Thursday
Mar262015

Walking Desk

We interrupt this book launch craziness to mark a kind of cool anniversary, of sorts. Treadmill desk. Messy bookshelves optional.

In 2010 I pretty thoroughly tore the miniscus in my left knee [which, up until then, had been my GOOD knee]. Unable to run at all and waiting for surgery, I bought a treadmill and a plastic surf-shelf and started walking for an hour here and there while I worked. The goal wasn't for exercise [I'd get back to running after the surgery scars healed up], but more or less to prevent as much 'writer's butt' as I could.

Well, I started walking on March 18th, 2010. I've kept a record of the mileage since then. I try to remember to add my runs in, and dog walks, too, but regular daily walking-around doesn't get figured in. I keep an Excel file of the distance and time and date, and any other stuff that I can fit in a few characters. I generally add up my totals on New Year's Eve, just to see how the year went.

My initial goal was to walk [virtually] across Canada, and I've done that. Five years on from the knee surgery, I've hit 8802 km walking.

I guess my point here is that the walk-working has become part of my life. I know standing desks are in these days, but I wouldn't trade mine in. I find standing for long periods makes my legs hurt [a throw-back to all those years working at The Bay while in university, maybe?]

I've found I can't really walk while in full writing mode, because I go to a place in my head that makes it not really safe to allow the body to perambulate unsupervised. But a lot of my work is answering email, catching up on reading, scanning stuff. At the moment, I'm doing the final read-through of the FINDING FRASER manuscript, and as I do this aloud, it's a good thing to do while walking. I'm typing this blog post while I walk, as a matter of fact.

Okay, I just got off to take this picture for you. Can you see the computer on the plastic surf-shelf?

So, to sum up -- I don't walk fast, and I don't walk very long [rarely more than an hour a day], but the miles add up. I feel better for it, and if it's an option for you -- I HIGHLY recommend a walking desk!

What do YOU do to avoid writer's butt? Share!

 

More soon...

 

~kc

Tuesday
Mar242015

Indie Tuesday - Writer Denise Jaden

Hiya!

Okay, first a quick update. This is likely going to be the last Indie Tuesday writer interview for a while. Lots more writer friends and colleagues to talk to, but FINDING FRASER is getting down to the wire, and there are going to be some BIG changes around here as a result. The entire site is getting an overhaul [no more white-on-black print -- Hooray!] and lots of exciting new book events are about to begin.

More details soon, I promise!

In the meantime, let's enjoy a chat with writer Denise Jaden, shall we? She's been published traditionally and has tried the self-pub model, and she's got lots to share. And stay tuned to the end for a special choice in our prize this week!

kc: So, Denise -- welcome! Let's begin by asking the eternal question: when it comes to writing your books do you outline or are you a pantser?

DJ:  I’ve tried everything from zero planning to a 38,000-word outline (yes, you read that correctly) when it comes to prepping to write a book. Every book continues to need its own strategy it seems, but I have come up with a Story Plan, or loose and changeable outline form, that generally is a good place to start, and I tend to write my first drafts quickly. Anyone interested in hearing more about this can check out my article on the Writer’s Digest blog.

kc:  Can you talk a bit about the way you foster community with other writers...what's your March Madness Challenge, for example?

 

DJ:  March Madness Writing Challenge is something I look forward to every year. It started with a feeling that I didn’t want to wait until November to set a lofty writing goal for myself, but I also wasn’t sure about my ability to complete my goals alone. I’ve been blown away by the camaraderie and support that March Madness has provided! We check in every day through the month of March on different writers’ blogs, and offer some fantastic prizes just for staying accountable throughout the month. Everyone is welcome, and if you don’t make it by during March, we also check in with each other throughout the year on Twitter under the hashtag #WIPMadness.

kc: Very cool! Can you tell me, do you have a favourite genre to read -- or write -- in? What draws you in that direction?

 

DJ:  I’m a YA contemporary gal at heart. I read a wide variety of genres, but I usually get most swept up in a realistic world I can picture myself in. Those are the worlds I usually get most of my own story ideas for as well.

kc:  You've done both Indie publishing and the traditional route. What helps you decide which direction to take?

 

DJ: With the book I Indie published (WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART), I presented it to my agent and we chatted about which direction to take it. It was my first attempt at nonfiction, and while ultimately, my agent loved it, she felt like it could be part of a bigger book about writing on emotion to be marketable to traditional publishers. That wasn’t really part of my vision, so we didn’t pitch it to any publishers, and I kept it as a short book, taking a crash course in Indie Publishing.

kc: Huh. A good choice! So, tell us what your favourite part of the publishing process is.

 

DJ:  I love writing a first draft. I know many writers hate this part, but I love all of the surprises that come up along the way. Honestly, I don’t mind revising either. I love reading my books back after I’ve put them away for a good long while, and of course I love seeing my books in bookstores and libraries. I love so much of the process, it’s hard to pick just one!

kc:  What about a preferred format for your books? E-book vs paperback?

 

DJ:  I’m a paperback girl. I like to see how much of the book is left in my right hand, to give me a constant sense of where I am in the story.

kc: You're not alone there -- most of the writers I speak to agree with you! Do you have a favourite review one of your stories has received?

 

DJ:  One review favorably compared my writing to Laurie Halse Anderson’s. Made me feel like I’d died and gone to heaven!

kc: Wow -- that's fantastic! Can you name a favourite Indy author and recommend a book?

 

DJ:  I love all of Elena Aitkin’s books, and she has been a great help to me in navigating the Indie World. I would heartily recommend any of her books!

kc: Elena's lovely -- a Calgary writer! So to finish, I am hoping you will offer a piece of advice either to Indie writers or Indie readers, based on something you have learned from the process.

DJ:  I’m so new at this side of the business, I feel a little silly giving advice. But I guess one tidbit I could throw out would be to join some Indie author groups. There are several of them on Facebook, or if you chat with other writers on Twitter, Facebook, or in person, you’re sure to hear about some collaborative groups. What works in selling Indie books changes so quickly, and think writers have a much better chance of success when they are helping each other.

kc: Ha! Collaboration is the key. [Hey, have you been hanging out at SiWC or something?]

A huge thank you goes out to Denise Jaden who agreed to do this interview SMACK in the middle of her March Madness challenge [there's still time -- go check it out!] And as a special treat, one lucky reader will get to choose their prize e-book from either her Indie non-fiction book WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART or her latest fiction FOREIGN EXCHANGE.

And since this is the last contest for a little while, let's open it up. If I find a link to this post ANYwhere on the web -- Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, Pinterest -- anywhere! -- you'll be eligible to win one of Denise's books.

Info about winners always goes up first on twitter, and you can find me sweetly tweeting there @kcdyer.

If you don't want to wait, you can find FOREIGN EXCHANGE here and here, WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART here and here, and Denise herself at her website right HERE.

Thank you again to Denise, and as always,

 

More soon...!

 

 

Friday
Mar202015

Film-maker Friday

Wanted to give a quick shout-out to my friend Martin Chung of Studio Impossible, who you might remember as the photographer behind the book cover for FINDING FRASER. Martin is also a film-maker, and he and his friends are taking part in a really cool contest with CineCoup.

The story is called HYDE AND SEEK, and is a SciFi twist on the Jekyll and Hyde tale.

Here's a message from Martin:

As you may know, I'm entered in the Cinecoup movie contest with a great local production cast and crew. The prize is $1M in funding to complete the movie, called Hyde+Seek, and and make its way to a theatre near you!

 

We would love your support to help take us through several voting rounds as we progress to the final stages for consideration. There will be many future challenges and hoops that the team have to jump through to prove we're worthy of the ultimate prize.

 

I think we have a really great science fiction Jekyll and Hyde concept that should be an intelligent and thrilling ride into the near future, where the lines between humanity and technology get blurred. What happens when always-on connectivity and implanted bio-technology get hacked?

 

You can watch our 60-second trailer here:  http://www.cinecoup.com/hyde-and-seek/trailer

How you can support us:

A) Fans... Please sign up as a Fan on Cinecoup if you can. Fan votes and ratings have more impact than non-Fans, but you have to review and comment on OTHER projects to validate your Fan status. Please ask any of your film critic/most supportive friends to take this step in support of us. Unlike Kickstarter or Indiegogo, we aren't asking for money, just support through likes, shares and referrals.

B) Non-Fans... as above mentions, sharing the video page even without the viewers’ ability to rate/review helps.

Thanks so much for the support, and please pass this on to others through email, Facebook, or Twitter. :)

Martin

FB: facebook.com/hydeseekmovie
Twitter:  @hydeseekmovie

Me again.

This is a very cool opportunity for Martin and his friends -- I hope you agree and will offer your own fan support where you can!

 

More soon...

 

~kc

 

 

Tuesday
Mar172015

Indie Tuesday - FINDING FRASER update #3

Crashed and burned on my run this morning, sadly along a particularly gravelly part of the trail. The good news is that I don't _think_ I broke anything, but if you follow me on twitter you might have seen some of the carnage.

I'll spare you that this evening, and instead give you a peek at one of the images from the cover shoot for FINDING FRASER. Nice kilt, eh? You might remember that it is bespoke, and made for me of Fraser of Lovat tartan by renowned local 'stitch' Robert MacDonald of Westcoast Kilts. Rob's an ex-Seaforth Highlander himself, and he knows his way around a kilt. [Want to learn more? His website is HERE].

So. About the book.

I made a list this week of the steps required to bring this baby into the world, and I have to say -- at this point, they are legion. However, progress is being made, so as promised, it's time to share.

The story, as noted in an earlier update, has been written, rewritten, beta-read, rewritten, edited, rewritten, copy-edited and completed accordingly. The cover photo has been shot, 'shopped, and the cover mostly laid-out, including the cover blurb and tag line. The ISBN [International Standard Book Number] has been ordered -- this is an identifier unique to every published work -- but not yet received from the government.

What yet remains?

Well, there are a few interior pages that need to be completed -- copyright pages, title pages etc. Then the whole document needs to be digitized in several formats. It will be available as an e-book, of course, but also in trade paperback. These final steps are being put in the hands of professionals, so that this baby comes out looking as pristene as possible.

There are also a number of surprises in store. BIG surprises. I cannot tell you how excited I am about the way this is unfolding. There will be fun in store, I promise you that!

I am still hoping for a spring book birth. Hope with me, will you? Let's put it out there into the universe!

And as a little thank you -- how 'bout a teaser? Here's just a little bit of the text that will show up on the back cover...

 

 At 29, Emma Sheridan’s life is a disaster and she’s tired of waiting for the perfect boyfriend to step from the pages of her favorite book. Of course, there’s only one place to look, and it means...

What does it mean?

It means there's a wild ride coming...

I can't wait to take you along.

 

More soon...

 

~kc

 

 

Tuesday
Mar172015

We have a WINNER!

Thanks to all who called out on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere about our contest for the wonderful Eileen Cook's new book REMEMBER. And I am delighted to announce we have a winner:

Lisa McManus Lange -- you've won a copy of REMEMBER!

You can contact Eileen at Eileen@EileenCook.com and make arrangements to receive your prize. Congratulations!

Stay tuned for a new 'Indie Tuesdays' post later this evening -- this week, an update on FINDING FRASER!

 

More soon...

 

~kc