Monday, March 30, 2015

New Title?

"A Dark Place" has far too many hits on Google to make a good book title.

Gosh darn it!

I tried a long list of variations, "A quiet place," "A fine place," "A still place," and and "Fine quiet place" etc. All either movies, songs or books.

"And Yet She Lives" seems to be untaken.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Scout Song - Oh Tom the Toad

Not original, but worthy of preservation, (heard while visiting the camporee with my Webelos).

This is sung to the tune of "O Christmas Tree"

Oh Tom the Toad
Oh Tom the Toad
Why did you hop out on the road
You didn't see that semi-truck
You were a toad and now you're muck.

Oh Tom the Toad
Oh Tom the Toad
Why did you hop out on the road
Once you ate flies red and blue
Now the flies are eating you.

I guess you had to be there to appreciate it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A teaser.

While I'm still debating with myself how much to put here, I'm happy to put a teaser.  The book I'm working on right now is "A Dark Place." It's an experiment at writing a Gothic romance in the spirit of works like "the Castle of Udolpho" with skeletons and all that rubbish.

It starts with a grave robbing, and the heroine waking up shortly before she's anatomized. She remembers almost nothing of her former life, and the doctor who was about to dissect her is the classic combination of stud and mystery. (Although he is careful to follow the conventions.  In Regency times holding hands without gloves before marriage was a serious event.)  Via a complicated set of twistings and turnings, including being an abortive wedding with someone else, they finally hitch up.

I've had difficulties with scrivener keeping things I wanted to change. Decorrecting spellings and various mysterious ghostly happenings. I want those in the plot, not the word-processor. So while it's great for laying out the plot, I've reverted to doing the actual writing with LibreOffice.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What counts as a publication?

I'm in a bit of a quandary. I like to prerelease chapters and snippets. This is both to boost the eventual sales of the book and get feedback (not so much from this blog, but there are some writer's sites that have been exceedingly helpful).

I'd also like to submit things for publication. So what counts? At least one Sci-fi magazine says anything, anywhere, anytime is pre-publication and therefore cause for rejection. It's not so bad for self-publishing, but I'd hate to "Sc**w the Pooch" to borrow a military aphorism for other modes.

On the other hand having snippets lodged in the bowels of Google with a definite time-stamp that I can't possibly alter does protect me from charges of plagiarism.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Voting with their clicks.

One interesting and potentially useful side effect of pitmad is the ranking of tweets by a set of more or less disinterested observers.

Since the fallback is to send the book to kindle scout as a sort of high-class preorder, this lets me pick the most effective one-liner.

Monday, March 9, 2015


I'm thinking of trying #PitMad on twitter. Apparently you can make up to 24 pitch attempts for your new, ready to go, and unpublished work. The idea is that you tweet a 140 (-7 -4) character tweet that sells your book and the agents who like it will let you know.  The tweets are tagged with #PitMad and #<type of book>

It's one of those 80% investments with low odds, but high returns if it works.

My latest "After the Convergence" is ready. This is something of an accident, but one should never look a gift computer in the chips.

Now how to write 24 selling tweets. It's harder than it sounds. I'm up to 13.

Here are a few of my better ones.

In a future where self-aware computers monitor their humans, PI Blake hacks his way to save a missing girl, only to find love. #PitMad #SFF

In a world where everything is watched, a hard boiled detective seeks a missing girl; finds more than he bargained for. #PitMad #SFF

After the convergence. A dead partner, a missing girl, rage against intelligent machines and a detective. #PitMad #R

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

An Experiment.

Does punctuation matter?

I am performing an inadvertent experiment to see how much difference it makes. I ran my book Cynthia the Invincible through Grammarly, and caught many of the infelicities that slip through word, libreoffice and the hemmingway app. It's not perfect, nor am I, but it seems to have improved the book's quality.

Smashwords gives two counts. One is the number of sample downloads and the other is the number of "purchases." The purchase/sample ratio is therefore a measure of the quality of the book.

My earlier books were averaging about 1/20. So far, although over a much shorter period the ratio is 1/6-1/7. We'll have to see what happens with longer times, but I'm optimistic.

Update. It's hanging around 1/7. So the details do matter.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Romance writing?

Came across this online. Can't resist putting it up again.