Dying Embers: Take Two

I can’t tell you how nervous I still get when emailing my publisher (or the fact that half the time I’m still in wonder about having a publisher!). I’m not kidding. My first book, FOREVER BURN, has been out since March 1, coming up on three months now, and it seems to be doing fairly well (at least, the publisher says so). Before that book was released, in January (really, really early January), I emailed my publisher DYING EMBERS, which is the prequel to FOREVER BURN and Addison’s story.

She loved it, but said she wanted to wait until I had FOREVER BURN in my hands. However, she sent it back with the edits.

So now…five months after I got it back from her and three months after FOREVER BURN’s release, it was high time that I emailed her about it. I really needed to figure out if she was still planning on going through with publishing it, or if I needed to find someplace else. STILL THERE ARE NERVES! I had to call my bff, Katherine (who makes a wonderful side one-off character in DYING EMBERS, it’s hilarious really), and tell her to yell at me to send the email. Talk about ridiculousness.

Here’s how my email went.

Hey,I just wanted to double-check and make sure that you were still interested in this book. I was going to start editing it soon (crazy semester). I wanted to add in one more plot line in the beginning of it, to give some more edge and action through the first part of the story. I can easily do that as it’s not a main plot point, but it will add to the world Addy is coming from and to the issue of her transition to no longer being part of her old life.

I was also going to start writing the third and final one in June (Ashes Fall).

Thanks,

So…I waited at my computer, impatiently wanting that little number to appear at the tab so I knew I had a new email. The thing about my publisher, is she gets back to me like none other. She’s always getting back to me within a couple hours (unless I send it in the vast wonders of the night, then of course I have to wait a few more than usual).

One hour.

I’m not kidding: just under ONE HOUR!

That’s all I had to wait for the reply. The reply that basically gave me exactly what I’m going to be doing for the next two months and most of the summer. The reply that I really needed to get to boost my energy level.

Yes!

I was just thinking about Dying Embers this morning, while putting some paperwork together. I’m ready for the new project. When you’re done editing. :) Sounds like you’re taking on a lot!

Best regards,

That’s it. “Yes!”

Best feeling in the world–at least until I went and participated and helped a good friend propose to his girlfriend with a whole song and dance. Elation surpassed by elation.

However, I am going to make a ploy. Check out FOREVER BURN and buy it if you want. If you do, and you read it, a review would be AWESOME. Right now, the launch date for DYING EMBERS is March 1, 2014. My guess is that will be bumped to September or October. So stay tuned for updates.

The Failure of Time

I wanted to share this blog and the struggles that I have been dealing with for the past “little” while. It seems over this past week to me that each person’s story and struggle is important to understanding who they are and where they come from. It is also rather therapeutic for those who are doing the telling. I hope this story doesn’t seem too personal, or that you think I’m revealing far too much about myself in it. However, I do believe in honesty and truth, and in not hiding in the shade.

***

It’s so hard for me to put this into words that make sense. The closest I can come to is that I feel like a failure. While there are a few things in my life that are not going right at the moment (work, school, the pursuit of happiness), the one that would be relevant to this blog is my novel and my writing. FOREVER BURN came out March 1st of this year, and while I have sold copies of it, I feel inadequate in the amount that have been sold and the entire process.

I’m sitting here thinking that it needed another round or two of editing. That it needed a better, more formed, stronger publisher, who works harder (or at all) on marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my publisher, she’s great and sweet, but I’m starting to see some downfalls and thinking that I may have made a bad choice.

When it comes to marketing, I feel as though there is only so much that I can do by myself for free. I certainly can’t afford to hire a publicist or even pay $50 to end up on a blog tour or to have my book reviewed. I’ve been unemployed since December of 2011 and the toll on me has been taken. I live off of about $900-$1000 a month (3/4 of that if not more goes to rent). That is considered poverty, yet here I stand (or sit, actually), living off my mother who can barely afford to live as is. It’s a constant struggle. When is writing and taking this time not worth it anymore?

When will I reap the benefits? I did get my first royalty check at the first of this month. I was ecstatic even though the dollar amount was measly (under $20). What do I get for it? I spent hours upon hours, money on ink to print and edit, money to mail stuff out to the publisher, cover artists, editor, and formatter, I put so much time and energy into it and all for what? I know that I’ll get more later on, but what I’m debating right now is whether or not it’s even worth it to try again.

Such is the life of a writer, I suppose. But so is the life of a student, a daughter, a volunteer, a copy-editor, a woman, a young adult, and a human.

I am someone who likes to see quick results, who can look and know that there is an end, a resolution, a pinnacle point somewhere in the near future. Maybe that’s not what happens with writing; maybe I need to be patient for yet another three years and still struggle to make any ends even come close to meeting; or maybe I should just give up. Not writing. I’m not sure that I could ever give up writing as a whole, but maybe I should give up the idea of publishing in this world, of sharing my stories in anything other than an online format for free for anyone who happens to stumble upon them. Maybe this just isn’t the time.

Time is an interesting subject to study. After spending a week in Guatemala and small towns where time just seems to slow down, where there are seconds and minutes in each hour that can be counted because they are each working toward the survival of time’s occupant; perhaps this is what I need a reminder of. I need to let everything slow down and come to ripen with the seasons.

Struggling Artist #indie

It’s hard to struggle. I think that, and then at the same time I think that struggling just adds that much more to the story. I have officially been unemployed since December of 2011. That’s sixteen months and heading right into the seventeenth. Yes, I currently work at a church twice a month doing children’s church but that doesn’t even pay me enough to feed my cats on a monthly basis, let alone me.

Struggling sucks. Flat out–it sucks. I have sent in dozens of applications to entry level, low level, crappy, good, educated jobs–just about anything one can think of, I’ve applied for it (except McDonald’s and Walmart, the two I will NEVER apply for).

I’m a writer. I’m even a published writer. It’s like people think that once published, everything takes off. Well, it doesn’t. To live off my royalties the amount of books I would have to sell is a number so large that my brain can’t compute it. My goal is to sell 60 ebooks a month. Which would be totally awesome if it did happen (and it did, for at least the first month). But the problem is that it still takes anywhere from four to six months for me to see that money. There is a gigantic lag.

This is the not so pretty side of publishing. The money isn’t instantaneous, there is a seriously long wait to get it. And getting it right now would be awesome! This is also why so many authors and writers have day jobs. People think it would be awesome to write all day and to only worry about the damned loud characters in my head that shout at me second after second to get their story written, but I’m not so sure about that. It gets pretty boring to sit by myself in my apartment all day, writing. I’ve done it–for the past sixteen months. It ain’t so pretty at all.

The day job gives me time to think, time to work through problems and people to talk to. Now, it doesn’t have to be the day job of my dreams or one that takes over my life. Something that is sufficient enough to give me something else to think about–that’s what I want. Something to ease the tedium of writing (never thought I would say that).

Now, go write and read peoples!! Support those indie authors!

Forever Burn Collage

Forever Burn Collage

I finally put the collage together that I’ve been meaning to do. These are a few photos from people who bought “Forever Burn” and were kind enough to send me the photos of them holding it. I love the community, love, and care that this shows, and seeing all these smiling faces just makes me grin in response.

If you buy it, post a picture with you and the book (either print or ebook) on my facebook page. I’ll make a new collage with all the additions.

Good things come in small packages…

I just got home from one of the longest days at school. I’m looking forward to tonight and relaxing with a good friend and a great meal (that she’s cooking for me!). So, I checked my mail and in it was a really small, inconspicuous letter. I open in up and WOW! I feel so blessed.

It amazes me what people say sometimes about something that I put so much work into. The letter was a response to Forever Burn. My mom (who is my secret book pimp) handed out one of my books and this is the response of that person to reading it.

My mom and I were discussing my writing. She’s has a theory that as I continue to write, my characters will become deeper and have far more complexities than they even do now. I don’t want it to sound like my characters are only surface level, because they’re not. But I’m inclined to think that she’s write. She has yet to read the super secret project that’s not so secret–so, maybe her “theory” will change.

Anyway, if you want to read what the letter said, here’s a link to my FB page where it’s typed out for you.

Letter from a reader

The Next Big Thing: Blog Hop March 20, 2013

Hey y’all (yes, I’ve been living in Texas far too long). This is a blog hop. Don’t know what that is? Good, I didn’t either for a bit. Basically, this is a way to learn about some awesome and cool indie authors. I answer a few questions and give them a shout-out! I want to thank Sarah Hart for taking the time to explain to me exactly what this Blog Hop entails.

I will answer some questions and then give some shout-outs. Shall we begin? (Yes, that is a blatant Sanctuary reference, and if you have NOT seen that show go watch it. It’s amazing!)

1. What’s the title of your book? Forever Burn

2. Where did the idea come from? I worked security for three plus years and I worked very closely with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and Central Pierce Fire and Rescue. Everyone thinks that firefighters go to fire calls…well, that’s really NOT the case anymore. After seeing how many calls that CPFR came out to where I worked, I started asking how many fire calls they went to. The answer was usually every 1 out of 10 or every 2 out of 10 calls were fire calls! I was a bit shocked. And, btw, those are fire alarm calls, not actual fire calls.

Needless to say, there was a house fire when I was working one night. Eight engines came out. EIGHT! and they were all so excited about it being an actual fire and what they had trained for. This book comes from that idea–that firefighters don’t really do what we think they do anymore.

3. What genre does your book fall under? This is an urban fantasy, lesbian novel, with a hint of crime and romance. As my friends father calls it…this thing is romancey! I do want to point out that it is NOT a romance novel, though; there is love, but that’s not the purpose of the story.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? My friend asked me this one time, and I actually sat down and did it all out. Now, if only I could remember it.
a. James–Jaime Murrey
b. Addison–Polly Walker
c. Max–Aleks Paunovic
d. Heath–Robert Lawrenson
e. Rob–Robin Dunne
f. Norma–Emilie Ullerup
g. Jean-Pierre–Eddie Redmayne
h. Cameron–Gabrielle Rose

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Nightmares, supernatural powers, firefighters and love–James has it all.

6. Is your book published by an independant publisher? It is! It is published by Supposed Crimes, LLC. My publisher is a fantastic and amazing woman, and we get along splendidly. Oh! And she’s always accepting submissions and is currently looking…so if you have an interest, check it out.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? So…um…it took my 19 days to write the first draft of this. I want to follow that up with the fact that it took me seven weeks to edit it (but I ended up on a deadline).

8. What is in a name? Is there a significance to the names of characters in the book? I am a strong supporter of deeper thinking and of causing questions to be asked. I want to not only tell a good story, but I want to make people think about something that they might not have thought about before. The name for James came quickly. I’ve always had an affinity for it. To give the name to my main female character was a bold decision that I have yet to regret. It causes a momentary confusion for the reader, an “is James really a woman, or is that typo?” After, I hope that either the name suits the character to where the gender of the name no longer comes into play, or the question is asked, “why not?” Why can’t we have characters with mis-gendered names in our stories?

Addison was far more difficult. I certainly wanted an androgynous name for her; I wanted a slight mystery behind who she was. I have a certain affection for all names that begin with the letter “A” and can never resist adding at least one character in a story with a name as such. Addison, and subsequently, Alyssa (Lily) were these two characters. Addison’s name is androgynous by nature, and I wanted an assumption to be made that she was a man. This was helped along with her title and position at the Fire Station.

9. What is your writing process? I write every day. Okay, well, I try to write every day. If I’m not writing; I’m editing. If I’m not editing; I’m writing. I might not be working on novels; I might be working on shorts, or papers if my instructors decide to have an assignment due. In the world of no classes and no school, I wake up in the morning and edit until noon or one. I always finish the piece or part I’m editing. Sometimes it is one piece, sometimes two. Sometimes my own work, and sometimes it’s for a friend. After editing, I write. I write for hours. When I want to get through a chapter or a certain part before bed, I’ll turn all electronics possible off. No twitter. No television. No facebook. I’ll turn my music up as loud as is appropriate (my playlist ranges from Ice-T to movie scores to gospel to country). I type as fast as possible. Editing can and will always happen later.

My motto is two-fold: I cannot edit what has not been written, and I cannot improve without continuing and practicing.

10. What are you working on now? Currently, I’m working on an entirely new series. This is not an Urban Fantasy novel and is slice-of-life crime, following around a patrol officer on her daily routine with a few snippets into her personal life. She meets up with the Law Enforcement Chaplain, and they become close very fast. I’m over halfway done with writing this at the moment, and by the time this blog hop is posted, I plan on being done with the writing and on to the editing.

Thank you for taking the time to read the blog hop and my answers to the questions! I answered far more questions than I had to (so, if I shouted out to you and you end up posting this, you do only have to answer five questions). Forever Burn was a blast to write and will always have a special place in my heart.

Forever Burn is out and available worldwide now. Feel free to check it out.
Amazon: Kindle and Paperback
Smashwords (for all the ebook goodies)
Barnes and Noble: Nook and Paperback

The following are my shout-outs! Some are aspiring and some are published. Please check them out and support all Indie Authors! (that’s because we’re the best)

1. Graham Powell
2. J.M. Cataffo
3. Sirena N. Robinson
4. Elizabeth Delana Rosa
5. Carolyn Gray
6. Victoria Rivers
7. Jenn Monty

The Downward Spiral

So…I finished writing my 85k word novel yesterday in a massive rush of typing away during spring break and now…now I’m not sure what to do. Spending so much time on one project, where my entire focus is only on that, is fantastic but when finished leaves a very odd feeling. It’s like a large part of my life has ended. Yes, yes, I know there is still editing and hopefully publishing, which means more editing down the road, but right now? Nothing.

Today, I went to church, taught my kids all about Palm Sunday (yes, I know it’s not Palm Sunday yet), went to the yarn store (aka Joann’s), crocheted half a Luna Lovegood scarf, cleaned my kitchen, dining room, and living room (rearranging part), watched about seven episodes of Eureka, went to McDonald’s (because really, who after spending three hours cleaning wants to cook), played with the kitties and sat here staring at my computer screen trying to figure out what to do. Needless to say, my life is never one of idleness. I’m still sitting here trying to figure out what I should be doing. Part of where this blog is coming from.

Maybe we should create some sort of writers support group for when everything is finally finished and complete and DONE. It seems so final, but it’s not. Nothing is ever final. It has been suggested by fellow writer and friend, Carolyn Gray, that I start the next book. My response? “Oh, hell no! No way!” It’s been suggested I write on some fanfic. My response? “Yeah….no.” Relax? “Obviously, I do not relax well.”

So, after all of that, I’m still left with the feeling wrapped in the center of my chest that I should be doing something, that my fingers should be typing, my head working through plot points and my heart pounding because of the scenes. But I shouldn’t. It is finished. At least for now (I feel like Jesus should have said that, he would have sounded in the groove). My deadline for editing this recently completed novel (the super secret project that’s not so secret) is May 1, so I will have to get on the editing band wagon asap. However, for the rest of today, I’m left with such an odd and strange feeling. Perhaps tomorrow with more work it will fade into the background.

Best wishes to all,

Adrian

oh! and go get my book Forever Burn…*stares you down until you get it*

Book Lauch Party rehashed

Welcome! I had to cancel the original party due to the flu-like cold and ridiculously high fever I had. This one will NOT be canceled. I’m bound and determined that if even sick, I will still go!

So, come and join me in celebrating the launch of Forever Burn. There will be cool swag that I’m giving out and I know some people want some things signed. Come one, come all!

When: March 26, 2013 at 6pm
Where: Gingerman Pub Fort Worth (right off Camp Bowie)
What: CELEBRATION!

Yes, I know it’s a bar. If you are under 21, you can still come. They stop allowing underage in after 9pm. We’ll probably be hanging out outside. Also, Tuesdays are Pint Nights at the Gingerman. Drink one and you get to take your glass home with you! Isn’t that awesome (no, I do not spend too much time at this bar).

Facebook Event Page

Writing and Book Launching!

This world has been crazy the past few weeks for me. I am writing, though not on fiction (unless you are atheist, then maybe it’s fiction to you). I am sermonizing. It’s actually quite like writing a short story. I’ll share it when I’m done. I’m also adding in music to it.

Secondly, if you happen to live in the Fort Worth area, come to Gingerman off Camp Bowie on Thurs night. 9 pm. I’m having a book launch party. There will be give aways, and if it is quiet enough, maybe a bit of a reading too. So come on out! I’ll be there!!

Writing is a crazy adventure. Like the best roller-coaster ride EVER!

Fucking Fucks! (Cursing in exposition)

I need to preface this post with the fact that I am NOT against cursing in books. So, I am NOT against cursing in books.

Have you every seen the movie “Good Will Hunting”? I read something recently where it started to turn into that movie. For the first ten pages there were no curse words, not harsh or crass language. Then suddenly, it was like WHAT THE FUCK? <== see what I did there?

Anyways, suddenly the word “fuck” was used in every other sentence. The word lost its meaning.  I am not opposed to using curse words in exposition or in dialogue, but you have to make them worth while.

For example: I have a scene in “Forever Burn” were Max is freaking out because he feels completely helpless and pulled in ways he never thought possible. He didn’t know what to do and the frustration just continued to build. EXCERPT TIME!

In frustration, he tossed the piece of paper with Rob’s name and number into the trash bin and stood up glaring at the telephone.

“Fucker.”

The word slipped through his lips.  It was rare that he cursed, but the harsh word sounded throughout the deadly silent room and filled him with a sense of pleasure.

“Mother fucker!”  He shouted it louder this time.

The knot that had been held tightly in his chest and stomach released and everything tumbled down.  He sat back in the chair, his hands covered his face, and his mind reeled with the reality.

The tears fell unbridled.

See, the cursing plays to the mood of the character and exactly to what is going on in that moment. But if the word overused, if the meaning behind it is overdone, then it loses all its impact.

Just food for thought.

Writing brings people together…

Yesterday, I spent the day at the Dallas Sci-fi Expo/Comic con. It was an amazing experience. I met actors from my favorite TV shows, friends from twitter, and hung out with general geeks like me! Aside from the general grandeur, what amazed me the most was how writing brings people together.

I went with a friend from a writing group that I’m a part of. While there, I was able to meet many others who I have met through my own writing (fanfiction and original fiction), and even speak with actors who have ventured into the realm of writing. Kevin Sorbo was one of those actors. He had I had a great conversation about writing, about pen names (including ALL of my names except maybe one), and publishing ventures.

All in all, the answer is: Writing brings people together.

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James meets Heath

This is one of my favorite scenes. Mostly because James is extremely annoyed.

‘Mr. Sheriff’s Deputy with the extra smelly cologne’ had his hand on her leg and a soft look on his face. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Her brow narrowed and wrinkled between her eyes. It was a look she often gave when trying to figure something out. There was something off about him, yet something overwhelmingly pleasant as well. “You good?” She didn’t know why she asked it back, but she couldn’t help herself.

He nodded and smiled, his white teeth showing and his eyes crinkling in the corners. “Yeah, for now. Don’t ask me tonight though.”

James cocked her head to the side reading his name badge. She hadn’t seen him around and in a town this size she knew all the officers of law. “Deputy Taylor.”

“Heath Taylor, at your service ma’am.” He bowed his head slightly.

“First off, don’t call me ma’am.” James jumped down from the truck and started for the back to check on her supplies. “Second, I’m James.”

“James? What’s your first name?” He followed her and stood closely as she opened a storage hold, the hinges swinging up until she set the metal leg in its locked position so she could dig around inside.

She was having a slight issue with how close he was to her, but let it slide without comment. “James Matthews. My mother liked jokes.” The last statement was bland and obviously not the truth. She shut the door and looked to her left noting that the people from her station were starting to come back; she could feel their adrenaline running around and their minds whirling. She knew what each was thinking and feeling without looking at their faces. Adrenaline was always a good sign and one that she took to steady herself. The boys started to round up all the supplies, used and un-used while cleaning up the area as best they could.

“What you did today was really brave,” his voice was hushed and his eyes cascaded across her face, tracing the lines of her cheeks and jaw.

Taking a moment to pause, James realized that she had no idea what she should say. She was never good with compliments, but this one was extremely odd coming from him—he didn’t seem like the type to give out compliments. “Ummm… thanks. Just doing my job, you know.” And really, she was. This time she had done little outside of her job description. “You know we’re not just fire anymore, we’re fire and rescue.” Giving a quirk of her lips and showing some teeth in the smile, she hoped it was enough for a quiet hint.

“I love your eyes.”

James stepped back and blinked: obviously not enough for a dismissal or a hint. She really had no idea how to reply to his comment, and she was beginning to feel rather uneasy.

“I mean, they’re so unique and expressive.” He amended, trying to explain away his sudden outburst that had clearly made James uncomfortable.

Air was slowly pulled into her lungs and she let it out in a rush deciding on what to say. “Yeah, everyone says that, try to be a bit more original.” Turning on her heel, she made for where her Battalion Chief was standing and away from the nosy and creepy deputy.

All Rights Reserved Copyright 2013 Adrian J. Smith

Amazon.com: Katherine’s review of Forever Burn

meanie Katherine might possibly have made a few tears roll down my cheek.  I don’t know how I am blessed with such good friends, but thank you!

Amazon.com: Katherine’s review of Forever Burn.

Simple Advice

I am what most people consider somewhat prolific.  I produce a lot of story over a little amount of time.  This is particularly true for someone who is a full-time graduate student.  This also comes from what are considered amateurs, though I consider myself an amateur so there is little distinction in my book.

People ask me all time “How do you write so much?” “How do you do it?”  The answer is really rather simple:

I write every single day.

The answer is, if writing is what you really want to pursue, if you really want to get your book out there and published and have people read it.  You have to finish it.  In order to finish it, you have to be motivated.  To increase your motivation, you have to have a regular practice.  Make writing a habit.  I write every single day.  I certainly did not start out writing every single day. Believe me!

From about 2008-2011, I didn’t write a single word except what was due for school and most of that was research papers, not creative ones.  In September 2011, I started writing again.  It was like my mojo and muses exploded out of me and I managed about 60 short stories in the span of a year.  By short stories, I mean stories under 30,000 words.  Now, that’s like half a novel in some of those shorts.  I averaged about 39,000 words a month! Not including my school work.  A novel of 50,000 wasn’t that big of a stretch for me.

I wrote every Friday.  I wrote every Friday. I wrote EVERY Friday.  It was my day.  My friends knew it. I arranged my homework and work schedules around it.  Fridays were my days.  Quickly that advanced to three days a week, four, five and before I knew it, I was writing every day.

I started writing novels with NaNoWriMo. Well, at least that was my intention. I wanted to do Camp NaNo in June or August of 2012.  I had a two week intensive class in June, as well as traveling–so that was out.  August, I think I was home all of ten days in the entire month.  I did my own Camp NaNo in July.  In 19 days, I wrote and finished “Forever Burn”.  It evened out at 68,000 words.

19 days to write
70 days to edit for my first draft

Everyone writes at a different pace.  I type about 100 wpm, so knocking out 5-10k words a day isn’t rough for me.  My best friend hits about 800 words a day.

So…after all this…my advice to you aspiring authors and to you writers out there who want to be published and who want to finish your piece.

WRITE EVERY DAY!

Hello!

Welcomephoto to the wonderful world of my blog!

I just found out today, from my amazing and awesome publisher, that my first book “Forever Burn” is at the printers! Launch date is set for March 1, 2013, and I can’t stop doing the happy dance and grinning like a wicked crazy fool.  I also got a super, secret PDF of the proof, which is probably one of the most exciting things I can say has happened.  Well, aside from having someone want to publish my work.

I realize that this is a bit ranting today and self-absorbed.  With this blog I want to not only promote (because that is what I’m supposed to do), but I really want to give advice.  There are many, many aspiring writers out there.  A few of them, by sheer dumb luck and a few others by incredibly hard work, end up published.  Self-publishing has been a real big hit lately and has allowed for getting one’s stories out there to maximize in quantity.

What that means is that not every book we read is well-done.  Not every book is well-written.  Some plot lines are God awful and boring. Others are so interesting by we can’t seem to get past the ridiculous malpractice of grammatical rules to even concentrate on the lovely characters.  I want to help people with that.  Everyone has a story to tell.  I want others to be able to tell their stories to the best of their abilities.

So, I’m done talking! There will be far funner posts later on. And probably today. =P

Adrian