Archive for April 2013

Spontaneous Combustion is here!

I finally managed to pry the manuscript out of my fearful perfectionist hands, and hit the “publish” button. My first indie project, Spontaneous Combustion, is now officially a book! I’d set my birthday as a deadline, to force myself to finally let go of after revising and proofing it umpteen times. And I just made the deadline: whew!

BookCoverImageIt’s more of a why-to book on writing than a how-to; a kind of tent revival for writers in the creative doldrums. I hope the book follows its own advice: to see the worth and meaning in what we do as writers without taking ourselves too seriously in the process. So I mock myself, and make some unusual suggestions in the book that I’m fairly sure you won’t find in any other book on writing. [See chapters 7 and 8 for these.]

It should be available for download tonight [April 21st] as a Kindle book, with the print version arriving on Amazon by the end of the week. But if you have trouble finding it, please use the contact form on the website to let me know, or email me directly at strawspinner@gmail.com.

I’ve already had my first request for a Nook version. Because I’m participating in what Amazon calls the Kindle Select program, I can’t sell the e-book anywhere else: not even on my own website. Sorry Nook and iPad users (of which I am one myself). But the exclusivity only lasts 90 days, so I’ll have the option then to move back to the regular Kindle program, which would permit me to sell anywhere, including Barnes and Noble and the iTunes bookstore.

So if you are interested in a Nook or iPad version, please fill out the contact form and let me know. In the meantime, you can always read the Kindle version using one of Amazon’s free Kindle reading apps, or even online in your web browser using Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader. Since I chose not to use DRM protection on the Kindle version, you can also use a piece of freeware called Calibre to convert it to a form that you can then load onto your Nook or iPad. So no one should be left out in the cold.

Twitching with words: new article up today

I finally finished that article on what I call literary tics: that almost spasmodic kind of repetition that we all do in our writing without realizing it. Repetition can take the form of a word we use constantly, a way of crafting sentences that we repeat over and over, a plot element, or even a punctuation mark. Take a look!

And no, I haven’t forgotten about my secret project. I believe I promised that I would have more information in weeks rather than months. Well, despite the best sabotaging efforts of my perfectionist self, I might just get in under that self-imposed deadline. In fact, I hope to be back tomorrow with the big reveal.

Pollen storm 2013!

Just got back from a walk through a veritable blizzard of pollen. That’s what we get instead of snow. And it’s inspired an idea for a new dystopian novel. How about this?

In a world where pollen storms rage for months at a time, only the hardy few who had stockpiled Kleenex and Claritin survive.

There are some compensations, however. Look at this photo that I took on my iPhone of the wisteria in my neighbor’s yard: lovely!

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“Eureka!” moment while reading Oliver Sacks

I took a break yesterday from endlessly proofing and revising the manuscript of my “secret project” and sat outside in the April sunshine to give myself a treat. In one sitting, I devoured Hallucinations, the latest book from neurologist Oliver Sacks, a writer who is one of the literary heroes whom I worship. I fell in love with sign language many years ago after reading his book, Seeing Voices. And I believe it was this book, salted away in the archives of my mind, that triggered the voice I heard one day in my car, telling me that the main character of a book on which I had been blocked for years was deaf. I give credit to Sacks for unlocking my first novel, Cheshire Moon, for me.

Every time I read one of his books, no matter what the topic, I find more inspiration. Yesterday, while reading Hallucinations, I came upon this passage on page 90.

“To live on a day to day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see overall patterns in our lives.”

And it was like discovering the Ba’al Shem Tov quote I keep elsewhere on my website all over again; it was as if Sacks had seen into my heart. Yes! Though my attempts at providing escape, meaning, or transcendence will always fall short, they are still what make the time I spend writing worthwhile.

 

Still plugging away: have a new article for you

I am getting closer and closer to finishing my secret project, which is nearing prime-time readiness. There has been a lot of research and learning I had to do, which was time-consuming, at times frustrating, but ultimately a lot of fun. And I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed writing so much! Now the main hurdle may be overcoming my own perfectionism; I can’t seem to stop revising.

In the meanwhile, I re-discovered a neat little trick about proofreading on your iPad, Kindle, or other e-reading device. Perhaps it will help you as much as it’s helped me.