What’s Making Me Happy: February 2017

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I owe it to myself to do a What’s Making Me Happy post. February was a tough month. Despite the joy of a new writing project and the hope-excitement for the upcoming Iceland trip, it was also a month of stress, fatigue, and a resulting illness. So lately it’s been a challenge to maintain any sense of contentment or confidence in… well, anything, including writing.

But February wasn’t all gray skies, cold temperatures, and pessimism. In fact, several things about the past month did lift my spirits. So today I’d like to celebrate the sounds, sights, flavors, and places that made me happy over the past month. Let’s start with…

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New Post @ Writers Helping Writers on Editing with Text-to-Speech Software

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I’m back at Writers Helping Writers this week with a new Resident Writing Coach post. This time, I talk about text-to-speech software, one of the newest tools in my editing “toolbox”. This standard function in most word processing programs and computer operating systems can read aloud pre-selected portions of text, including (ta-DA!) your manuscript. 😉 (Read more after the jump.) Continue reading

Another Change in My Blogging Schedule, and the New Path Forward

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(*disappointed sigh*)

This wasn’t the post I was hoping to share with you today.

Some of you might recall from this post 2 weeks ago that I’ve had to cut back on my blogging recently. This has been on all fronts: visiting and commenting on other people’s blogs, replying to comments here, and (most importantly) writing my own posts. Typically I had time to prepare posts about 1 or 2 weeks in advance of their intended date. This explains why I’ve still been able to post new articles despite not having much blog-writing time. But today, the trickle-down effect has finally won out.

So, the new Chronicling The Craft I’d been planning to post today to celebrate 10,000 words on The Novella? It’s not done. And a return to the Character Evolution Files with File No. 15? That won’t happen soon, either. In fact, apart from my commitments to DIY MFA and Writers Helping Writers, I don’t know when I’ll be able to return to a “routine” blogging schedule.

But I’m not quitting this site. Nor am I going on a hiatus. So, let me briefly explain why this change came about and how life at this site will change in response.

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Six Words of Wisdom on Running a Crowdfunding Campaign (Plus, the “Final” Total for My GoFundMe for the Iceland Writers Retreat)

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Wow. Was it really two months ago when I launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for my trip to the 2017 Iceland Writers Retreat? Now, the “promotional” period is over (it ended this past Saturday), and thanks to people’s generosity I raised $2274. This falls short of the $3500 goal – but you know what? That’s still really good. It means that a dream-come-true overseas adventure and investment in my writing career is financially within reach for me. That is enough to say I’m DEFINITELY going now. 😀

To celebrate, I thought I’d offer insights on running a crowdfunding campaign. Because, well, it was one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever done – more than writing a novel! But it was also one of the most unique and rewarding learning experiences in my life. So, let me share six tips based on what I learned – some practical, and some attitudinal. Because in many ways, your mindset and definition of success might be more important than how close you come to your fundraising goal.
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New #5onFri Article at DIY MFA, Plus Final Reminder for the GoFundMe Campaign

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What’s this? Another DIY MFA article already? 😉

It’s been a while since I last took part in DIY MFA’s weekly #5onFri series; and with Maria V. Snyder’s guest post on Tuesday, I wasn’t able to promote it here until now. So, here’s last Friday’s #5onFri post, where I shared a little more of my “beta-reading preparation” stage by sharing five of the questions I posed to my beta-readers to get specific feedback on aspects of my novel.

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A Writing Study on Assassins, Flashbacks, and Emotions (A Guest Post & Giveaway by Fantasy Author Maria V. Snyder)

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Oh, am I excited about our returning guest! Fantasy author Maria V. Snyder stopped by here 2 years ago for an interview on SHADOW STUDY, her fourth Study novel and the return of Yelena and Valek, her two most beloved characters. Today, the series ends with DAWN STUDY, and Maria was gracious enough to take time out of her schedule to write a guest post. So, let’s celebrate DAWN STUDY’s book birthday with a “study” of master spy-assassin Valek, his growth since SHADOW STUDY, and the challenges of writing from his perspective. 

When my first book, Poison Study, was published over (*cough*) eleven (*cough*) years ago, I had no idea I’d go on to write five more Study books and the spin-off Glass Series. Nine total books and four short stories! I’d also didn’t know that Valek would become my readers’ favorite character (according to an unscientific Facebook poll).

While planning Poison Study, I knew Valek would be Ixia’s Chief of Security and the Commander’s assassin. He’d be distant, cold, and good at killing people with all types of weapons – basically, a stereotypical bad ass.  After that, I didn’t really consider him to be more than an antagonist to my main protagonist, Yelena.  In fact, I thought if there would be a romance in the book, it would most likely be between Yelena and the Commander. Yeah, well, I’m not the best at planning books, and I tend to discover the true story as I write.

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