Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I don't know what the current word count is currently, but I am happy with it. I am at my first major plot turning point and somewhere in the 18-20k range, which is as it should be.
Keela, our heroine, is about to complicate things a lot for herself. Which is a pity because things were going pretty well, but she doesn't see it.
I am pleased. ^_^
The reason for not pressing on is that I am hoping to finish off Draft Zero of the last Portia Gyony novella and get it off my plate so I can focus 100% on Music City (and short stories!).
Also, I will be Guest Blogging over at Apex in the new year. I am already liking where 2010 is going.
So stay tuned!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
This weekend I have managed to bring my new version of Music City up to 10k. I reused some stuff like the prologue and the chapter about Boston, but that was still about 5k of new material this weekend.
By the end of the week, I should be up to the word count of the old version and can move forward with the plot.
Thusfar I am roughly a tenth of the way into the book and a tenth of the way into the plot- working in side characters and much more setting and subplot. Versus the other version where I got about 25% through the plot at 15k and hit a wall because I did not like where anything was going- so contrived and just insincere did it feel to me.
So, onward and hopefully upward!
Friday, November 13, 2009
My husband, an awesome author in his own right, is really great for bouncing plot off of. We had a long talk about where I wanted to go with the story and worked backwards to the beginning and sorted out some plot.
So things got a little reworked and rewritten and tweaked and torqued and things are going more smoothly now.
Not that I have had any time to work on it since last week. Yay midterms. I have what I would consider the best Day Job in the world (I teach fashion) but several times a year it eats my life.
Yesterday, my day was lost to a weird migraine that wasn't. Just stayed in that dizzy slightly nauseated pre-migraine state for 24 hours. Stress, it's a killer.
Today, the plan is to go throw on some clothes and take Javert, the German Shepherd mix we're fostering (on our own now since we've been abandoned by all local rescues), off for an adventure- the long pleasant walk over to the local pet supply place for some rawhides and a training clicker.
Then this afternoon it is off for a writing afternoon at Crema's!
I always think so much more clearly over there and it gives me great momentum for coming back home and being productive.
Off for adventure! And writing!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
So this weekend was the first attempt in almost a month to get back in the writing rhythm. So far, I am attempting to knock out a short story for an anthology request (currently 2 story requests done, three to go) and intermittently let me brain wander into Music City plotting. I think this chapter might flow into a nice flashback travelogue through Ireland. Yes, that'll do nicely. Now with BONUS! actual experience driving around the countryside. The things I'll do for my craft!
I'll report back once I made a little bit of headway.
And in case anyone is wondering, YES, the Guinness IS BETTER over there.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Let's see, since spewing my venom about Old Navy, they gave me my discount and a $20 gift cert. I see more shopping in my future. ^_^
Plus, a shiny apology from a manager over their credit division.
At school, midterms rolled into registration into finals and I am ded.
Thusly, little work has been done on Music City.
I am currently sitting at Crema, my coffeeshop of choice, staring out the front window from my favorite seat, watching clouds and traffic and trying to clear my mind enough to work on something. Had a busier morning than intended with much dog-drama- nothing terrible, but Eowyn bolted and got sliced up by Bad Cat across the street, like literally had one of his claws wedged into her eyebrow. After cleaning her up, we had an hour's training on front door etiquette.
Last week, I put together a story to submit for an anthology and sent another anthology request out to be beta-ed. I have three more antho requests to fulfill. I also editted The Labyrinth of the Dead and can now move forward on The Tower of the Forgotten. Where does this leave Music City? No idea. Certainly not forgotten, but re-prioritized based on things with specific deadlines- as I have been with the agent I have been speaking to.
This is not uncommon in the writing process. You might start out something with the best of intentions and then get de-railed by a more pressing project. Not more important, just more time sensitive.
The trick is to manage time to get it all done, something totally doable, even if it includes a sort of spur-of-the-moment day-trip to Huntsville on Saturday to meet with Baen editors in the hope of making a favorable impression so they might consider taking on Seven Times a Woman, the book that fans love but that just cannot find a home. *sigh* I am already popualr with many Baen readers, but have yet to come to the attention of the editors. And said Baen folks are hatching a plan. I'd be afeared, but really, it can't be any worse than the two botched introductions I have already had inflicted upon my professional person.
And now, it's been twenty minutes of writing and none of it marketable fiction. So, you know what that means....
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
I am writing in concern to the service I receiving calling the Old Navy card customer service line. I understand that they are technically a separate organization run by GE Money, but they are still representing your company and doing a great disservice to you.
I have a busy and ever-changing schedule and I missed a payment on my card. This has happened very few times in the last several years that I have had this store card. I usually pay off my balance in full as soon as I get the notice that it has posted to my account.
On Monday, August 31 at 10:48am, I got a call from a number I did not recognize. The woman on the phone at first did not identify herself, but I was able to discern soon enough that this was a collections call from Old Navy. I apologized for losing track of my payments, I don't use it so often that I know to check my statement every month and that sometimes I get email reminders and sometimes I don't- an issue I later found is tied to using MyCheckFree.com or the Old Navy site- as an aside, MyCheckFree.com is not nearly as easy to use as the Old Navy website but they are the only ones that send the reminder emails. I informed her that I would be paying the balance as soon as I got home from work. She was very demanding of my debit card number or my bank information, which I told her I was not comfortable giving over the phone. She was also very demanding of my work phone number and my home phone number, both of which I declined to tell her because I am not in my office during regular business hours (I teach college so my office hours are scattered throughout the week) and my home phone has no answering machine. She continued to press for these phone numbers after I repeatedly told her that I was not going to share them with her. The same thing with the debit/bank account information. We ended the phone call tersely and I immediately placed my payment, paying the balance in full, as soon as we hung up. I have been informed that it is illegal for collections people to ask for a person's work number, because they are not allowed to harass customers in their place of business.
Yesterday, about 3pm I went into the Old Navy store in the Opry Mills Mall in Nashville, TN. I did my "stuff and save" shopping and went to check out. My card was declined.
The sales person with whom I dealt, Drew, was amazing. He was very kind and did all he could to make the transaction work, and although he could not give me the 20% discount, he let me have the free bag and told me to come back after the card issue was resolved and he would see if he could retro the discount.
On my way out, I called the card service line about 3:45pm or so. I asked why my account was frozen. The woman I spoke to was polite until she saw that my account was delinquent. Then her demeanor changed. She was very disdainful to me and gave me a great deal of attitude, asking "When you don't pay your bill, what did you think would happen?"
I told her that I had paid my bill the previous morning and gotten a confirmation that Old Navy had received it. She scoffed at me and said that it took up to 48 hours for the payment to post from the back and that I would not be able to use my card again until then. I also told her that I had never been told that my account had been frozen.
There was not a point in this conversation from this point that this woman was kind or polite. She was barely civil and her attitude was incredibly nasty, I could tell with every word exactly what she thought of me and it was highly upsetting.
I ended the phone call, very upset. In the previous two days my contact with customer service people representing your company has been terrible.
And as I have said many times this week, I understand the company's position. The economy is tough, you need to make sure you get paid and that is totally fair. I messed up, I completely forgot about the purchases I had made at the end of June, I apologized and paid the bill immediately after I was notified that I was still outstanding. I did get an email about that late last week, but was waiting on Monday's paycheck to be sure I could pay the balance off in full.
But to be treated with such contempt is ridiculous, especially after I paid the bill in full. But to be treated with such scorn to begin with is just jaw-dropping. Had the positions been reversed, either of those customer service people would have been as angry as I am to be treated in such a manner.
At 4pm exactly, I called the card customer service line again to complain about my treatment. The gentleman who answered that call was kind and apologetic. He assured me that he would bring this up with the floor supervisor/manager but I haven't heard anything in reply from them, so, in light of my previous encounters, I highly doubt anything will be done about this issue.
I have loved Old Navy for 15 years, shopping there since 1994. 75% percent of my wardrobe is Old Navy clothes and at least 25% of my jewelry and accessories come from your store. I have had great service in all the stores I have ever visited, but if this is the kind of treatment I can expect to receive from the parent company, I would rather take my money elsewhere. I am at the very least going to stop using the Old Navy store card. It is paid off and it will remain unused from this point forward. I am still considering my further patronage of your company.
I am not sure what can be done about this from your side but I wanted you to be aware that your card services people are running off your customers.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Over the last two weeks I have been using those pictures as reference when describing the witch's recording studio and the surrounding buildings. I needed to check these places out for myself because sometimes, looking at pictures is just no substitute! Especially since no one seems to really know where "Music Row" really is.
In addition to looking at all the pretty pictures I took, I also researched a lot about the O'Neill family. I found a great Geocities page that a guy put up in honor of his great-great-grandmother Mary O'Neill which was really fascinating. Accurate? No idea. But I liked the names and the stories so I went with it. It suited my needs for the narrative and really, even fiction based strongly in reality is still fiction. And for me as long as it feels authentic and works within the world of the tale it works, even if it isn't 100% accurate.
Crested 13,000 words yesterday which lands me in the middle of chapter five. Or about 2/3s through chapter five, I guess.
I mean I have an outline. Sorta. Diverged from it a while ago, though. Might want to check it to see where I am in relation and make sure I am not leaving something out that I had initially thought was important. Kind of like how when one is on a road trip and having fun just exploring, one might just check the map now and again to see how far it is to the next town and if one might get there in time for dinner.
Or perhaps that's just me....
Monday, August 03, 2009
But I had an idea. Many people love to ask me about my ideas and how I work and etc. So I thought I might use this as a place to sort of live-blog writing my newest novel, the working title of which is "Music City."
So let's begin.
I'll keep this part brief and to the point:
- June- around the middle of June, late one night, lying in bed- my husband and I are dozing off and chatting. We are talking about book ideas. He says, sleepily, "You know what would be cool?" And proceeds to give me the most awesome idea kernal I have had in ages. A banshee comes to Nashville looking for a record deal.
- June- I write the prologue after another couple of rounds of brainstorming.
- July- At my parent's house, I dig through my bookshelf and find a stack of books on Irish lore and faeries and send them home to Nashville. Outlining is finished, detailed notes are made.
- July/August- This catches me up to last weekend when I must have spent 26 hours of time writing chapters one and two.
- Today, August 3rd 2009, Monday:
Music Row, AKA Music Square W and Music Square E AKA 16th and 17th Avenues (No street in Nashville has only one name, that would be silly!) is not far from where I live but I had never been there. Many people think Broadway or Second Ave (downtown) is "Music Row" or even the area over by the Opryland Hotel. So finding some accurate images online was really gumming up my process. So I just hopped on over there to see for myself.
It's a gorgeous area of town, a very eclectic mix of old buildings, new buildings, homes, condos, recording studios, talent agencies, music publishers, beauty salons, a tattoo place, and a total dive bar. It's a perfect setting!
I took about 30 pictures, looking like a total tourist (at least I wasn't wearing a cowboy hat!). Both as general research about the feel and flavor of the neighborhood- like what kind of trees are there? How many? (Mostly maple and magnolia. Lots!) Architectural style, traffic, parking, etc.
I also narrowed my witch's house/recording studio to one of two buildings- one currently a Bank of America and the other a talent agent's office. There is a poll currently running on my LJ, do go and vote!
So, now I have a setting for the next segment. Sure, I could have gone on with the chapter without running over to Music Row, but I like to base my urban fantasies as close to reality as possible. People will believe in fae, in vampires, in whatever you tell them if you set them in a place they already know is real. Shaking up the disbelief factor in a story's foundation- for me and for this particular novel, the setting- really pushes the reader out of the nice little world that has been created for them.
Plus it was fun to wander around a part of town I had never seen before. I have only lived here for almost five years and I had never been down there! And it was a gorgeous evening, the humidity fell and the temperature came with it. Plus at 7pm no one is really out and about over there so there was minimal traffic and no one to fuss at us for being there.
Pictues were taken, summer evening was enjoyed, ideas are percolating. I'd have dipped into ch 3 but I bought a new phone at Costco (been wanting one with a real keyboard for a while now) and I spent far too long playing with the thing and um, lost some momentum.
But we can't write 5,000 words everyday. Or I suppose we could if we didn't have that pesky day job to fret about.
But for now, I open up comments on this post and bid you anon for a few days until I have something new to report. Look for posts anywhere from a couple times a week to once every two weeks as I sort out how I want to try and explain things, not to mention how much do you want to know.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Sunday, May 03, 2009
I had a hard time believing it myself. Could it be rumors of a reprint that has been driving the price up like this? No idea.
It is flattering, however.
Secondly, my newest work, The Convent of the Pure, is currently being featured as the Sunday Freebie over at Apex. They will take answers to the posted trivia question until Tuesday night and announce the winner on Wednesday.
And third, I am still stupidly spinning my wheels trying to come up with what to work on next. Putting together a couple of short pieces that were requested of me and then I will dive back into the idea pool for a new novel. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be delighted to hear them. Thusfar, been banging my head against the wall. Repeatedly.
Friday, April 03, 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Today is April the first and, no foolin', the release date for The Convent of the Pure. Also, I sent in the final draft for The Labyrinth of the Dead. We don't have a release date for it yet- it will depend on a variety of factors but is tentatively queued up for a slot either around Christmastime or early 2010.
It is really exhilarating to see a book on which you have worked so diligently see the light of day and go forth to make its way into the great wide world. It is also a special kind of magic finishing a work that has been on your plate since July 2008 and start it on its own path.
And I did both today.
I am a crazy thing! And just soaring!!
I sold more than 100 pre-orders, a great feat for a new author with a small press. It is all because I have caring people like you who want to exchange your hard-earned money for my hard-forged words.
I hope this bodes well for the future of Convent and the other two books in the trilogy.
So I am in a very tingly headspace, made all the more topsy-turvy with the announcement that Apex Online is not running my Amanda Palmer interview in the June edition, but instead creating an Amanda-fucking-Extravaganza in the blog section with 10 days of my interview questions and collected YouTube clips and etc. put together by Awesome Apex Frontman, Jason Sizemore (who also interviewed me in March).
What makes this extra shiny is that Neil Gaiman just posted a tweet about said interview!
I think you should check it out, too!
All the cool kids are doing it!
p.s. Don't forget to pick up your copy of The Convent of the Pure!
Stillwondering if you'd like it? Check out this AMAZING trailer, courtesey of Catherynne Valente and Abney Park!
Saturday, March 07, 2009
What's up with all the writing in coffee shops?
I have to admit with full disclosure that I am one of those authors, the kind you see taking up a corner of the cafe with a mug and a plate of nibblies.
Or, you may not see me- I tend to be unobtrusive and wrapped up in my own little world. The coffee shop is a great environment for me because it provides two things: a steady supply of snacks and a convivial atmosphere away from dogs, laundry, TV, and the need to answer the phone.
Most of the time my husband is with me, "getting coffee" is a weekend ritual for us that will never be skipped unless we are away at a convention.
Depending on what cafe we plan to visit will set our schedule. Lately we've been going to Crema since Sam & Zoe's got sold and is getting all corporate and snotty. Crema isn't open on Sundays so we go there on Saturdays. If we haven't anything else planned for the weekend, we still might go over to Sam & Zoe's on Sunday (which is really the best day to go there in general as the awesome Baja Burrito [NOT to be confused with the inferior chain place Baja Fresh!] is also closed on Sundays and there is plenty of parking in the tiny lot they share).
At coffee, notebooks and/or laptops are opened and working commences for as long as the batteries hold out. (I am rather suddenly down to 45 minutes of juice on poor Pixie. *pout* Need new battery STAT!)
Usually we stick to our current works in progress, occasionally stopping for a coffee refill, another scone, or to read a sentence aloud to one another to make sure it sounds good.
The staff get to know us pretty quick, many of them already have copies of A Year and a Day and are usually thrilled to know I am working on my next published book in their cafe.
The ever-present hum of chatter and squeal of espresso machines is comforting and generally if people see that I'm working they tend to leave me alone.
I know there is a massive, writerly stereotype of the sorts of people who work in coffee shops, but unlike a lot of those types, my husband and I try to get read work done and don't care who sees us. It is a really nice break from home and the change of atmosphere is incredibly focusing.
And really, if writers around the world are doing it, there has got to be a reason why.
Now you know mine! ^_^
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Well, the next few days are being spent in release party prep. I have final arrangements to arrange- like securing prizes for the costume contest for example! (Currently looking at Tea for Two at the historic Hermitage Hotel as the first prize!)
Touching base with the Syrens of the South about their set and out of town guests coming over!
The release party happens on March 14 here in Nashville.
The following weekend is MidSouthCon and the weekend after THAT is my very first The Convent of the Pure signing!
Leading up to this, I have an interview published in this month's issue of Apex Magazine.
So, when does that leave me time to work on the edits for book two and the first draft of book three?
The answer is: tomorrow.
I am hoping to get some time and work through the bulk of the edits tomorrow, perhaps over coffee and an awesome veggie burrito.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat on Saturday.
Things at the day job are winding up, we're on week nine of eleven of the quarter and then I will have two weeks of NOTHING TO DO BUT WRITE. Which will be made of win! Win and sleeping.
Better get to it, then!
Friday, February 06, 2009
The Convent of the Pure Sara Harvey. Apex (www.apexbookcompany.com), $13.95 paper (137p) ISBN 978-0-9816390-9-3
Harvey (A Year and a Day) cobbles together gothic steampunk fantasy and fluffy lesbian erotica in this romantic, necromantic tale. Two years after Imogen Gyony's death, her spirit still frequently visits her lover, Portia. Both are Nephilim, born of a celestial and a mortal being and raised to be warriors in an age-old fight against the demonic forces out to destroy humanity. When demons capture Portia, she escapes with crossbow blazing and takes on the fiends one by one, determined to bring Imogen back from the dead and save her Nephilim chapter house from being taken over by demon-influenced mages. Readers who aren't put off by the cheesecake cover illustration of buff, busty Portia will appreciate the mix of heat, horror and humor. (Apr.)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Apex Bestsellers of 2008
Best sellers of 2008:
December 2008 Bestsellers:
How awesome is that?
I hope to be one of the top 3 sellers for 2009! ^_^
Now, these are not huge numbers, but they are significant and mean that I just about broke even on my weekend. I was in the company of several other fine authors as we formed a collective that we lovingly call the Hot Chicks With Books!
This coming weekend I am staying more local and heading out to Chattacon in Chattanooga, TN, about 2 hours away from Nashville. I'll be judging the Masquerade and probably participating in the Syrens of the South burlesque show as a dresser and "pick-up girl."
I have also got the honeymoon scheduled but I am going to need to sell more books if I am going to afford all the Guinness Matt and I are going to want to drink!