Saturday, September 29, 2012

So Poor and So Happy

I am so happy to report that I have completed Honeysuckle Love and am in the process of editing it.  Well, a first edit.  Next it will be sent off to my critique partners.  (Girls, I truly love you and all the help I know you’re going to give me.)  Then it’s back in my hands for another round of edits and formatting before going to print.  Oh my God, that feels so good to say!  Going to print.  And as I mentioned in a previous post, HSL will be available on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, iBookstore, the Nook, and many more e-book stores.  (I’ll include a complete list prior to publication day.) 

I cannot wait to get this book to you, and I have some great plans for contests so that you can win a free signed print edition.  Start thinking of all the people you can bug about joining my blog.  Alfred, my design guy, is working on a gorgeous book cover that I’m pretty stoked about.  I’m excited to reveal it to you once it’s complete.  And he’s recently customized my blog, as you can see, and I just think it’s the prettiest thing.

I have other really great news that I’m dying to share, but I’m forcing myself to stay mute until I set a definite publication day for HSL.  I’ll give you a hint, though.  The news has nothing to do with HSL.  Take a look at my blog header and read it carefully, and you may be able to figure it out.  And as for Hoodie, I’m happy to report that I’m averaging 1 to 2 book sales per day.  Ha!  I know you’re probably thinking that that’s lame news, but for me it isn’t.  Yes, right now I am truly a starving artist, but I’ve never worked so hard in my life to earn those few dollars a day!  It feels so good to make so little.  I know that sounds weird, but for the first time in my life I’m doing something I truly love, and every book sale, every review, every add on goodreads, every mention of my work on a blog is moving me closer to my goal.  No, it’s not to be the next J.K. Rowling (though I wouldn’t mind that!).  It’s to get my writing out there to more and more people, to share myself with others in the hopes that my stories will affect them in significant ways.  It’s a total high.  I don’t even have to do drugs.  I just have to keep writing.

I’m also starting a weekly Saturday Shout-out because there are a lot of people in my life that I need to give props to for the amazing support and love they’ve shown me throughout this entire process of becoming an indie author.  So my first is below:

SATURDAY SHOUT-OUT:

This one definitely goes out to Alfred Porter.  If you’ve been following me, you know who Alfred is.  He’s my design guy, and he’s done the most fabulous work for me.  Oh, would you like to hear?  Okay, I’ll tell you.  He designed both of my Hoodie book covers, the images for my advertising T-shirts, the image for a contest T-shirt I gave away, my Hoodie Facebook banner, my blog header, and currently he’s working on the HSL book cover.  What sets him apart as a designer is his vision.  Period.  I know designers are supposed to have vision and all, but I’m not sure that they all really do.  He does, though, and he mixes it with meticulousness.  There's nothing sloppy there.  Nothing thrown together just to get it done.  He devotes the time and care to each piece of artwork he does for me, and it shows.  So thank you, Alfred.

If you want to get in touch with him about possible projects, email him at alfredporter@gmail.com  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A "Thank you" and an Excerpt

May I just say “thank you” to everyone who’s encouraged their friends and family to read Hoodie?  As I mentioned on my Facebook page, I received over 700 downloads during my free promotional weekend.  People added it to their goodreads shelves and rated it.  Some have purchased it since the promotion ended.  And some have borrowed it from the Kindle library.  Slowly but surely the word is getting out, and I have all of you to thank for it.

I also wanted to say that I really appreciate the reviews on Amazon and goodreads.  Those mean so much.  I just can’t stress enough how important they are in getting people to purchase my work and making the book more visible on Amazon.  So thank you for taking the time to write your reviews.

In other news, I’m nearly finished with Honeysuckle Love.  I have two more chapters to finish.  That’s it.  I confess I cried a little yesterday for fear of nearing the completion of this novel.  I didn’t write Hoodie nearly this fast, so I had more time to spend with it.  It was the central part of my life for around a year and a half.  I had time.  The panic of sharing something so personal didn’t set in until a month or so before publication.  But HSL has been completely different.  I didn’t know I could even write a novel this quickly, and it’s longer—much longer—than Hoodie, too. 

I guess I should be grateful that the book is almost finished.  That means I can get it to you more quickly, and to speak frankly from a business perspective, start making a profit.  But all it makes me feel is . . . empty.  It’s different from Hoodie where I simply freaked out about sharing my work.  I knew to expect good reception and bad.  Some people were going to love it.  Some were going to hate it.  Some indifferent or unaffected.  (Those are the worst reactions.)  Regardless, I wanted it out there.  But with HSL I feel selfish.  I’m reluctant to let go because I don’t want the intimacy of creating this story, forming these characters to be shared with anyone quite yet.  I want to keep my secret time with it.  It’s almost like having a lover.  You’re fiercely loyal and protective and jealous.  You don’t want to share.  You feel like it would be wrong to share, but then what’s the point of writing stories if you don’t?

And then I have the worst guilt for feeling so selfish because I think about my fans, I think about all the people I’ve heard from or talked to who’ve said they can’t wait to read my next novel.  I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and just give it up.  Let it go.  Another story will come.  Maybe that’s my problem.  I’m fearful that it won’t.  That I’ll dry up.  Out of ideas.  Out of characters to build.  Out of stories to tell.  I think I may go through this cycle every single time I’m finished with a book.  Reluctance.  A hurt heart.  And fear for the next story that I can’t quite grasp.  Do other writers feel this?  You complete a work and then you’re just hanging there in Writer’s Limbo.  Where do you go?  Where is the next story?

So I think the only way to get over my issues with HSL is to share bits of it with you.  I’m not ready to do the weekly excerpts I told you about in a previous post (it’s still too early), but I wanted to give you a little something now so that I can cry over the fact that it's out there and then get the hell over it.  I truly love this story.  It’s close to my heart for a variety of reasons, and I hope to be able to have the guts to share them with you some day.  

EXCERPT FROM HSL

   “Hi Clara,” he said approaching her the following Monday.  She looked from left to right.  “You’re the only Clara I’m talking to,” he said, and then chuckled.  She shrugged and gave him a noncommittal smile.

   “Hi,” she managed.  She wanted to leave.

   “I was wondering what you’re doing this weekend,” Evan said.  “I thought if you weren’t busy, maybe we could go for frozen yogurt or something.  That seems to be the thing right now— yogurt.  Fancy yogurt.  I don’t know.  Those frozen yogurt bars with all the flavors and toppings and everything.”  He suddenly felt nervous.  She wasn’t saying anything but instead looking at him like he was an idiot.  “You know what I’m talking about?”

   “I don’t eat fancy yogurt,” Clara said flatly.  Her heart tightened as the words came out.  She didn’t mean to be nasty about it, but she was sure she came across that way.

   Evan knew what she meant.  He also decided that he wouldn’t be deterred. 

   “I know you don’t eat fancy yogurt,” he said matter-of-factly.  “I’m asking if you’d like to.” 

   He held her gaze unwilling to allow her to make him feel foolish for his offer.

   “Why?” she asked.  She started feeling angry.

   Evan thought that any boy in his situation would have simply said “Whatever” and left, but he also understood her resistance.  He knew where it was coming from.  He knew she was angry that he saw where she lived, but it wasn’t intentional.  He did charity runs all of the time.  How was he to know that he would be delivering food to her house over the weekend?

   “I thought it would be fun,” he said.

   “I have to babysit my sister,” Clara answered.  She wished he would tell her to piss off and then walk away.

   “Well, Beatrice can come too,” Evan offered.

   Jesus with this guy, Clara thought exasperated.  Why can’t he just leave me alone?

   “I’m not sure,” Clara said.  She shifted her book bag to the other shoulder.

   “I can come and pick you up,” Evan offered.  He saw the abrupt change on her face.  It went from uncertainty to deep embarrassment in a second.

   “I’d rather you not,” Clara said quietly.  “I’m going to be busy.  I don’t think I can go.”

    She turned to leave and he caught her arm.  It was surprising, and she jumped.  He’d never touched her before—not deliberately—not like when he accidentally ran into her at Beatrice’s Open House.  She felt trapped between wanting desperately for him to let go and hold onto her at the same time.
  
   “I’d really like you to go, Clara,” Evan said.  “You can bring along your little sister.  It’s okay.”

   Clara wouldn’t look at him as she said it.  “I don’t need you to feel sorry for me,” she said softly.  “Please let me go.”  But she didn’t think she believed it.  She thought she wanted him to go on holding her.

   Evan tightened his grip on her arm and forced her to turn around and look at him.  Now she did want him to let go.  She felt the deep red stain on her cheeks, a tingling burning, and she knew he saw it.

   “I don’t feel sorry for you,” he said firmly.

   “Oh really?  I saw that smile you gave me the other day outside of my house.  It was full of pity. You felt sorry for me,” she replied hotly.

    “I smiled at you to be friendly,” Evan replied releasing her arm.  She breathed relief.

    “Friendly?  You don’t even know me.  You’ve talked to me a handful of times,” Clara snapped.

    “I don’t think it’s fair to say I don’t know you,” Evan said.  “I do know some things about you.”

    “Yeah.  Like the fact that I’m poor,” she spat.

    Evan took a deep breath.  “I was going to say that I know you love to read.”

    “Uh huh,” Clara replied.  “And where’s my bookmark, by the way?” she asked angrily.

    Evan ignored her.  “But I’d like to learn more things about you, Clara.  I want to talk to you more, but you won’t even give me the chance.”

    “Because it’s weird, okay?” she said defensively.

    “What’s weird?”

    Clara didn’t want to say it out loud—that she felt inferior and would always feel inferior around him because he had money and she could barely afford soap.  She felt she shouldn’t have to explain it to him, that he should understand intuitively and be a gentleman and leave her alone.

    “Just forget it,” she mumbled.  “I have to go to work.”

   “Okay,” Evan said.  “I’ll come over to your house Saturday around two.”

   Clara was already walking away when she froze.

   “No,” she said not looking behind her.  “I’ll be busy.”

   “You can take a frozen yogurt break,” Evan said.  “It doesn’t take long to eat frozen yogurt.”

   She turned around and looked at him.  She heard the sound of his cell phone buzzing in his pants pocket.

   “Your phone is ringing,” she said.

   “It’s unimportant,” he replied smiling.  “Right now I’m talking with you.”

    As much as she tried to push it down, the overwhelming rush of giddiness filled her heart to bursting.  How?  How could her emotions change so abruptly—that she could go from feeling ashamed and angry to exhilarated in an instant?  She knew she shouldn’t let him in.  She still couldn’t understand why he was so insistent on being let in.  But she couldn’t deny the way her heart felt in that moment, like her mother had come home and her sister had cute clothes to wear to school.
  
   “Okay,” she said quietly.

   “Okay?” he asked hopefully.  “You’ll let me take you?”

   She nodded as she watched the grin break out on his face.

   “I really do have to go now,” she said.  “I can’t be late for work.”

   “I’ll walk you to your car,” Evan offered.

   “Alright,” Clara said.  She didn’t have the strength to fight him.  The giddiness in her heart also made her weak, and she thought that if he asked to pick her up and carry her to her car she wouldn’t resist.

   They walked together out of the school building.  They passed by several students who stood staring, a few waving at Evan once he addressed them.

  “People think it’s weird that you talk to me,” Clara said.  She couldn’t believe her boldness in being so honest.

   “I can’t imagine why,” Evan replied.  He waved to his friend Chris who was sitting at a picnic table with some girls.

   “I can,” Clara said.

   “Well, I really don’t care about those other people, Clara,” Evan replied once they reached her car.  “And neither should you.”

   “Brittany started a nasty rumor,” Clara blurted.  She wanted it out in the open.

   “I know,” Evan replied.  “And no one cares.”

   “Right,” she said unconvinced.

   “It’s true, Clara,” Evan insisted.  “No one pays any attention to her.  She’s just mean and hateful.  No one cares what she says.”

   “She likes you,” Clara said quietly.

   Evan thought for a moment.  “Well, that’s just too bad because I don’t like her.”

   Clara wanted to ask him if he liked her.  If that was the reason he kept coming around to talk, to sit with her.  If that was the reason he asked her to go get yogurt with him.  But she couldn’t.  Instead, she climbed into her car and shut the door.  She started the ignition, wound down her window, then looked up at him.  He was smiling down at her.

   “I’m not giving back your bookmark, Clara,” he said firmly.

   She wanted to cry for feeling so frustrated.  It was anger at having no control over the way he made her feel.  It was embarrassment for her poverty.  It was giddiness for the attention he paid her.  It was . . . sexual.  She wanted him to say it again.  “I’m not giving back your bookmark, Clara.”  She felt her heart pumping overtime underneath of her breast and feared that he could see it.  She had to get out of there, afraid of what she would say or do if she stayed.  As though he sensed it, he leaned in, resting his forearms on the car door, inches from her face.  She tensed at the closeness.

   “Is it alright that I keep your bookmark, Clara?” he asked quietly.

   He was teasing her, and she knew it.  She searched frantically for some witty reply, but she had none.  All she could think about was his body hovering over her, his face so near, and she wanted to at once smack him and draw him close to her to kiss him.

   “I’m taking care of it,” he went on, tormenting her gently.  “It’s right in the middle of my physics book.  I just opened my book wide and placed it right in.”

   He grinned, knowing what he was doing to her, knowing he was being completely inappropriate, wanting to kiss her right then for the deep red he painted over her soft cheeks.

   She couldn’t stand it.  “It’s just a stupid bookmark!”

   Evan stood up again and she let out all of the air she didn’t know she was holding.

   “It’s not stupid to me,” he said thoughtfully.

   What the hell are we talking about? Clara wondered.  She didn’t think it was about a bookmark anymore, and she knew it was time to leave.

   “I have to go,” she said softly.

   “I know,” Evan replied.  He watched as she put the car in drive.  “I’ll be seeing you, Clara,” he said as she wound up her window.  He looked on as she drove off grinning at his success in rattling her completely.  He wanted to give her something to think about, and he knew she would think about it all night.  Good, he thought.  It’s about damn time she knows it.

© S. Walden, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Free HOODIE Day!

Go get it!  It's free!  You heard me.  FREE!  Hoodie by S. Walden.
Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21 and 22

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Honeysuckle Loving It

Okay, that post title is super cheesy, but I have to say that I’m so in love with Evan and Clara.  I think more so than Anton and Emma which is hard because I feel like I’m cheating on them.  I wonder if other authors of romance feel that way when they write their next books.  Because for the time that you’re developing the story, learning your characters, growing and changing them, you do fall in love and think that you’ll never be able to love anyone else.  I hate to say it’s a labor of love because that’s so clich├ęd, but it is.  In every sense of the word.  So I guess it’s natural to feel like a whore when you begin to fall in love with your new characters.

Oh my God, I’m a whore.

I did go back and reread some Hoodie today (and found some mistakes that I promptly fixed . . . argh) just to make sure that the magic was still there.  Whew!  It was.  I love Anton.  I love Emma.  Still.

But on to my new book.  I already told you that I think my target publishing date is impossible.  Let’s go ahead and just assume that it’s impossible.  Set low expectations and then surprise myself if I can actually meet the date.  Yes, I think I’ll do that.  It really has to do with my big plans for this book.  Hoodie was published exclusively on Amazon Kindle, but I have other things in store for Honeysuckle Love.  First off, as I mentioned in my previous post, I’m going to be publishing HSL in a variety of e-stores including iBookstore and Nook.  I’m going through Smashwords which allows me to upload my e-book once, and they take care of distributing it and keeping all of my records in one place.  And I just now learned about this!  I am a true indie author with no idea what I’m doing.  Sometimes it really makes me feel like an idiot, but I know I need to be fair to myself.  It’s a new industry for me.  I can whip up a writing lesson for ninth graders in about two seconds flat, but ask me about marketing and publishing as an independent, and I’ll just stare at you.  And then you’ll feel really uncomfortable.

In any case, I’ll still be publishing HSL on Kindle, but at least now I know there are other options out there for me.  Other avenues for people to get their hands on my work.  And that’s a good thing.  But do you want to know what I’m absolutely THRILLED about?  Well, I’ll tell you.  There will be print editions of HSL.  Yep, that’s right.  My husband, who is so supportive and a person I really don’t deserve, is going to get me print editions of my new book to (hopefully) sell on my blog, sell to independent book retailers, and to give away to my fans.  Because I like you all.  (Oh, you’ll have to win them, of course, but they'll be signed.  That’s kind of cool.) 

From what I understand, print packages are usually offered for one book at a time, but I’m going to see if I can split a package that will allow me to get Hoodie printed as well.  Yes, it is expensive.  Yes, I will never recoup the cost.  And you know what?  I don’t care.  I’m still old school with books (even though I’ve come to discover that I really like reading books on my HTC).  Still, it cannot replace the tactile feel and smell of a printed book, and I know I’ll squeal like a little girl when I get my box in the mail and hold my printed book for the first time.  And I’ll squeal like a little girl when someone purchases a printed book instead of the e-book for the first time.

So that’s why the publishing date will most likely be extended.  Still so much stuff to do, but very excited about it all.  Soon I will be posting excerpts from HSL.  One a week up until publishing day.  I have to get you interested, right?  One of my absolute favorite things about this novel is that it sounds nothing like my first one.  You may wonder if it was me who wrote it.  (I wrote it.)  And I always hope to give you that as a writer.  Something fresh and new.  Because why would you keep reading my work if you knew what to expect?  Well, the voice is the same.  That doesn’t change.  That’s at the core of a writer.  But the style is different, and I hope you like it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Miscellany to keep you up-to-date

M 1:  I finally got some nice pictures taken so that I don't have to keep using the same one.  Ugh, I was sick of that picture!  And it's gone for good.  Go check out the new ones at my Amazon author's page, goodreads page, and twitter.  Oh yeah, and my Author's Bio page has one, too.  Thanks, Burt, for doing an amazing job.  Who needs a flash, right?

M 2: Don't forget about the free Hoodie weekend this Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22.  New cover design.  New Table of Contents to make navigating the book easier.  Even if you've already got it, go ahead and download the new version.  And please spread the word.  Share my Facebook post on your feeds when I put it up on Friday.  Gift the book to your friends.  IT'S FREE!

M 3: I'll be giving you an update on my progress with Honeysuckle Love in a separate post (probably tomorrow).  Good news is that the first draft is almost complete.  Bad news is that I don't know if I'll meet my target publishing date.  I think I was a little too ambitious.  I'm going to be publishing this novel in a variety of places (Smashwords, iBookstore, Nook, etc.) which means I have to format my book in two different ways.  And my critique partners haven't even seen one paragraph of this story, so the target date is starting to look more like a joke.  Maybe if I get them to read it super fast?

M 4: This isn't an update but rather a request.  If you've read Hoodie I would really appreciate a review on Amazon or goodreads or both.  Your reviews are so important, and people really do read them when deciding on a purchase.  So if you could take a few minutes to log in and tell everyone what you thought (And be honest!  It's not like I know who you are based on your username), it would thrill me.  Thanks for all of your support.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Honeysuckle Love Book Summary

I usually reserve writing my book summary for last—the last possible thing I must do before the book is complete—because it’s just so damn hard.  (Even worse than writing a bio.) Amazing, really, that I can write a novel and then sit for days staring at a blank screen trying to develop a good, succinct book summary.  But there you have it.  I forced my way through, wrote and rewrote and cursed what I wrote and deleted what I wrote then cried that I deleted what I wrote, and now it’s finished.  My book summary for Honeysuckle Love:

Clara Greenwich is too young to take on the sole responsibility of caring for herself and her younger sister.  She’s just sixteen.  She should be focused on what other sixteen-year-old girls are focused on: going to school, hanging out with friends, falling in love.  Instead, she’s working to pay off the mound of bills her mother left behind when she vanished at the start of the school year.  Left alone with her eight-year-old sister, Beatrice, Clara discovers that she is now the parent, the provider, and the responsibilities soon grow to be more than she can handle.

Complicating matters is senior Evan Morningstar who starts pursuing Clara at the beginning of her junior year.  She’s confused by this.  Evan is a fairly popular, likeable guy.  She describes herself as a nobody—a quiet, intensely shy girl who suffers from social anxiety.  She wants what any teenage girl wants—love—but she’s terrified to let Evan get close.  She can’t allow him to see how she lives for fear that he will notify authorities.  But his gentle persistence wins out, and she has no option but to open her heart to him.  She discovers something more than just a boyfriend in Evan.  She discovers a loyal friend.

When Clara’s responsibilities prove too much, she begins a slow descent into depression, something she’s sure she inherited from her mother.  She does everything to fight it, but it looms large threatening to consume her every day.  When her mother returns, Clara must make a difficult choice or else stay trapped in despair forever.  Only she can discover redemption—how to forgive the past and love again.


(Publication target date: December 25, 2012)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Free HOODIE!

Hey everyone!  I'm really excited to announce that Hoodie will be available in the Kindle store for FREE DOWNLOAD Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.  Typically the free promotion starts at midnight on the first day and ends at midnight on the second.

So why am I doing this?  Easy enough.  I want (and need) to grow my readership.  So here's what I need from you:  Tell every single person you know, and then when you're out grocery shopping or picking up your dry cleaning, tell anyone you run into.  Copy and paste the link below and send it to your friends.  I've learned that the easier it is for people to find my book, the better the chances are of them downloading it.

So mark your calendars for Sept. 21 and 22!


http://www.amazon.com/Hoodie-ebook/dp/B008UH0QUO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1347412110&sr=1-1&keywords=hoodie

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hoodie Revisited

Hoodie underwent a bit of a transformation today.  First off, it received a new cover:


Thank you, Alfred, for this amazing cover that I feel will appeal much more to the ladies.  I love it, love it, love it.

Another change to the book: Table of Contents.  And let me tell you, I hated every freaking minute of creating that Table of Contents.  I was reluctant to do it initially (the first version of the book doesn't have one), but I kept reading all of these suggestions made by writers stressing the importance of a TOC for a Kindle book (even if it is fiction).  I understand why: Kindle books do not have page numbers, so it's one more way to make the book easy to navigate when you provide a TOC.  I have more to share about this, but let me finish my list of revisions.

The dialect got a bit of a brushing up as well.  I had a good 'ol time using the Search and Replace feature on Word to change the following: yo to yo' and yo self to yo'self.  Word thought it'd help me out even more by putting an apostrophe after every "yo" in the book including words that contained "yo" such as beyond and everyone.  Beyo'nd and everyo'ne, anyone?  Oh my God.  Does anyone else hate Word?  I learned today that "geez" is not yet the accepted form and should be "jeez" instead.  My ya'll's were incorrect and should have been, and now are, y'all's.

My chapter headings got a new left-aligned look because of the Table of Contents.  I grit my teeth when I say those words.

Here's the bottom line: formatting blows.  But I would have been finished a lot sooner had I not made the mistake of asking my husband to help me with the Table of Contents.  (Yes, we're back to the TOC.)  Great big sigh.

I love my husband.

But my husband, like every other man on the planet I am convinced, is not so much interested in showing me how to do something as he is in just doing it for me.

"Honey, I'm really frustrated with this and need some help," I say at the point of yanking my hair out.

"Okay hon," and he promptly takes my computer off of my lap.  He loves to take my computer off of my lap.  It makes me want to smack him upside the head with it.

"Well, I thought that you could---"

Tap tap tap tap tap tap.  Enter.  Tap tap tap.

"Um, what are you doing?"

Tap  tippity tap tap.  Space bar.  Click click. 

"I thought maybe you could show me how to---"

Tap tap tip tip.  Enter.  Enter.  (Two enters?)  Tip tap tappity tap.  Space bar.  Enter.  BAM!

"Okay hon.  It's all good to go," he says, and I want to give him a big fat smack on the lips. 

He hands me my computer.  And then I look at my document.  That he already saved.  And I notice something is a little . . . off.  My heartbeat increases to an uncomfortable level.  I look at the document harder.  The spaces, in between the lines.  Hmm, something's not right.  The huge gaps in between paragraphs.  No.  No no no no no, I think.  This isn't happening.

"Aidan, what have you done?" I ask breaking out into a sweat.  I usually only say his name when I'm yelling at him or about to yell at him.  Otherwise it's honey, baby, sweetheart, blah blah blah.

"What do you mean?" he asks.  He doesn't understand.  This infuriates me.

"Look at my document.  It's all messed up!" I cry shoving the computer screen in his face.

"Huh?  It's Times New Roman, 12 pt font just like before," he says, looking at me like I'm a lunatic.  Or like I'm imagining things.  Because, you know, I'm a woman, so I must be crazy.  I must be seeing things.

"The spaces!  The line spacing!  It's not right!  Can't you see it?" I scream.  "The spaces!  My God, the paragraph spacing!"

He blinks.

"Make it go back," I plead handing him the computer.  "Make it go back to the way it was."  The tears start.

"I can't undo it.  I saved it."

Let me pause here and say that those are the most tragic, frightening words a writer could ever hear.  I can't undo it.  I saved it.  I'm having an anxiety attack, and there's nothing I can do about it.

"Aidan," I say as calmly as I can, "I need you to go away from me.  And I need you to not come back for a very long time."

He goes out to work on the lawn mower.  I sit on the couch and cry.  And cry.  And lament how awful my life is and how I can't get any writing done because I have to groom my dog and fold clothes and reformat my book.  And then I decide that crying won't fix the matter.  So I groom my dog and then get down to business.  I realize there's nothing for it than to simply go through page by page and reformat every incorrect line and paragraph space and auto indent. 

Now, if you've ever formatted a Kindle book with Word, you know how frustrating it is.  Laborious doesn't go far enough.  Exhausting.  Mind-numbing.  Tedious.  These are all great adjectives but they do a lousy job explaining how the process feels for a writer.  To say it banally, it feels like shit.  Kindle is finicky.  You can't hit "enter."  Oh no no no.  You have to insert a paragraph space.  You can't enter down to the next page.  You have to insert a page break.  You can't auto indent or your paragraphs will begin in the middle of your page.  No no, you have to turn it off.  And my husband could never figure that out, so my sorry ass had to go through the document (the first time) and manually undo all of the auto indentations.

Another great big sigh and . . . I do love my husband.  He wants to help me.  I know it's coming from a good place.  But it ends up costing me precious time.  Now don't get me wrong; I love Hoodie.  I just didn't want to have to love it all over again like before when I spent countless hours formatting and getting everything just so.  The work is excruciating (multiplied by a trillion when you're a manic perfectionist), and I had these great plans for working on my current novel today.  But such is life, right?  No Honeysuckle Love.  Just tap tap tap tap click click enter (whoops, no enter) click tip tap boom until it was right again.



 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Taste of the Honeysuckle

Here's a snippet of what I've been working on from my new novel, Honeysuckle Love.  Hopefully this will give you a better idea of the feel of this book.  Enjoy!


           Clara shoved the card in her pocket and walked her tray to a corner table.  Her usual spot, hidden on the outskirts of the room where she would go unnoticed, exactly the way she wanted it.  The only problem was that today Evan had a perfect view of her.  He sat at a table diagonally from hers, surrounded by his friends who talked and laughed and enjoyed the precious time outside of the classroom.  He conversed with them all the while keeping his eyes on Clara.  She grew increasingly angry wondering how she was supposed to eat with him watching her.

            She pulled a novel out of her book bag and started reading.  She knew to give herself a few pages and then she would be absorbed in the story, forgetting all about Evan’s stares and her attempts to look pretty while she ate.  She read about the heroine, a fierce creature who stomped on anyone who got in her way.  She was haughty and beautiful and the men loved her.  They worshipped her.  To be that vain and beautiful, Clara thought jealously.  To command everyone’s attention like that.  To be loved by everyone.  She wondered what the heroine must have felt to know she wielded so much power.

            “Hi Clara,” she heard him say.

            She looked up from her novel and forced down the tater tot she was in the middle of chewing.  It made her throat ache on the way down.  She looked over at the table Evan had just left noticing a few of the students looking in her direction.  They were clearly confused as was she.

            “Hi,” she replied tentatively.

            He sat down across from her.  “What are you reading?”

            She couldn’t understand what was happening.  Why was he talking to her?  Why did he come over to her table knowing it would cause a mild scene?  His friends were still staring, gawking now that he settled himself across from her to have a conversation.

            “I don’t know,” she replied.

            Evan smiled.  “You don’t know what you’re reading?”

            “A book.”

            “I figured.”

            “I think I have to go now,” she said shoving the paperback novel in her book bag.

            “Lunch isn’t over yet,” Evan pointed out.

            “I guess not,” Clara replied.  She looked down at her partially-eaten food.  She was still hungry, but there was no way she was eating in front of him this closely.  Absolutely no way.

            Evan reached over and plucked a tater tot from her tray.  “You mind?” he asked as he popped it in his mouth.

            Clara shook her head.

            “I noticed you read a lot,” Evan observed. 

            It was true.  Clara did read a lot.  Reading was her favorite, a form of escape.  With reading she could be anyone, anything, and for the time she was absorbed in her stories, her social anxiety disappeared.  She was brave and adventurous and clever.  Like Beatrice.

            “Does Beatrice read like you do?” Evan asked.

            “Yes,” Clara replied.  “Maybe not as much.  But yes.”

            “I figured she did.  She sounds very smart.  And you can’t be smart unless you read,” Evan said thoughtfully.

            Clara nodded.  She didn’t know what else to do.

            “I should read more fiction,” Evan went on.  “I read a lot of manuals and textbooky stuff.  It’s kind of nerdy.  I guess I’m a bit of a nerd.” 

            He paused for a minute and smiled at her showing his perfectly straight white teeth.  She instinctively ran her tongue over her own feeling the slight crookedness of her left incisor, folded ever so slightly over her front tooth.  She remembered a dentist once referring to it as a “kicked lateral.”  She didn’t like the way that sounded, as though somebody kicked her in the teeth and then laughed about it. 

            “I should read more fiction,” he continued.  “And I work at a bookstore,” he added.

            Clara stared at him.  He popped another one of her tater tots in his mouth and chewed thoughtfully.

            “Maybe you could recommend some books to me?” he suggested after a moment.  “Do you mind?” he asked picking up her milk.

            Clara was beside herself.  She thought she shook her head.

            Evan took a long sip then placed it back on her tray.  She watched him lick his lips.

            “Don’t worry.  I don’t backwash.”  He grinned at her and stood up.

            “Clara, I’d like very much for you to recommend some books for me to read,” he said looking at the cafeteria clock hanging above them.  “Fiction,” he clarified.  “Will you do that for me?”  He looked down at her, his cat eyes cutting into hers.  She was sure that he was being serious and teasing her at the same time.  In that moment something floated down her chest to rest in her belly.  Something shimmery and warm that made her excited.  And terrified.

            She nodded.

            “Okay then,” Evan said.  “I’ll be seeing you, Clara,” and he walked back to his table.

            Clara was conscious of two things: first, the intense longing she felt to put her lips on her milk carton where his had just been, and second, the low voices passing by her that said, “He drank her milk!”  The bell rang and she didn’t move.  She knew she couldn’t.  Her body shook so violently that she was afraid to pick up her tray and walk it over to the trash.  She knew she would drop it on accident.

            When the cafeteria cleared, Clara thought it was safe to get up.  She walked her tray over to the receptacle, positioning it over the bin’s opening, and watched regrettably as the milk carton slid out of sight.

© S. Walden, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Central Location

I can't keep a thing straight.  Alfred, my design guy, told me I needed a blog.  "Yeah, yeah.  I'll get around to it."  Why a blog?  Well, now I understand.  I've got this Twitter thing happening over here (well, I haven't "tweeted" in awhile and don't really know what to do with the thing).  I've got the Hoodie Facebook page over there.  Oh yeah, and a goodreads author account with a separate blog next to it.  I synced them, but let's be honest.  Did I really do it right?  Most likely, no.  Not to mention my author page on Amazon.  Ahhhh!

So why did Alfred suggest a blog?  Because I suppose he knew this would happen.  Complete and utter disorganization.  I don't have time to update all these pages and tweet crap.  I'm trying to write a second novel here.  And I don't have a website yet, so I needed to create a central location, if you will.  A place I could direct everyone to go that would link them to everything.  So there you have it.  The running tabs at the top?  You can figure those out, but I do want to point out the following tabs that are direct links:

Hoodie Amazon Kindle - where you can purchase Hoodie
Hoodie Facebook - where you can get updates about promotions, contests, etc.
Hoodie Book Trailer - where you can watch the book trailer on youtube
goodreads Author Page - where you can recommend my book or not recommend my book
Twitter Account - where you can follow my tweets when I actually tweet

So look around.  See if you like anything.  I'll be posting more on my current novel under that tab.  Didn't plan for my second novel to start with an "H."  And I know there are honey references in Hoodie.  Absolutely nothing to do with my current novel.  I apparently just really like honey.