on my blog are polite “I love this!”–wish I knew if half of them had actually read thru and then commented lol

    I read stuff on my iPad, and now that I’ve discovered the Kindle app, my bookstore has gotten a little bigger. I do buy some stuff, but mostly, I feel I get what I pay for.

  85. I don’t have an actually Kindle but use my cell phone and computer to house my library. It is a great new technology but as a voracious reader I still can’t get past the actual “feel” of a book in my hands. The other thing I find challenging is that there are so many “free” books out there that I can’t seem to say no to downloading them. Where is the problem you ask? Guilt – will I ever read all these.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the wonderful compliment.


  86. @Damyanti: Dean Wesley Smith has some great advice about epubbed short stories and collections.

    @Lisa: I’ve decided to avoid the free novels for that reason – there are just too many out there. If someone puts a price on their novel, it’s because they feel it has value and I’m willing to pay for the professionalism that goes behind it (when it’s quality work that interests me of course). πŸ˜‰

  87. I can’t make myself read books that are not books. I just love the smell of the books, I love turning the pages, I love the look of them. Yes, I read some non-fiction on pdf and it was fine, but when it comes to stories, I need paper. My mind is just wired like that. :) I even do most of writing on paper first, believe it or not, even blogposts! It feels more natural, and m thoughts run better that way. I’m a young old-fashioned apparently. :)

    • @Andrea: I felt that way but with the lack of space in my apartment and the lack of English language books to read, I went for the Kindle and now when I read a print paperback I find it awkward, clunky and I hate having to use a bookmark to remember where I am. Funny how the strange becomes normal so quickly.

  88. We worried a lot about the quality of our own book which we self- published, and plan to put on Kindle one of these days! We delayed publishing for a long time in hopes that we would have the funds to pay a “real” editor. Finally we published it anyway and have been very gratified by the response. But I know what you mean. I simply can’t read something that is full of errors in spelling, grammar and syntax and I’m sure your stats are pretty accurate.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

    • @Sharon: I think by just being aware of it you’ve probably gone a long way to producing quality work. I’ve hired a proofreader for my work before it goes up and when I start earning from my fiction I’ll hire a proper editor first as well.

  89. I think taking the long view is sensible – though I reckon it’s very brave of you to bet your retirement on a writing career! However I know you’re the entrepreneurial type, so you have the drive to make a go of it. Maybe having a background in commercial (non-fiction) publishing makes me a lot more sanguine about its foibles :)

    I do take issue with a couple of your points, however.

    Point One. If your publisher is any good, your contract should specify that if the book goes out of print (including ebooks no longer being sold online), the rights revert to you – so you could self-publish if you want to. I know mine does! Hence I don’t think self-publishing has an advantage over commercial in that respect, unless you sign a bad contract.

    Also, a book advance is _not_ a loan, at least not in the normal sense used by banks, etc, because you don’t have to pay it back unless you fall out with your publisher and withdraw the manuscript, or something similar goes badly wrong with your working relationship. If your book doesn’t earn out the advance, the worst that normally happens is that you don’t get another contract from that publisher. As long as the book is published as per the contract, you get to keep the whole of that lump sum, regardless of how many copies sell.

    I agree that the percentage of revenue bites, but the money that goes straight to the publisher is what pays for the editing, cover art, marketing, and all those other things that indie authors have to pay for out of their own pockets. Sure you can do things on the cheap, if you have the talent/temperament – but not all of us are quite so multi-skilled.

    Anyway, all the best with the plan! You’re a great writer, and I seriously hope you see your dream come true.

  90. @Anne: The long view is the only one that makes any sense in this business. As for the loan thing, I guess it depends on the contract and how it might get broken (unless I’ve misunderstood how Rusch explains the concept). As for the rights issue, I think small presses are still willing to do the limited-time rights thing but I’m not interested at the moment in taking that chance. Later I could very easily see myself doing both but I’m going to start out in the indie-world. We each choose what we’re comfortable with in the end, as long as we do it with our eyes open.

  91. Good luck with that. I hope you keep us updated. I know Hocking talked on her blog about how long she’s been at this and how much work is involved in self publishing, because you have to do your own marketing. But it seems publishers are doing less now than they used to anyway.

  92. Good reasoning. I am, of course, hedging my bets by attempting both, but I want both a living income and a retirement income. (How’s that for brave? πŸ˜‰ )

    I was a bit surprised when Rusch said what she did about repayment of the advance, because every single other author blog I’ve ever read has said that their contracts specify it doesn’t need to be repaid if the book doesn’t earn out, and she implied that was the exception rather than the rule. Of course, every author’s negotiated contract is different, so that might account for the differences there.

    Good luck with building your retirement fund!

  93. @Donna: Yes, I’ve heard that too – that marketing is more and more heaved onto the author unless you’re one of the few the publisher wants to get behind.

    @Erin: I was surprised as well as I’d never heard of it, but I figured not having really been well-informed before that I’d missed something. I suppose it might depend on how the contract ends. If it’s a broken contract I imagine the money would have to be paid back, but a case of the book not earning out, maybe not.

    I too want a living from the writing, but having done some basic numbers (in 25 years 50 books at a bare minimum of 300 sales per book per year giving me roughly $45000 a year on top of my government benefits and existing savings) that gives me almost double what I live on now adding onto my other stuff, so even if not all 50 sell even those low numbers I’ll have something to add to income.

    And once I have a bit of a following I’ll start hedging my bets and going for both.

  94. I wonder if the “returnable advance” thing is a new idea by publishers who are reluctant to drop their advance levels (because it might make lose them plum deals) but want a safety net in case the book flops? Personally I’d rather have a small advance with a hope of royalties down the line – you still get the money one way or another.

  95. Thanks for the reminder Alex! We’ve got one e-book selling well to a very small niche market, and a huge pile of rejection letters growing for a totally different traditional book we had an agent pitch.

    Time to stop saying “someday” about the self-publishing route. Care to share which on-demand houses you’re considering? We’ve found even many of those indie publishers try to rope you in with huge downpayments and expensive value added services we can do ourselves.

  96. Alex, you echo my thoughts exactly. I’ve spent a year looking at self-publishing and traditional. I’ve finally decided to try self-publishing first because I think it better fits my personality for these reasons:

    – If a publisher accepts my book I’m immediately tied to their schedule. (Rachael Gardner posted on that topic yesterday, about what happens after you sign the dotted line)

    – I would prefer a stream of smaller payments to the advance-come-loan. I had no idea it can take years to “earn out” the advance.

    – I would have to do promo travelling for the publisher, which I may not be able to do. And as others have said, that time is better spent on writing which brings me long-term revenue.

    – I think I’m just more an Indie kind of guy. When I published my software I always did it on my own, and there’s something satisfying about it. That has nothing to do with control-freakdom, I just like the diversity of tasks.

    – I will hire editors, artists etc, and listen to their input, but I don’t want a publisher telling me their guess is better than mine. They only lose on one book out of many titles, I lose a lot more.

    – I think what counts is the relationship between writer and readers. The readers decide whether it’s good, nobody else. No critics, publishers, academics. Just readers.

    – I want my books to be available. It’s so annoying to discover a recommended book that is out of print.

    It’s a big topic, there’s a lot more to say. Thanks for your post.


  97. @Marcus: “They only lose on one book out of many titles, I lose a lot more.” Exactly! As I said to Anne, a small press might care more and an individual editor might care, but to the large corporation authors are widget-making machines.

    You’re other comment: “- I think what counts is the relationship between writer and readers. The readers decide whether it’s good, nobody else. No critics, publishers, academics. Just readers.” got me thinking about the whole Catholic/Protestant/Quaker distinction. The Catholics would be those who extol agents and publishers, the Protestants small press without an agent, and the Quakers with their unprogrammed worship the direct-line-to-readers indies.

    @Gail: Love the cover. It has a real professional look to it. I hope sales are going well for it.

  98. I would rather have the freedom to choose from a huge amount, provided there is a good search function, than rely on publishers to choose alone. Sure, some sort of assessment is required, but readers have the tools now to do that themselves now online.

    Traditional publishers produce slush content too. This happens when something is trendy and they want to jump on the bandwagon. The books are professionally produced yes, but the content is not much good. It’s just copycats riding a wave. Ever looked at the “remainders” piles (bargains), that’s what they’re called in the UK at least. Some gems may be amongst them, but often you wonder why the books were published.

    And don’t forget the possibly good books which get passed up because the publishers quota is full on a specific genre or subject, for that year.


  99. This is a very sensible way to look at it. I hope you succeed! I started writing now to give myself something TO DO in retirement. If’ I’m published all the better (I’ve got about 25 years to practice before I CAN retire).

  100. @Kari: I like your way of thinking as well. Something to do in retirement. And with 25 years to practice, you’ll get there I’m sure!

  101. @Marcus: Exactly! When I go to a bookstore, I have shelves and shelves in front of me but often leave without anything that’s grabbed my interest. Now I have a much wider selection to choose from and not just what someone else has decided I might like.

    • @Toby: It’s a hugely personal decision and as long as we make informed choices then it’s all great. Good luck!

  102. Followed a link here from Twitter…and just wanted to welcome you to the self-pub world. From the sounds of it, you have the perfect personality and sound reasons for going this route, and I dare say you’re going to find it very rewarding, as I have (especially with such realistic expectations).

    If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask. :-)

  103. I also am thinking of that passive stream of income as retirement money (though I’m way closer to needing it than you are), and have done both kinds of publishing. My standard advice: There’s no easy way to get a book published, not to mention making money from it.

    I’m wondering if you’re thinking of going with hard copies via POD or ebooks or both. My big project of the moment is a coffee-table type book, with lots of vintage photos of Maui’s mountain, Haleakala. Too expensive for POD, I think, and I don’t know if this sort of thing works on ebooks. Any thoughts on this?

    Beautiful website, BTW!

  104. @Marcus: a lot of people because writers for that reason – approval from others. I used to think that way as well until I started doing freelance non-fiction writing and had to take my ego out of the equation. Now I see my fiction as a business that makes me supremely happy.

    @Jill: I do plan on doing POD books at some point, but I’m going to ramp up the publishing bit by bit, starting with ebooks and then moving into POD later. As for art-books I haven’t thought much about them from a self-publishing point of view. I think I’d look for a small arthouse publisher in that case as they have the tools to produce this type of book. Glad you like the site.

  105. Sounds like this will be a terrific and useful feature! I’m fascinated by other writers’ processes. We all approach our writing differently, yet get similar results. Like you said, there’s no right way to do it as long as you get the writing done!

  106. You’re so right. No two writing processes are the same. But I have learnt a little from each writer who has talked about his/her writing process, because some of the tips work for me, too. I look forward to learning from you :)

  107. Sounds like a great idea and will have to check back to see what works for you and if any of it may help me. Good advice too. It really irks me when people try to insist that they know the correct way to write. For you, yeah. Me? Not so much.

  108. Alex, I think the ebooks is a good idea–half the tourists I see on Maui are carrying Kindles! I’ve done the POD thing with a couple of work-for-hire books I did (old people’s bios), and it does seem to work well with books that aren’t filled with illustrations. I had a friend years ago who somehow lost control of her rights by using the ISBN assigned by the POD publisher, but I don’t think that’s a problem with services like CreateSpace. Something to bear in mind, though, for any newbies in self-publishing–make sure you keep those rights!

  109. I tried to develop a writing process but didn’t stick with it because it wiped me out and made me regret putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, so I now try to write when I’m either inspired by something, very excited about an idea or project or when I am forcing myself to meet deadlines.

  110. I so agree. I took a class; it ended up cancelled. The author struggled teaching us, because in reality, one can’t! It only lasted 2 weeks. I look forward to your posts~ Thanks for visiting me and sharing!

  111. Pingback: A trip via Serendip to reading | Erin M. Hartshorn
  112. I agree with you, every writer and every writing style is different. (Thank god for that!) (OK, my mind just seem to bounce back to individuality which I’ve just written about… Weird.) But it’s really interesting to see how other writers work, what helps them, what hinders them. So I’m looking forward to this series!
    – andrea

  113. I actually really enjoyed Neverwhere, though I read it as one huge book. My husband is the one who introduced me to Good Omens.

    I have now added the sample of InterWorld to my Kindle app (that’s how I keep track of what I want to buy). Thanks for the excellent review!

  114. @Sylvia: Thanks. I look forward to seeing you in the comments.

    @Erin: I loved the book – it was the miniseries that was horrible (the production values were nil and the acting wooden). I do the same with recommendations.

  115. This sounds like a great read. It should be interesting to see how they deal with the world they created, since I have to spend so much time dealing mine.


  116. Uh, oh…I have a feeling they are in for it. Can’t wait to find out what happens next. I think there is a typo in the paragraph that starts with Jared rolled his eyes. I think it was meant to be “of the park, he couldn’t help but feel” Fairies just love to play trixie on us “dumb humans.”

  117. @Misha: Not only is it a great read, it’s a quick one too, leaving you plenty of time for the (not quite so fun) real world. πŸ˜‰

  118. @Damyanti & @Erin: Glad you enjoyed the piece. I had a lot of fun writing the book. The original Through The Looking Glass is one of my favorite novels of all time, so doing a sequel was like a dream come true.

  119. @Lara: Yes, they are in for it, but I’m not quite sure how yet. I’ll find out tomorrow when I write the next piece, called “Memory Loss.”

  120. Oh, this is brilliant :) Reading your post, I just kept going “Yes! Yes!” My favorite part is where you say:

    “I can have an infinitely large library without ever worrying about space. With the non-backlit screen and sizable fonts, my eyes don’t get tired and I can read without needing my glasses.”

    This is beautiful!!! I’m sooo happy for you :) (And for the world that this technology exists!) Wooohooo!!!!

  121. The fact that you want your work to be presented professionally speaks volumes of your commitment to the art. And it can be argued that business is an art form of its own.

    It’s a pleasure to meet you from the A-Z Challenge!

  122. I hear you. I love my Kindle and wouldn’t swap it for the world. I get mad now if I can’t download a book on Kindle. But the thing I most love about reading on my Kindle is when I reach out to the top right hand corner as if to turn the page. It is just so similar to reading a book that I forget it’s not one. Great post.

  123. @Jeffrey: It’s true! Doing business well is a real art. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

    @Patricia: And thanks to you as well. Thanks to people like Dean Wesley Smith, I’ve learned that writing is two businesses – the writer and the publisher and both need to be professional. Fortunately I’m able to remove the ego from the writer part and look at my fiction from the point of view of the publisher.

  124. @Jolene: Enjoy your Kindle when it arrives!

    @Gabrielle: When I read a paper book now, I try to press the side of the page to turn it. πŸ˜‰

  125. I think that many authors, artists, and other creative types are often afraid and even repulsed by the business end of thing which is why the agents and publishers are so important. I don’t understand when a person who has created something is unwilling or hesitant about promoting what they’ve done. Marketing is the most effective way of getting product into peoples hands.

    You make interesting points.

    Tossing It Out

  126. @Erin & @Patricia: Thanks! I have no idea what will happen to them or how they’ll get home, but at least they have one maybe-ally in it with them…

  127. What an interesting take on things – I get so stuck for new ideas sometimes, that when they do come flooding through, I try to net every single one of them, become bewildered with my haul and stop. Grind. to. a. halt.

    I’m going to give your way a go – thanks for the inspiration,

    • @Laura: Good luck and I hope the trial works for you. You might also try a midway point which is to keep a notebook or computer file where you can jot down ideas as they come then move back to whatever else you’re working on.

    • @Patricia: Maybe the way that works best for you is to work in an assembly line way moving a whole bunch of ideas forward at different points… Might make your Muse a little less sadistic. πŸ˜‰

  128. I’m never stuck for new ideas, but my attitude is almost the opposite of yours — I get my best new ideas when I’m busiest. I don’t keep track of every new idea that I get, but I take on enough of them that I know my muse doesn’t feel she’s being ignored and go sulk. πŸ˜‰

    I do get distracted easily, it’s true, but I meet my deadlines, too — which is my measuring stick for whether I’ve taken on too much.

    • @Nutschell: Hope you enjoy it as well as the rest of the series. As you can see, I love everything Fforde has written.

  129. Thanks for starting this conversation, Alex :)

    I love books. I love the look, the feel, the smell… everything about them. When I was younger, it was nothing for me to read two novels in one sitting!

    For the past six years, though, I’ve read far fewer books than I really wanted to, and it wasn’t until I got the Kindle app on my Blackberry that I realized that schlepping books around with me no longer really fit my lifestyle.

    Since getting the app (just a few months), I’ve read more books than I’d read in the past six years combined. My BB is always with me, and it’s easy to read anywhere, and anytime I have even a few moments. I love that I can buy every book I’ve looked for to date with a single click and it’s available to me in just a few seconds. And, like you, the sample feature makes it really simple to say yes to a book I might not have otherwise.

    So I’m another person grateful for ebooks.

    My only hope is that they don’t cause an end to bound books–I do think that would be a travesty.

    • @Anastacia: I don’t think there will ever been an end to bound books. It’s not like the vinyl/CD/mp3 shift. As much as we love technology, the only reliable way to permanently store information is in paper. I know that as I build up my indie-publishing, I will be creating print versions of all my works as archive copies. However, you’re right about the lifestyle and reading choices. My Kindle fits my current lifestyle. Paper books don’t.

  130. I’ve been noticing a lot of people testing the waters of indie publishing. Makes sense, especially after what you said about finding out what parts you don’t excel at.

    Good luck and congrats on your book.

    • @Patricia: Thanks! It’s getting closer every day. At some point if traditional publishing comes knocking I won’t say no, but it in meantime the indie world is a good way to build up readers and earn money off of it.

      @Sarah: Thanks as well! It is very exciting.

    • @Patricia: I’m wondering the same. πŸ˜‰

      @Erin: Oh yes! Much more Andrew in this one (but the full story will have to wait until I’m done writing the current series).

      @Arlee: Yes, there is a touch of that there. Great movie!

    • @Patricia: I know people who take that out-of-order scene discovery and write the book that way, piecing the story together like a quilt. It’s not something I could do but the process fascinates me.

      @Danidel: Eight chapters? Wow! That’s impressive. In my next post about my writing process I’m going to talk about my outlining process, but it’s loose as well. And lots of fun.

  131. I love the magic of things happening organically; when you sit down and just dig in and see what happens, let the story write itself. My current WIP was started that way. I pounded out eight chapters strictly off the pants. Once I was that far in, I realized I couldn’t tell the story I wanted to tell without alot of preparation. So I had to stop, give it a ton of thinktime, then came back at it with a loose outline. I’m bouncing to and fro now, between the planning and the pantsing, and it’s going fairly well. The planning gets the complicated mechanics sorted, but I’m not married to the outline. Tons of fun, as it turns out.

  132. Pingback: Lovely review of Dreampunk | Erin M. Hartshorn
  133. I just finished Acceleration by Graham McNamee. It was short and quick read. Kid finds a serial killer’s book and sets out to stop him.
    I haven’t read any indie books but someone I follow on twitter hooked me up with his book Asylum Lake so that’s on my virtual TBR pile.

    • @Patricia: Sounds like an exciting read. When I read mysteries they tend to be the cozy variety rather than the serial killer ones. My mother’s a fan of those ones. I’ll pass along the recommendation to her.

  134. @David: I got the idea from a post you wrote. I owe you a world of thanks for showing me the way. I definitely feel that the fourth novel (called Undoing Alice) is the strongest so far.

  135. I think that’s one of the hardest lessons for many people to learn. I can’t begin to tell you how often we hear that story from clients over and over again.

    You will definitely have a kick ass cover and thanks so much for the kind words :)

  136. Sorry to hear that. It can be tough when you start out. You only have so much money and you have to be so careful. When my story is ready I have a few cover artists bookmarked that I’ll have to look into and decide how much I’m willing to spend. Can’t wait to see your cover.

  137. It’s not only one of the hardest lessons, it’s almost always one of the last ones learned. I do the same thing, but never seem to come to my senses. Don’t you wish there was a checklist you could go through of reasons why it’s better to go expensive and well-done in the first place? It would save me a lot of time, that I know for sure.

  138. Thanks Alex, (and everyone)

    We enjoyed reading the story, and had a blast doing the cover for you. We wish you great success promoting the book and will be glad to help any way we can.

    @Shirley, Bewitched is exactly what I thought of when Deb suggested that font. Even before she added the star effect. Isn’t she clever?

  139. Congrats! I can’t get over how awesome that cover is. Now added to my wishlist for future buying (I’ve grounded myself from buying books until I’ve read through the piles I have.)

  140. Thanks Patricia and I know what you mean. Especially now that I have a Kindle I have to limit myself to one book a week or I end up spending far too much money.

  141. Thanks for the support everyone! You have no idea how much I love the cover. Can’t wait to see what Deb and Wendi do for the next book.

  142. Hi Alex,

    Congrats on the book release and new cover. That is awesome. I was just visiting some of my old blogger friends and saw that you haven’t blogged on your old site for awhile. Glad to see you found your someday!!!


  143. Thanks for the tip, I am still a bit as you were in your teenage years and tend to avoid the outline process as it causes me to feel trapped and subdued. I am going to try out this way and see if it makes my writing flow more freely, while still staying in line!

  144. Even though I’ve been writing for years, I find that my process changes for each story.

    My longest works get something similar to what you do, with the mini-outlines, though I like to get chapter headings all the way through. These may or may not end up in the work.

    The shorter the piece, the more likely I am to see where the writing takes me… until I reach a point where it looks like it goes longer, then I’ll outline.

    Nice post! Thanks for sharing your process.

  145. Congratulations!! That’s so exciting – my heart’s actually racing reading this because I hope in a month or two, this will be me! I’m in the final stages of getting my book ready for publication, so I’m going to have to read more of your blog and hope you give lots of info!

    • Thanks Marie! And good luck when it comes to your own book. It is an incredible feeling.

      Michael: Thanks for stopping by!

  146. @ChaseK8: Hope it helps! That trapped feeling is so creatively draining.

    @Brett: I find as well that the process changes with each story, but so far it’s been a tweak or two here and there rather than a wholesale change.

  147. Quirky, I think we are all headed the way of your world, hopefully someone will be around to pull us together like the young emperor does here. Nice development from your original inspiration.

  148. Did the young emperor ban televisions? :>

    Great piece of fiction.
    Love the blog layout as well.

  149. When Amanda is finished with Gail’s life, do you think she’ll stop in to fix my disorganized excuse for an existance? LOL

    Looks like a great book! I’ve put it on the short list. πŸ˜€


    • Victoria, hope you enjoy the book and I’ll put a good word in for you with Amanda. She might just have an opening. πŸ˜‰

  150. @Paul: Glad it made you smile!

    @Adam: Sometimes I fear the same thing, but then I see huge books that the masses love (like the Twilight series or Harry Potter) and I have hope.

    @Brett: In the Emperor’s world, there are no TVs. *gasp!*

    @Erin: Thanks – part of my challenge with the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is to make the month’s theme match with the category of the day on this blog.

    @David: There’s a great word in Spanish that sums up the idea of “if only” – OjalΓ‘! – perfect in this situation.

    @Sharon: I think in this Emperor’s world they’d be bespelled books or scrolls. πŸ˜‰

  151. Loved this! In very few words you managed to capture the challenge of our ever growing social tendency to only scratch the surface. I am sharing this on Facebook.

  152. Seems to me like walking out of a movie after twenty minutes because you’re enjoying it too much. Pity.

    I read in an online interview somewhere that the author, Alan Bradley, has said that the complete story will be told over a span of six books, and that The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie is just a single slice of the whole tale.

    As for me, I can’t wait for the fourth one, due in November.

    • Good way of thinking of it, Becka. I’ll have to give the second one a try. Good thing for Kindle samples!

  153. Hey, Alex! Sounds like an excellent plan. Maybe we’ll see you at World Fantasy 2013 when it comes to the UK, since you’ll be pimping your books by then :)

  154. @Anne – that’s my idea! Which reminds me, I need to look at the tickets again and pick one up before they sell out.

    @Deb – I have a great fuzzy one with words and random letters on it!

    • Thanks so much, Teresa! Glad you enjoyed the other blog and I’m happy you found your way here. Hope you also enjoy the book.

  155. Great plan, Alex!

    I’m taking it every bit as seriously, but I’m not so much planning anything as I am taking the next logical step when it presents itself.

    I’ve had to be a bit flexible lately (long story–see my blog) but as long as we all keep writing and creating, I feel, we’re on the right track.

  156. Thanks David & Michael!

    Michael: Re the next logical step when it presents itself – in other words prepared for when the universe tells you which turn to take next. Good plan!

  157. What a wonderful way to get a story! I wonder how long that one really grew in your mind before you found the story you wanted to write.

    Do you have other story ideas that have come along in the same sort of way?

  158. Thanks Dawn & Zette – most of my stories come at me in a similar way. They start with an image or something that “itches” at me and then I start asking questions and I keep asking until a story comes out.

  159. To some extent, I can see subgenres as useful. There are hard SF readers who go apoplectic at space opera or (heaven forbid!) SF romance. Similarly, there are people who prefer epic fantasy or sword-and-sorcery or contemporary fantasy. If a book is labelled (and sometimes, that label is just the type of cover that’s on it), it can find its intended audience more readily.

    On the other hand, I write all over the map and do not want to pigeon-holed, so I understand your frustration with the idea of a narrow niche. Personally, I think just saying you write fantasy (or perhaps YA fantasy, for those who care) should be enough, if that’s how you choose to define yourself.

    (Of course, you know breadth, not depth, is my motto.)

  160. Yeah, I can understand the reason for niching books – and it’s quite useful. For example, I normally know to stay away from the modern definition of Urban Fantasy because I’m not big on vampires or werewolves these days.

    However, it can go too far.

    And yes, I hate being pigeon-holed, too!

  161. I am so happy for you. I always enjoyed and looked forward to the posts including bits of An ‘Extraordinary Ordinary Life.’ Awesome:}

    • Thanks April! I had a lot of fun writing it. I have to admit that it’ll be a while until the next book, but until then I promise to start upping my posting schedule (including bits and pieces of Amanda). πŸ˜‰

  162. My goals for 2012 are determined by my current publishing contract – I have two novel manuscripts to hand in (one nearly done, one yet to be written). Oh, and I want to overhaul my website and continue blogging regularly.

    Everything else is in the hands of the gods :)

    • Anne: It must feel kind of cool to have your goals decided for you by someone else. I imagine it’s a bit of a relief (and a lot of stress) to have deadlines set for you.

  163. My goals aren’t year long, but I do have some planned.

    Get 3 more short stories into circulation.
    Complete the writing on one of my 9 presently started novels.
    Increase posts on my Blog to once a week.

    Then there is the nebulous one:
    Find fun in my life again.

    Oh and become a paid published author!

  164. Brett: Those are great goals! Definitely measurable and totally doable. Good luck!

    Erin: The last one does terrify me, but it’s my third time doing it, so I’ve learned to work past the fear. BTW, I will likely be doing a FM Writers class on newsletter list building, so you might learn to get past the fear with it.

  165. I saw that you were putting that class together, and I’m of two minds about it. Part of me says if I’m so afraid of it, it must be something I really need to do. And part of me says, meh. That’s not who I am, and I’m happy to see how just writing the next book works as a marketing plan. Which means I’ll probably do the class, but may not act on it, at least just yet.

  166. Love this description! It reminds me of when I read John Locke’s description of his ideal reader — not in content so much, of course, as in the depth of how you’ve thought it through. Clearly from my own post, I haven’t thought about it in quite this same way. Maybe that’s because I write all over the map, and I’m too lazy to do it for each thing I write? Not sure.

    Anyway, a very informative post.

  167. That’s too funny Erin, because I got the idea directly from Locke’s book. Honestly, it was the only thing that I got out of the book that was really helpful. Worth the money I spent on the book. πŸ˜‰

  168. His book gave me a lot to think about, but I think that sort of analysis is more relevant if you’re planning to actually work at the marketing. His long, infrequent blog posts and market barrages aren’t my style, so I haven’t bothered to put that level of effort into writing out the typical reader for my various works.

    (In retrospect, I do wonder whether the various Tweets I get with little to them except a link, which is also sent to many others, is from people trying to use Locke’s method. I don’t know because I never follow the links; I simply report them as spam.)

    Glad the book provided some good for you!

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  170. My favorite so far. I love how inundated in details this one is. I felt like I was in there, getting drenched, and it brought both worlds together so beautifully and unmistakably.

  171. Simple and to the point, so we can stop procrastinating by reading each others blogs. :)

    I’m a chronic procrastinator, and I’d hate to think how much writing I could have accomplished in the last year alone “if only”… I try not to let the past bother me, and look for ways to have some positive inertia.

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  173. I tell people all the time that I’m bad at description, often when they’ve told me that I’m good at it. Given my druthers, a lot of my books would be completely filled with talking heads in a vacuum. Because I know this, though, I often make an effort to put the description in while I’m writing just so I don’t have to go back and add it later!

    Congrats on your insight!

  174. Congrats on the words. I can do ruts — like checking my e-mail first thing when I pop onto the computer — but somehow, starting a good habit as a routine is work. πŸ˜› I like your attitude about the blog just being a tool.

  175. Hooray for concentrating on the present! So hard to do, but such a great mindset!

    And extra cheers for the wonderful lunch just waiting for you when you got home (and cheers for the husband who made it, too)!

    • Yes, it’s very hard to do, but I am finding my life to flow so much better when I manage to achieve it, in every way – from work to relationships to writing. Curious that despite the obvious benefits, it’s still a difficult mindset to hold onto…

  176. Leap of faith, bridge of confidence . . . sounds like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. πŸ˜€

    Hooray for validation of being in the moment!

  177. The usual: fear that I’m going to be found out. That people will realize I’m not really that clever, and I shall have to go get a real job. πŸ˜€

  178. Is there a duplicate in there, or is it just my Safari being buggy?

    I think it works well. Can’t wait to see the whole thing!

    (FYI, for some reason I noticed I’d subscribed to your blog twice, so I recently unsubscribed under one address.)

  179. Hmm. I’ve never thought about it this way before. I actually like reaching the end — but that may be because I’ve got the next cast chomping at the bit, waiting for me to live in their world for a while.

  180. I enjoyed this greatly. At first I was a little off balance, not knowing who was really talking but when it came to the fairy godmother, yep, amazing. πŸ˜€ I can’t wait for more. (I’m a little behind the curve, sorry.)

  181. I saw your signature over on FM and then this post and was wondering… well, what it meant and how you did it. I’m looking to do the same thing so I was curious as to how you went about working your writing into a business by each year. I may be starting a small home business with my mother doing crafts but I also want to have time for my writing. Just curious as to how you went about it in hopes that I can learn to do the same.

  182. It is amazing how one’s perception changes when it becomes one’s career, isn’t it? Someone asked me just a few weeks back, “Don’t you ever take a break? How is it you produce so much?” It’s simple – if I stop writing, I stop eating and paying the bills.

    • Eating is a powerful motivator. Since I have a day job, I don’t have that pressure, so I need to find other ways to motivate me. Eating when I retire with only a government pension is my big motivator.

  183. Congratulations Alex – like the story line. I too have sat next to too many elderly ladies revealing too much scrawny frontage on the beaches of Les Landes – they’ve never had British accents though lol