Tuesday, November 22, 2011

About writing

I was just catching up on the nano mail and read this great pep talk by Chris Cleave, author of Incendiary.  It's a great message so I thought I would include a snippet here.  He's answering the question 'what keeps you motivated':

The answer to this question is always changing for me. When I started writing as a child I just loved the work of making good sentences and paragraphs - of playing with language. Later I was motivated by provoking strong reactions in the people I showed my work to. Then there was a bad time of several years when I was motivated by a desire for a certain kind of glory or glamour, without thinking too hard about what that meant. I think you need to get through that stage pretty quickly. 

After my first novel was published I was motivated to bring injustices to light with my work, and to help people concussed by bad TV to find real life interesting again. That had a kind of grandiosity to it, though, and I found that my writing improved when I learned a little bit more humility. Then, after my second novel did well, I was motivated for a long time by fear – the fear of not being able to do it again. What cured me of that was rediscovering my very first motivation – the love of working with language and character. 

I’d say that is what motivates me now. I simply enjoy sitting down in front of my screen and exploring my characters. I like the mental work of solving the problems of plot and structure. I like exercising my freedom to write as I please, for readers who have the freedom to read as they please. I like not needing anyone’s permission. I try to remember how lucky we all are to live like this. I see it as a temporary state of grace and I find that very motivating. 

What a great journey.  It spoke to me because I find myself going through versions of all three places multiple times a day.  It can be difficult for me to stay in a state for too long.  My mind does it's best to play tricks on me and psych me out.  I try to not to listen.  But it is, after all, my own mind.  Hard to ignore your very own thoughts.  

Nano is kicking my but this year.  I am definitely more productive than ever but I think I might need to keep working on multiple things at once so as to not ever get too attached to any one thing and then be soooo afraid of messing it up and making the wrong choices.  It's not the most productive way to work.  But there is a 'slowly but surely' rhythm to it.  I guess that will have to work for me.  For now.  Hopefully, this will all be a little easier in a few years when I'm not such a baby writer.  Then again, maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.  

Here's to hoping.  

Happy reading and writing, all!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Forget pretty vampires, dirty zombies rock!

Okay, so I just wrote a short piece that will be included in an ebook by Rymfire Ebooks that has different authors talking about writing about zombies.  I'll link the title when it comes out.  And, yes, these words most definitely count towards my nano count as they will in fact be published (tho not by me).
Let me know your thoughts:

Forget pretty vampires, dirty zombies rock!

Unless you don’t consume any books, tv, movies, or video games (in which case, we have very little in common), you have probably noticed that zombies are steadily rising in popularity as of late.  They aren’t a ‘new’ fictional phenomenon by any means, having been around for roughly 50 years.  But compared to fictional vampires, they are the younger brother of horror monsters.

I’ll get to the vampire/zombie connection in a second.  First, I must mention the movie ‘28 Days Later’.  This was the movie that really modernized the zombie for me and made it a truly horrifying monster that I could identify with because honestly, the slow moving zombies of the Romero days seemed silly sometimes (except in The Walking Dead- but only because they have great makeup and can apparently walk softly).  I had nightmares for three weeks after I saw 28DL and my family to this day loves to come at me fast with a rabid, shaking head and zombie growl just to freak me out.  Yeah, I know, weird way to show love, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Though neither vampires nor zombies are new, the rise in popularity of zombie fiction is a pop culture answer to the uber popularity of vampires in the last decade.  Vampires went from being scary monsters that need your blood to live (blood that you, in fact, need to live-hence the conflict) to sparkly, sexy, human-loving beings.  The fictional vampire was wrested from the horror genre and put on a pedestal in the romance genre, instead.

Also, there is the science angle—it is way more believable in the age of SARS and H1N1 that a virus or neurotoxin or the like could get loose and wreak havoc on the human population.  Some are surprised this hasn’t happened on a massive scale, yet, given our huge population growth in the last hundred years as well as the rise of globalization.  Such an occurrence makes much more sense to most people than a population of vampires that descend hundreds of years back from a guy in Transylvania. 

This cultural archetype of infection is so strong in fact that there are vampire stories that are basically vampire zombie hybrids.  Their monster isn’t the debonair creature of the night (vampire) but also isn’t the tattered clothed, gray creature who may or may not have all of their limbs and can’t seem to form words other than ‘Arggghhh’ (zombie). They lie somewhere in between.  You see variations of these hybrids in the books ‘The Passage’ and ‘The Strain’.

Personally, I’m writing zombie fiction right now because it is just plain fun.  The breaking out of the traditional archetypes for our fictional monsters has made the possibilities very exciting and interesting for me as a reader and now as a writer.  It’s wide open right now.  Readers are enjoying all kinds of different zombie stories like the (instant classic) braided story of ‘World War Z’ as well as the numerous ‘zombie journal’ shorts popping up everywhere.  I’m exploring a different angle as well that you will be able to read about in my upcoming novel ‘Empty: Zombie Evolution Book 1’.

Until then, don’t get bit.

Kate Madison

5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could actually happen:

This is from cracked.com and is excellent.  Check it out:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween and Nanowrimo

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hopefully, everyone is getting in the scary fun swing of things.  I'm going as a zombie this year- so original, I know.  But it just feels wrong to be anything else when I am writing a zombie apocalypse romance.  My characters would feel betrayed. Wait, did I just type that out loud?

Moving on...

Huffingtonpost.com has a great 'zombies' link today http://www.huffingtonpost.com/culture/ .  It's actually just the culture section but on the homepage it says zombies with blood dripping.  Way to get in the season!  And they have lots of cute zombie written articles.  How can one not love it??

Okay, so, yeah, writing, um, I'm supposed to be doing that, right?  Well, as of tomorrow, Nanowrimo begins and my output had best explode or my head very well might.  I have put up a nanowrimo word count graphic so y'all can keep me accountable.  Kick my butt if I'm not performing.  Give me a lashing.  I will have deserved it if I get behind.  I will say 'thank you may I have another' if said lashing event does occur.

I will be writing and finishing- Yeah, that's right, I said it!- finishing Empty.  I am not sure that will get me all the way to 50k words tho, so I might write some other stuff that I have been working on for my other pen name to fill out the wordcount.  Or I can start on the Empty sequel.  I have part of it mapped out but it still needs some tinkering.  And I figure I better wait till I have the Empty manuscript written anyway in case a few surprises spring out of me as my fingers are flying.

As I mentioned on twitter, I will be using Scrivener- I am pretty much sold on this program.  The digital notecards on the cork board feature alone got me.  But being about to rearrange by drag and drop instead of lots of cut and paste.  That is pretty sweet.

Well, that's all I got.  I hope everyone has a scary time tonight.  Protect your brains!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amazon vs Apple: Two Hot Suitors

Amazon and Apple are my hot and hunky suitors vying for my technological heart.   I go to bed at night with my iphone and Kindle (and my husband-but don’t tell Apple/Amazon).  They are my can’t live without devices nearest to my heart.

Of course, if we’re being honest here, Microsoft is also there as the dependable, lifelong friend who has unrequited love for me and that I want to love back but he just doesn’t do it for me. So we’re only coworkers/friends. Bc I can’t really live w/out my netbook either.  My trusty little writing tool.  I love touch screens for everything but writing.  Typing on them is a pain.  A real keyboard is much more efficient.  So, yeah, Microsoft will always be my work husband.  But while I have been having lots of fun dates with Amazon and Apple, they are both wanting a commitment lately.  How is a girl to decide?

I have had an iphone since ’06 and a Kindle since ’07.  I am also a pc girl and have had a netbook since ’08 (and regular huge laptops since forever).  So when the ipad came out I of course was in love… but not enough to buy.  Because, well, I have an iphone, kindle, and netbook.  Not really sure what I would need it for.  And the price wasn’t (isn’t) in the impulse buy range for me.

I love Amazon and buy all my books there and am a prime member and buy all kinds of non book items and get free shipping.  I recently started buying music at Amazon bc some of the songs were 20-40 cents cheaper and they have this doohickey thingy that will automatically put it in my itunes for me. 

All my music (until recently) and app buying has been through itunes (Apple).  The android phone explosion was never enough of a lure to get me away from the iphone.

Enter the Kindle Fire- a cheap tablet that is what I have been looking for from Apple but not getting.  I am firmly committed to buying my books from Amazon (have you tried to browse in the ibookstore-it sucks!) and am somewhat committed to buying my apps from apple bc I love my iphone.  But it looks like the kindle Fire will be like merging my kindle and iphone and taking out the phone (which I rarely use- I am a texter). 

It’s a conundrum.  $200 is impulse buy for me.  But I would have to populate the apps with new purchases.  But I could read all of my amazon ebooks on there.    

If I add in my opinions of the companies’ behavior in regards to publishing the last couple of years, I tend to lean a little Amazon.  Apple made an ego play in 2010.  And to publish directly with them and have better rankings in the ibookstore, you have to own a Mac.  So I bought a used Mac last month and have uploaded a couple of titles under one of my other pen names so that I could get things going on that end.  A lot of work for the non-mac-owning indie publisher.  I know smashwords will do that all for me but who wants 6 months old, disorganized sales data.  When compared to Amazon and BN, smash is the right place, right time little guy.  Hopefully, they will mature into a big guy soon bc I have high hopes (excellent accounting backend and audio selfpubbing would make Smash downright sexy).

Ok. So, writing this out hasn’t really helped me to decide anything.  You lovely readers have basically been my therapist couch.  Thanks so much for listening.  I will keep you updated. Sorry for the long post.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Heading off to a cabin to write

I am heading off to a cabin on a river to write.  My hubby will be there.  And another couple.  And another guy.  And lots of alcohol.  Okay so maybe the point of this trip isn't primarily to write but I do hope to get a bit of a wordcount knocked out.

But I am very much a drop everything if there is a hint of a gettogether/party/slightly fun social activity going on type of girl.  Actually there are many things that make my brain go "Squirrel" and drop everything.  But I don't usually feel guilty about the social stuff.

I've got a decent outline worked out and detailed sketches for Empty.  So today will be the first day of redrafting.  I was writing and writing without an outline before and I just can't trust myself to not go down too many rabbit holes.  I'm not focused enough.  I need somewhat of a map.  I have decided not to be bummed about all of the wasted effort over the last couple of months.  But rather to see it as a pretty short lesson in the scheme of things.

You know what will be weird?  It'd be weird if the sky drops a few tears today.  That would be weird.  And amazing.

Happy Thursday, all!

Friday, September 2, 2011


I just had to post this photo.  It's pretty cool that a couple decided to go zombie for their wedding, though not that uncommon these days.  But to get so much of the wedding party in on it, too.  Kudos!

I have been totally not working on Empty and in fact think I am going to redraft it completely.  I write under a couple of different pen names and those projects have been taking my time as well as a week where I was under the weather and watched BONES all week.  I've now seen every episode and can't wait for the premiere in a few weeks.  I LOVE September bc it is premiere month- yay!!!

I'll post updated excerpts as I write them.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Target Practice (Zombie Flash Fiction) Now available

Hey everyone,

So I got mad at myself for not finishing Empty in time (rightfully so) and decided a good remedy for my pain besides, ya know, finishing Empty, would be to write a quick flash fiction piece with a couple of the same characters and get that up. Voila. Target Practice was born.

I hope you like it. I'm thinking two weeks for Empty. I suppose if you held a gun to my head while I typed (or threatened me with a zombie bite) that would be a definite two weeks. One of the perils of self publishing, I guess: one must be one's own deadline enforcer.

That's all for now.


Friday, May 20, 2011

More covers (not procrastinating this time, tho. Honest)

These were done by the amazing Nathan Wrann (@nathanwrann) so I really didn't procrastinate to make them.  And he did these in like 2 seconds so he didn't, either.
I think I like this first one the best.  But I'll put up the other three, also.

They're all awesome, of course.  It's amazing what a difference font makes.  That is the true art of ebook covers, I think.
Thanks, Nathan!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Slowly but surely...

Empty is coming along slowly but surely.  Being all ADD doesn't help.  Once I'm writing, I love it.  I do it for hours.  Hyperfocused, really.  But getting myself, my mind, into the mindset can be challenging.

But...it's a challenge I'm up for.

Do I get a little green when I think about those writers out there who can whip out a manuscript in a couple of weeks or a month no problem? Yes.  Does it make make what I am doing any less worthy because I have to work a little harder than they do? No.

So, BITCHOK!  Butt in the chair hands on keyboard!  That is what I tell myself.

Okay, back to work.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Another cover (procrastination activity #498)

I'm playing around here.  I like to think I am being more productive this way instead of playing Words With Friends all the time, though.  Now, perhaps I should work on creating some words instead of images.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Small Excerpt: Empty

Colby Serns wasn’t dead.  This was a fluke, an outlier, an improbable occurrence.  Because she should most definitely be dead by now.  Seriously dead.  But she wasn’t.  And that was a problem for her. 
Survivor’s guilt?  Isn’t that the name?
Colby gingerly lifted her cheek from the asphalt.  Dirt and pebbles stuck to her skin as she scooted out from under the car and lifted the rest of her body up.  The blue tarp that had been on top of her slid to the ground.  Hiding didn’t usually work against the zombies, but she’d had no choice in this case. 
She searched for her backpack and spotted it ten feet off of the parking lot that used to be a highway.  Having waited on the ground, under the car, and under the tarp for over an hour, she was pretty sure there weren’t any more of the things around. 
For the most part, Colby would stay hidden if things were only pretty sure.  But lying under that tarp in the vast quiet was starting to feel a little too much like those minutes each night before sleep finally took her. 
She did a final three sixty sweep before heading down into the brush to get her backpack.  The zombies had an hour head start back the way she had come from if she wanted to turn around, run back, and chance an attack.  Probably wasn’t a good idea since she was low on ammo.  But killing zombies was Colby’s only entertainment these days, her only sport.  And, except for an hour ago, she was pretty good at it. 
They weren’t technically zombies.  Not the way she had thought of them, at least.  Or rather, not the way they were in movies.  Back when there were movies. 
They weren’t the undead.  Because they never actually died.  The ones who got the disease or infection or virus or whatever. They just became lethargic and then a little aggressive.  Then a lot aggressive.  There wasn’t any real way to tell the difference between someone having a bad day and someone who would need to be shot in the head.
That made for some pretty horrific scenes a year and a half ago when everything went down.  Things were calm and empty now. 
Or at least they were.
Colby froze when she heard the faint buzzing coming from the west where she was headed.  She didn’t see any movement on the road or in the sky.  Then she spotted it.  Something blurry some yards off the highway. 
Colby ducked between two cars and waited, her hand on her pistol inside her bag.  Sweat beads formed on the tan skin of her forehead.  Colby had given up desiring the company of people a while back.  There was only so much horror and tragedy a girl could take. 
She waited as the mechanical moving thing gradually took shape.  It moved like a car, small, and darting around large bushes.  But it was different.  Only when the vehicle was almost upon her did she see what it was and its driver.
It was a dune buggy.  The glorified go cart kind that people used to rent for the day out in Baja, California. 
And the person in it, well, he looked like he had done just that.  In the brief seconds when Colby could see him as he passed in front of where she was hidden, Colby saw a scary sight.  A smiling, laughing guy driving the dune buggy like a maniac.
Colby sat on the concrete, contemplating, torn.  That stupid smile.  That stupid smile seemed to bring back all kinds of hope and other useless emotions.  There they were, on the surface, making her do stupid things like the thing she was about to do.
Colby climbed on top of one of the cars she was hiding beside and started shouting, jumping up and down, and basically making a visual spectacle of herself. 
Problem was—the smiling guy had already driven by and couldn’t see her spectacle.  With dawning realization and crazy hope coloring her otherwise good judgment, Colby retrieved her pistol from her bag and shot it up in the air—at an angle because she really didn’t want a not-so-random falling bullet to be the reason for her demise.  That would be silly.
She saw his head whip around at the sound and a second later, the dune buggy did the same.  It slowed and Colby put the bag down and raised both hands up in the air like she was caught.  Of course, she was.  Stupid girl. 

Another cover (procrastination activity #338)

Here's another variation on the same theme.  I've changed the title, tho.  Hope y'all like it.

I'm loving my characters

I guess it's a good sign that I am really enjoying writing this story.  I'm loving my characters.  Colby Serns is pretty awesome.  It sucks I have to ruin things for her at times.  I have a rough outline but have been taking a few detours along the way.  And I can't wait to finish this one up and start on the next one.  I have a three story arc in mind for this.  I'm still playing with titles, tho.
Thought I'd share all of that.  And include a picture that doesn't have anything to do with anything.

Have a great day, people!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Run by Kate Madison

I'm still working on the manuscript.  My ambitious publish date is probably May1.  Realistic: May15.  But, darn it, I am shooting for May 1.

I was playing around with cover options today.  Here's the one I like the best:

I like it for now.  I might still play around with some more images.

Off to write some more.