Sunday, October 13, 2019

Deciding on My 2019 NaNoWriMo project

I'm going to redo a science fiction novel idea I've had, and this time I'm going to plot out the chapters and the main characters so that way I have a structure around which to stay focused. Last few tries I just pants-ed the NaNo attempts and lost track of things. I shall have an outline done while I'm at the FWA this weekend.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

To all Polk County FL NaNoWriMo writers for 2019

In case you have a Facebook account, we have a closed group for Lakeland Area NaNo, and if you're not already in it please send a request to join and I will check you in.

Link is here.

Good luck, everyone!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

They've Changed NaNo's Website


They've gotten rid of some of the stuff I used as a Municipal Liaison before. The Google Calendar link is missing (maybe moved) so plugging in events may get trickier.

I am going to need to take time figuring this out, thank God I got a month before November starts.

Get your novel prepped, people!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Getting Prepped for NaNoWriMo 2019

I had skipped on doing the Municipal Liaison thing last year because of staffing issues at the library where I work, but this year I had to take it on because the lady who had taken over duties has moved away from the Lakeland region.

I do plan on finding times and places to have Write-Ins to host, and maybe this year I'll find the motivation to finish a work instead of letting the writer's block demon get the better of me.

Keep an eye out for further details!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Regarding the 2019 Royal Palm Literary Awards Status

You might recall earlier that my story "The Pumpkin Spice Must Flow" was up for Semi-Finalist status under the Published Story category, which meant a likely shot at the Finalist status and with luck a Top Three win this October at the RPLA.

Welp... It didn't get to Finalist.

Ahh, well. It probably wasn't to everyone's tastes.

The other fiction submission "Road Trip to Vegas" never even cleared the Semi hurdle. Meanwhile, I never really heard back on the submission for the Blogging category. The judge reviewing the article I sent noted some of the links were broken and asked for fixes, but what I sent them probably did not help.

It's gonna be a quiet year for me after all. Unless I can get my muse to answer my calls...

Changes to My List of Works

I don't know if anyone else has paid attention, but I've been having some issues with the Print-On-Demand service I've used to get two works published.

One thing I tried recently was to email XLibris and request a change on pricing to the ebook release of Last of the Grapefruit Wars, which was supposed to be covered by the agreement I had with them back in 2003. Unfortunately, the only thing they DID do was remove the ebook offering altogether from Amazon and Barnes&Noble (and likely all other retail providers). I think they changed the parameters of the deal on me (or I didn't understand it to begin with), or else didn't care. Either way, they never emailed me back about what they did. I had to see it for myself. Not a good way to handle a client.

Back when PoDs first appeared, I gave XLibris a try to see how the service would work, which ended up being a lot of work at my end and not much else. They did provide decent copies of books, the bindery has held up relatively well for more than a decade. And they did have some decent marketing materials... which have now gotten too expensive for my budget.

And the only thing I do get from them are calls from a new "agent" every six months asking me to sign up for a new marketing plan... which is essentially the same marketing plan they offered me since 2003 of spam-emailing everybody.

I'm a little bit discouraged about this.

I read up the current rules for XLibris to see if I can cancel both of my book deals with them... and it looks like I can.

So my plan is to cancel both my books with XLibris - the political book has sold... well, maybe once - and re-edit the Grapefruit Wars anthology with a few new stories. Update the collection as it were, make it bigger - at 124 pages it was pretty thin - and repackage it to a self-publishing service - Ingramspark - that might provide a better deal with both print and ebook.

(This won't include my Talents superhero stories as I want to package them differently, preferably anchored by an honest-to-God book)

Thing is, I also want to change the anthology title. I've found out Last of the Grapefruit Wars confused too many people.

So I'm brainstorming now about what a good new title for the book could be.

It's a mash-up of different genres - there's one true sci-fi, a couple of fantasy, a lot of coming-of-age - mostly from my college years and the 1990s when I tried getting into the short story market. If there's any consistent element to the stories, it's been a lot of humor (I hope). Most of the newer stories to add are humor-oriented as well. So I'm thinking that would be the way to re-brand the set of stories.

Right now, the best title I can think of is Slices of Crazy: Collected Stories.

Titles like Welcome to Florida won't cut it, that's too common. So's Out of My Mind and variants thereof.

One story I might add is "Jar of the Atlantic" but as a book title might be as confusing as Grapefruit Wars. I'm intrigued with the idea of making the subtitle to any decided title be ...And Other Personal Disasters but that's too self-deprecating.

If any of my seven blog followers got any suggestions, let me know.

Monday, July 8, 2019

I Got NaNo-Nine Problems...

Quick update on my writing for this month of July:

(cricket chirping)

I was hoping that by going with a time limit - 40 hours - instead of word count, I would be gliding into the writing process of an hour here, a couple of hours during the weekend there, that sort of thing.

The first full week of NaNo writing and I haven't even found an hour to get anything done: not a paragraph, not one sentence or bit of dialogue.

I am finding myself sitting in front of a computer monitor suffering from depression, self-loathing, and anxiety... not all of it writing related.

I've headed out to places away from home, to avoid distractions. It's not working.

No excuses here.

I need to find my motivation. A muse. Something.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Camp NaNo July 2019, Underway

I got my opening chapter already!

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single slice of bread in possession of strawberry spread, must be in want of a butter knife."

...

WHADDA YA MEAN IT'S BEEN DONE?!

Sigh. (crumples paper and starts again)

I'll get something done this month with Camp NaNoWriMo. 40 hours to go...

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Something New With Camp Nano 2019

One of the things you could do with Camp NaNoWriMo for April/July was setting your own word goal, so that you won't stress out trying to get 50,000 words done in 30 days like you do in November.

But I noticed something new when I tried to select my Goals for the July camp: It now included options on selecting other means of measuring your efforts.


  • Words
  • Hours
  • Minutes
  • Lines
  • Paragraphs
One thing I kept running into with my last handful of failed projects was finding the time to get writing done. The word count was one thing: trying to cram in 1600-plus words per day wasn't happening, and the more I fell back the harder it was to keep up.

I'm going to see if going by HOURS - say, 40 hours for the month of July - will get me to my goals better. If time is my limiter, use that as an advantage.

So I'm planning on 40 hours worth of writing this July: Getting science fiction stories finished up to complete an anthology of sci-fi shorts.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Updating Witty Librarian Stuff

It's been awhile since I've tried marketing meself as a Witty Librarian, working with a Cafe Press service that I haven't made sense of for the last decade or so.

I'm thinking of going to Vista Print, where I've made bookmarks and handouts for my book vendor appearances, to see about creating mousepads and signage. In the process, I discovered I needed to recreate decades-old logos done on low-resolution. So I'm redesigning the stuff I've had to this:

I used to write it as "Smart@ss" but people thought it was a bad email link. /sigh


Is the shadow drop too much?
Still doing this graphic design on my own. I worry I'm not getting the images clean enough to transfer to printing on mugs and t-shirts. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Strangely Funny VI NOW IN PRINT and On My Bed

The publishers shipped the print copy for me, just got it today!


My short story "How a Vampire Gets a Tan," continuing the ongoing struggles of my heroine from "Minette Dances With the Golem of Albany," (in SFIII) is on page 121.

If you purchase a copy from Amazon.com, I encourage you to READ. INDULGE. DESTROY! And then leave a nice review on Amazon 'cause we're polite like that.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

NaNoWriMo Planning 2019 And Other News

I've submitted working with NaNo this year to be the Municipal Liaison for the Lakeland region, as the lady who did it last year is moving away.

This may be relatively stressful due to ongoing concerns with work - we are still woefully understaffed at my library - but hopefully things can change between now and November.

I may try a run at the July Camp NaNo. I'm still recovering from falling apart during the April attempt. :(

In the meantime, I've been notified the latest volume of Strangely Funny VI release NOW in print, while encouraging my seven followers to spread the word that the Kindle ebook version is available right now! (P.S. PLEASE leave good reviews when you download).

Also wik, I am submitting some shorts here and there, looking through a site called Submission Grinder to see what places are accepting and if anything I've got can generate interest... Updates on that front as responses bounce back.


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy 2019 Mother's Day Ocean the Wiggle Cat

It's 2019 and I don't have any other pictures of Ocean being a Mom cat because Mal just won't stay in the picture with her long enough...


So I'll just show the latest photos of Ocean the Wiggle Cat so you can see she's doing okay.


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

It's a Day of Birth 2019 Edition

But it's a day in the middle of the week so I'm at work, doing librarianship, ordering copies, coping with 49 years of wondering about my place in the universe...

And not enough cake. Sigh.

BACK TO WORK.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Little Bit of My Childhood, Gone Away.

The actor who played Chewbacca in Star Wars, Peter Mayhew, recently passed away.


While I have a fondness for all the original characters, Chewie was kind of my guy. Oversized, covered with fur, goofy, unable to play chess...

When I was 7 or 8 years old I asked for a large Chewbacca action figure for Christmas. My parents may not have understood the request because I ended up with a fluffy teddy-bear Chewie. I wasn't entirely thrilled at the time, but Plush Chewie grew on me and so he was a regular bedtime companion until I was 12 or so. Afterwards he was pretty much on a book shelf for display and I admit I grew out of the idea of owning a doll like that. I can't recall when he ended up going to a donation store, or whatever else happened to him.

There's times in my adulthood when I wonder why I let so much of my childhood things go. It was like letting go of some memories here and there. I feel this way when the actors I grew up with, playing the characters of my childhood, pass away.

Goodbye Chewie. What a Wookie!


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Writing Out of My Blues

I am struggling to find the time and the motivation to write.

That's all I can say at the moment.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

In the Good News Category Regarding the 2019 FWA Royal Palm Awards

While one story did not fare so hot, another story did!

CONGRATULATIONS! Your entry, The Pumpkin Spice Must Flow, Short Story, is a semifinalist for the 2019 Royal Palm Literary Awards competition!

This was done under the category of Published Short, thanks to it being in the anthology Strangely Funny V!

You know, this book! Still available on Amazon!

So yay! If it was good enough for Strangely Funny, it's good enough for the state of Florida!

The thing is, there's still a Finalist stage to contend for, and then finding out if the story achieves top status as a Winner (First, Second, or Third Place). So there's still a few more nerve-wracking months until we get there.

In the meanwhile, I get to display this!


In the Sad News Category Regarding the 2019 FWA Royal Palm Awards

Well, I just got back word that "Road Trip to Vegas" - my submission to the Short Fiction Unpublished category for the Florida Writers Association's Royal Palm Awards - did not make the Semifinalist cut for consideration.

'Tis a pity. I hoped it would have been funny enough and good enough to pass muster.

Maybe I didn't have enough Fourth-Wall-Breaking narration in it. Yeah, that's the problem. MORE INSANE NARRATIVE DIALOGUE COMING RIGHT UP!

/owstophittingme

Look, "Road Trip to Vegas" is kind of a personal work for me, based on one of the traumatic moments of my teen years undertaking a non-stop road trip that left some emotional scars. I wrote TWO stories based on that trip, the other one being "A Face In the Light" which interestingly enough earned a Finalist status in this same category last year (I am trying to find a publisher to submit it, so far I've had a couple of rejections so... sigh...).

I still think it's one of my better works. I'm sorely tempted to package it together with other humor stories and self-publish another story anthology. I just need to get about eight or ten more stories - I have six already, maybe seven if I pull some e-published works off-market to put it together - to justify a decent-sized book.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for some GOOD news... (wait for the next blog post)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Coming Soon: Strangely Funny VI

I am proud to announce a new humor-horror anthology is coming out this year, the next installment of Strangely Funny (this one is the seventh but it's numbered Sixth, we'll explain later)!

The editors forwarded the book cover, see below:


The story they accepted is "How a Vampire Gets A Tan," a sequel of sorts to the "Minette Dances With the Golem of Albany" published in Volume III. If anybody enjoyed reading that and the other Dhampyr story "I Must Be Your First," I hope you enjoy this follow-up as well.

I'll let you know when the book is available online for print and eReader!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Getting Back Into The Superhero 'Verse I'm Writing

I've settled on the plot ideas I've been bouncing around in my head since 2004. It's gonna be a story about a man who meets a woman during the war.

...

Okay, so I'm ripping off the plot of the Book With the Blue Cover (wherever it may be on our shelves). BUT DAMMIT I'M TIRED OF SUFFERING FROM WRITERS BLOCK.

(activates lightsaber before heading into battle) CHARRRRRRGGGEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

As March Rolls Out, April Rolls In

I know I promised to find a work I had on the backburner and clean it up for possible publication through IngramSpark to see how the experience went.

Well... one month later and I haven't gotten anywhere near fixing that project and getting something going.

There's every excuse I can throw out there, but the basic answer is I am just not feeling it. I'm bummed and stressed about three to thirty things that don't even have to do with writing, and I'm bummed and stressed about that.

I'm looking back at about ten years of working on NaNoWriMo projects and finding not a one of them - whittled down to five solid candidates - grabbing my interest to get done.

Even with Camp Nano starting again this April, I am feeling challenged and unmotivated.

I am one of those poor souls in dire need of a Muse. Might be Thalia (for humor), maybe Clio (for history/non-fiction). It's a damn shame the Greeks never set up Muses for Sci-Fi / Fantasy fiction. :/

Anyone know the hourly rates of a good Muse?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

It's St. Patrick's Day, You Know What THAT Means!

Well, I have gotten to 500 posts on this blog, and I'm getting there by way of neither librarianship nor writing.

I'm getting there by way of posting yet again on St. Patrick's Day clips from one of my favorite movies The Quiet Man:


Ahhhh, the Quiet Man.

Impetuous! Homeric!




I need to update my passport and save up more money to make a trip to Innisfree meself.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

If I Can Clean It Up, I Have A Work To Publish this 2019.

If you note my habit of writing for November, I will on occasion finish a rough work-in-progress and win the NaNoWriMo prizes for crossing the 50,000 word mark.

Now that I've gotten a few side projects out of the way, I am re-tasking myself towards cleaning up that particular WIP and using a particular prize to get it out to the world:

A self-publishing discount with IngramSpark.

In case you're not a librarian or bookstore manager, Ingram handles a lot of book and AV distribution. With the growth of self-published works, they've jumped into that market - competing with Amazon's Createspace, you might have heard of that - and they bring to the table an advantage of providing print / ebook for market to libraries and brick-and-mortar stores (the stores are not obligated to display books, but you may be able to make personal arrangements with stores in your area).

As a distributor, Ingram has a decent reputation, so this may be something that can help a self-published guy like me find an audience.

We'll see. First things first, EDIT MY DRAFTS. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Submission Time 2019: RPLA Attempts

Well, I hope I am wiser and sadder about this year about my chances in the Florida Writers' Association's Royal Palm Literary Awards.

This time I shan't get my hopes up too high. I will remain even-keeled well past any Finalist standing(s) I might earn.

I am putting in for more entries this year. Not only an unpublished Short Story submission, but also a Published Short Story (I shouldn't say anything until later which it is), and also a NEW category they are offering in the Non-Fiction category: Short Non-Fiction covering articles and BLOGS (oh, yeah, I have one of those).

We'll see how my year goes. Wish my stories luck, peeps.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Happy 5th Birthday to Mal the Krazy Kat

Facebook reminded me that I posted images of Ocean giving birth to her kittehs this weekend, right around the 4th Quarter of the Seattle-Denver Super Bowl where the Seahawks were just mashing the Broncos.

Mal is in that pile somewhere.
I named them after six of the characters from Firefly: Mal, Zoe, Jayne, River, Simon, Inara. I kept Mal because black cats are harder to adopt out (River was a tuxedo kitten like her mom and Inara was the grey kitteh: they went first).

So here we are five years later, and here's Mal being the same crazy cat he's been since Day One:


YOU try keeping a birthday hat on a cat.



Woohoo.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Asking for Artwork Commission for this Blog

I need to spruce up the WELCOME page I'm creating for the blog - to support the new www.paulwstories.com address - so I'd like to get in touch with any comic book or fantasy genre artists for commission. I know some people don't want to work with my Comments site so just click on my EMAIL link here to chat with me.

I'd like to get something done by May, if possible.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Making Changes at This Blog

Check out the Writings tab on the menu above!

And I should be adding more books as this year progresses!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Busy New Year's Day 2019

Just been doing a few things here and there.


  • I got the "Face In the Light" submitted to a magazine, see how the response goes.
  • I am updating my web address info for self-marketing. I went out and snagged a new domain that I will use to redirect people to the blog here. Which may involve me renaming a few things here and there on THIS site.
    The new address is www.paulwstories.com 
  • I am redoing the Writings Tab on the menu above, adding book covers to the links to provide visual info for people to follow. This is still a work in progress and may involve a complete rehaul of things.
  • I am about to start work on a specific story for a specific submission, may the Old Gods and the New protect us.


Hello, 2019!