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Words better than mine.

LGBT Poet Stunned A Packed Room With Her Thoughts On Orlando Shooting

Let us rally against the powers that push against freedom. Let us rage, but let us also lobby for change in these gun laws and in discrimination laws.

Let us fight for more spaces where all our bodies can be safe. Let us push against unjust laws that seek to turn back the hands of time.

grieving with my queer family

I am grieving. I am angry. And I am scared. So I’m going go grab a beer at my local gay bar. I will take comfort in my queer community, and we will start to heal together.

Because in the end, love WILL win.

Mass Murder at the Gay Bar: When a Refuge Becomes the Target

And I’ve got a few personal questions I’ll never hear the answers to, but that didn’t stop them from keeping me up last night: How many victims this weekend were just outed to their families from their hospital beds? How many of them prayed their mom would come to visit, or their dad? Those are the victims I’m praying hardest for today.

Finding a narrator on ACX

I’ve been…putting off my next real authorly project which is to do the recording on a book I’ve had sitting on the shelf for a year and a half or so. Instead I’ve picked up a couple of jobs on ACX, and I’ve read a ton of descriptions. So I thought I would put it off some more and give some tips on finding a narrator on ACX.

I’m not really an expert, I’ve only been doing it for about a half a year and I’ve only got a handful of books to my name and pen names.

These comments are really focused at authors looking for royalty share. Which means that the narrators aren’t getting paid anything up front and only make money when they author makes money.

Recording isn’t easy, treat your narrators well!

First some really good things I’ve seen authors do.

Do’s

  • show that you are marketing (things I like, say that you have an email list, or are active on social media, whatever – if you are planning to do ads, you have another book coming out and will be promoting this one? All great things! Authors who put a brief marketing plan? Oh yeah, so much awesome.)
  • tell narrators what you are looking for
  • tell narrators if there is adult content (and a little idea of what kind of adult content is awesome)
  • explain that it is a series and you’d like the same narrator for the whole series (a timeline is super bonus for this)
  • think through if you want a male or female narrator (a female narrator for a male 1st person pov is a little odd, I can do a husky masculine voice, but I mostly think you aren’t paying attention – if you explain it, this is fine)
  • say that you already have a narrator
  • say up front if you have a goal date (new book release, signing, whatever)
  • respond, thank the narrator even if you don’t select them, especially if your book has been sitting for over a month, you want to build potential relationships here
  • reach out to narrators if you have a shorter deadline, you don’t have to just sit there and wait, a proactive author is a good thing here

Soon. I will start recording Dangerous Metal soon. But first, one more quick project!

An Axe

It is Friday and that means another challenge from Chuck Wendig. This time it was a knock on the door. Never one to follow directions I went for a crash into a door. An axe. A couple peregrine falcons. A bear. And a fire.

trees and cliff

Trees on a cliff in the Rockies

An Axe

The impact on the solid pine door reverberated through the house.

Faye was out of bed and running to the front door in a heartbeat. She flung open the door and stared down at her half boy, half falcon son. His wings twitched and stretched out as they tried to shift to arms.

He croaked out the worst word. “Fire.”

She shifted in a moment. She couldn’t stay. He would be ok. He had to be.

“The gulch.”

Her husband came out of the bedroom.

She dove off the edge of the porch and spread her wings. He would stay, he would raise the alarm, he would take care of Jacob.

Faye angled toward an updraft. The gulch. There were always fires in the mountains, but fire could go from small and local to drawing unwanted attention quickly.

She spotted the orange lick of flame and pulled her wings in. Faye aimed for the fire and let her instincts take over. Her speed increased. (more…)

S1.12 Home Test

Home Test is written by R. M. Donaldson.

Read more about Cedrick in The Custodian Chronicles: The Rising

Cedrick Custod is the youngest living protector of the world. Though blessed from the beginning by their creator with power and author to defend their world, the rest of the Custod has been wiped out by evil sorcerer Heklis. It’s up to Cedrick to save his world, but he doesn’t know it. His talents and passion for magic are their only hope, but his father refuses to let him use them. Can Cedrick find out why in time to save his world? Can he find the source of his powers to enable him to overcome Heklis’s? Could wicked sorceress be the answer to his plight or the death of him? Can Cedrick find out in time or will he watch it fall into darkness.

Read The Custodian Chronicles: The Rising
Amazon Paper Back
Kindle Book
Hardcover Book
Other Ebooks

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5 star review on your podcast tool or by becoming a patron.

Romance Planning

No not planning a romantic getaway, but romance planning for plot or story. I’ve had some troubles hanging onto my romance arcs. They seem to get shuffled to the background, which is frustrating when sometimes they’ve started as the primary point for the spark of the idea.

Every time it has shuffled to the back it was ultimately the right choice for the story. But I also wonder if I’m just not as strong at writing it so it is easier to shuffle than to strengthen.

So I took some time and read some stuff. Because reading!

Finding your Romance Arc

by Susan Warren

This talks about the Why/Why not vs the Why not/Why…I’m a little worried I don’t entirely understand it. But it sparked a few valuable things.

Make the Romance the Story Arc

by Scott Eagan

This is completely my problem. So I’m going to try something in the future that takes this plan the romance and backdrop the other thing approach.

The Seven Story Beats

by Kaye Dacus

This was really direct. I think my issue is that I hate hate hate #6! So I have to struggle through writing it to bring back around to #7.

Suggestions?

Does anyone have any suggestions or tips for planning a romance or having it not get lost behind the other stories?

romance roundup

Sunset is romantic right?

I have no idea what I’m doing!

I’ve had a couple people insinuate lately that I might have a clue about things. I had someone important do it to me at work even. I have no idea what I’m doing!

None

I don’t know what I’m doing with writing, or blogging, or podcasting, or all the stuff I do at work. I mostly just try to figure it out as I go. I google, I research, I listen to podcasts and watch webinars and read articles and whatever else.

I try things that make me uncomfortable. I try to learn what things work and don’t. I try to constantly remind myself that it is ok to fail. Learn from that failure and move forward.

I feel out of my depth constantly. I feel like making this post is likely a HORRIBLE idea and I’m sure I’ll go back and forth on should I push the publish button or not a dozen times. If you are reading this I went for publish. (Unless you for some obscene reason hacked my blog and are reading my trashed posts, in which case…I can’t help you.)

I can’t be the only one who feels like this. Someone else out there must too. And sometimes it is good to know you aren’t alone, so maybe someone will read this and go OH! Me too! And maybe Future Me will read this and go, oh you were so adorably young then. (Future Me I promise to floss tonight, you can thank me now.)

But…

This was partly pointed out at work and partly in the writing sphere. I do all that stuff, and I learn. I ask questions and listen and try very hard to learn.

That’s good. That’s apparently not something everyone does. I know this because I watch other people, but I don’t entirely believe it. I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone else has a secret handbook on how to exist and how to write and how to be a leader and how to whatever else. If anyone has a spare I’ll take it.

I fail.

Often. And then I go ok, so that didn’t work, what can I try now. I reflect and try to learn and really take in what didn’t make sense, what wasn’t right for me. Whatever.

Sometimes I don’t have a good plan on how to fix it. (I’m looking at you future ancient anthropology flash series that I just can’t make work.) But sometimes it helps.

And it doesn’t always have to be failure. Every time I record I get a little better, a little faster, a little clearer.

Last weekend I listened to my podcast in the wild. Normally I’m listening to it at home with good headphones and no other sound. Music is really loud so I keep turning it down. In the wild? On the train with people around me making noise and my ear buds? I need to turn the music up. (If you disagree please let me know!) I can learn from things like that too.

I learn every time I write something, even if it doesn’t work. I learn every time I read something and take it apart. I learn things listening to podcasts that aren’t fiction at all. I learn things from reading “informational” letters from my health insurance company or the government.

And maybe…

I do kind of know some things.

I’m not entirely sure what. That seems to be the next step, figuring out what it is that I’m learning, what it is I know. What am I really good at? I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I’m learning.

Audio. I think I might be kind of ok at audio. I get annoyed when people who know me listen to the podcast and act surprised that it is good. Of course it is, I have experience, I know what I’m doing. I’m not saying I’m perfect or I know everything, but I know some. Certainly enough to put out a decent podcast. Enough to professionally narrate audiobooks.

Blogging. I might not be horrible at that. I’ve done that before. I have experience. History and and understanding of it. Maybe I’m not great at social media, but this long form thinking stuff? I’m not horrible at this.

Seems the theme is the stuff I’ve done before I feel best about. I don’t want to pack up and throw this all away so I feel like I’ve done it before to succeed next time. But I do want to learn every day. Learn as I go forward and maybe succeed this time.

So…that’s my perhaps way too personal, perhaps way too vulnerable, perhaps totally stupid post about how I have no idea what I’m doing, but I might be learning.

S1.11 Tilburn Leaf Oil


Tilburg Leaf Oil by Stefan Budansew.

You can learn more about Stefan at his blog. You can support him by purchasing Immersion on Amazon, Kindle.

Stefan Budansew has been storyteller his entire life, however he only started writing the stories down in 2013. Initially encouraged by Nanowrimo, Stefan published his first short novel in 2015, and has several other works in progress. He also assists with the 600 Second Saga podcast and encourages others to share all the stories which they keep inside. Stefan has a love of science fiction, old-school tabletop gaming and video games.

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5 star review on your podcast tool or by becoming a patron.

Summer Roundup

I wanted to go with a summer roundup, some things that relate to summer since we’ve fully entered summer here. There were some beautiful days and one lovely rainy one. I got a lot of audio done during the rain.

In summer things melt

Which can be great. And this video of things melting is a great way to waste 4 minutes. So cool.

Want a summer job?

How about cruising for the summer for google? Too much partying at night? Don’t worry you can take a nap.

Ok maybe I’m being a little snarky, but I’d rather someone fall asleep in traffic behind the wheel of a self driving car than a regular one, and they do, often.  It doesn’t make the news because it is so common, not because it doesn’t happen.

dog in water

Dog in water

Service dogs

Not only in the summer, but I see a lot more of them just hanging out during the summer.

Dogs can be trained amazingly well to be great companions and support.

If a handler is feeling anxious or uncomfortable, he or she can call their service dog to them as a way to relieve tension and stress.

Service dogs can be amazingly helpful, It is so impressive the training to get them ready to help.

Side Quests

I’ve read a few things slamming side quests lately and I get the desire to cut it. Far too well. I’m not a heavy author who needs to cut endlessly. I’m not a 100K word novel writer. I write extremely lean. And I’m feeling a little defensive about this whole cut cut cut!

In the past I’ve cut and  cut and I’ve cut down and down and down and you know what if you say “just cut everything that doesn’t matter!” to someone like me, you get me to throw up my hands and go, “Girl meets boy, they fall in love, bad shit, everyone dies.” Guess I’m done. Oh wait. I can cut bad shit because why do we care? I can cut they fall in love. And really does it really matter if girl meets boy?

Suggested edits:

Everyone dies.

Romeo and Juliet

Everyone dies

Eh…maybe not

Well that’s not very fulfilling.  (I’ve had several novels cut out of existence because of this whole cut cut cut mentality that is so common to read about.)

Cut things may be great advice for someone who wrote a contemporary romance that is 250K words. That doesn’t mean it is universally good.

Unless I’m writing flash fiction, editing means adding content. Usually a lot of content. Side quests can do a lot including develop the character, show you who they are, what they can achieve. We can watch characters fail. Failure makes us fall in love with characters when they get back up and dust themselves off and try again.

When I am reading I want to love the characters. I want to care about them and what happens to them. Otherwise the novel might as well be “Everyone dies.” Heck even nonfiction has characters I love, sometimes characters are dead bodies, or shrimp, or anything.

The magic of being an author is tugging those heart strings and making me fall in love, cheer, shout, whoop, feel. I guess I could just take some drugs, but books are…for the most part cheaper and much much better for my brain.

I like bare bones things, I think I brought that up when talking about flash fiction as adult coloring books. But bare bones doesn’t mean cut all side quests. It means create an interesting and engaging frame work. A blank page isn’t actually an epic adult coloring book. (I refuse to google this and find out that someone out there has a bound empty book and is calling it an adult coloring book. I refuse!)

Interesting and engaging content includes things that are more than everyone dies. Weave them together, make them valuable, interesting, grow the characters, tie it in, but don’t assume you are doing it wrong if you aren’t slashing things with a machete. Listen to your beta readers, do they feel like they need more? Do they say some things are a little bloated? Focus on your work and your needs. Not everyone needs to cut down to everyone dies. If we all did the world would be a very sad literary space.

Bonus content

I relistened to the Writing Excuses episode about side quests and I highly recommend it. It made me feel like oh, yeah, these aren’t bad things. Just because some people say cut ruthlessly, unless they are actually talking about my novel that they have in my hands, they might be wrong, or talking in generalities. I’ve never had a beta reader tell me I just needed to cut wholesale. I nearly always get the opposite. I want to know more about this or that or whatever. Which is good. And tells me that I’m not generally too heavy on side quests (or descriptions, or whatever else).

Writing excuses also talked about writing side quests as bonus content. Which I’m super for! A part of the 600 Second Saga podcast was developed based on that idea. Those  side pieces, I love to read them. They are stories that take place in the same world but outside the primary story line.

(And here’s the plug! If you have some bonus content that you’d like to share with the world, bring in more readers, or flex your skill with something different way? I highly recommend submitting it to the 600 Second Saga podcast. I’m always looking for new authors, and side quests can be a great way to have a complete story, and develop interest in your world.)

S1.10 Freedom: Chip 555


Freedom: Chip 555 by Tee Que.

Her upcoming short stories include “Back in the Day” and “Where We Are Now”.

Tee Que is a short story author and aspiring novelist. She is also a graduate of York University’s  Glendon College Political Science program.  When Tee Que is not writing she is actively enjoying cultural cuisines within Toronto.

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5 star review on your podcast tool or by becoming a patron.