RETURN TO WEBSITE: Click Image. (Artwork: Igor Glushkin)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Have a Verra Merra Holiday

What do you think of my "Half-Elven Home Page" picture?  It arrived in my email this morning, just like a present. ---  There's one more picture to go up, for sure, for this blog, but it may be awhile before it happens.  We'll see.

That's the good news.  The normal mire:  I'm still working on the website ... trying to come up with a way to add new content on a regular basis.  The best idea I've had so far is "Renna's Gossip" about the main characters -- Mariah, Ashton, and Linden.  New content would be easy if I was selling stuff regularly ... but at this point, I'm not.

Next step:  I have to start promoting the site ...  which means adding meta-tags without stuffing keywords in every sentence.

Unless there's some tremendous news ... like maybe Samhain accepting Dark Solstice ...  I won't be blogging until the New Year.  

So, enjoy the holidays ... 
and take the time to watch snowflakes fall, 
walk in fresh snow, or
or day dream to flames dancing on the hearth ... 
or whatever calms the frantic chaos of the season for you.

How about a couple snoozes listening to carols?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pride Goes Before the Fall

Last week, I worked hard on the Half-Elven site.  My critique session with a professional computer guru gave me all sorts of insights on how to do the keywords.  I had them in the text, but not in the proper search slot.

The new picture of Mariah and Renna came in.  I learned how to cut out thumb-nail pictures and applied them on the website pages.

Oh, I was feeling soooooo good and pleased with myself.  I'd even corrected all the typos I could notice.

Then, I decided to reformat Renna's page so I could have two columns of links to the various "gossip sessions"  since I've given up on full-blown short stories as a way to add new content to the website.

The screaming and gnashing of teeth you heard last Saturday night was me.  I deleted all the the changes I worked so hard on all last week.  I even managed to delete the website page leading into Renna's Half-Elven Tales so I can't find it to restore.  *^#_@%*!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Far Isle Half-Elven Progress

It's probably cold comfort, but I'm getting happier with the Half-Elven website.  Just cleaned up a bunch of typos and made some clarifications in the text.  

Also, put the Renna page back up so people can link to different stories.  I'll keep the stories on the blog because I can get many of them up without using site pages.  --  Even coordinated the blogs ... and like the look better. 

[Having the blogs on Blogger is just another example of my cheapness in paying for hosting 10 pages instead of 100.  Maybe GoDaddy should have an intermediate pricing option ... like for 25 pages?  Whatever, I'm grateful for them having an easy-to-use platform for computer idiots like me with live help to get me over the bumps.  So, I spend enormous amounts of time on the Half-Elven website.  I'm learning.  As always, life is a trade-off between time and money.]

Guess I should be spending all this time building "my name url", since most author sites go that way.  But, I write adult and middle grade fantasy.  I don't think the two would mix too well ... like my half-elves are into sex though I don't go into much detail.  I think.

Just a couple more illustrations to go ... and I can submit the website to 1st Turning Point to get shot down.  Like I know I should get a media kit up on the site.  I'm thinking of putting it up on a separate page from my author bio ... but it seems a little presumptuous to put one up before anything is published ... or at least, within a couple months of being published.

If anyone has any suggestions about how to juggle the two age levels, I'm "all ears" ... or is that eyes?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Never Ending Website Building

The pictures are coming along.  Just approved another one for coloring ... for the History of the Far Isle Half-Elven page.  This is the good news.

The bad news?  I can't get the home page to come up as the home page.  Will be calling GoDaddy customer service come tomorrow ... today.

The middling news.  I'm in the process of deciding whether I should mention my new sale on the website home page when I get the thing working properly.  Only problem is that the short story I just sold to Spectra Magazine ** isn't set in the Half-Elven world.  This promotion thing just keeps getting more and more complicated.  I'll probably keep any more comments on the writer's blog.

Why can't modern writers hide in a garret?  [Not that I'd like to starve.]

** I give the link to this e-pub because they include info about the science fiction/fantasy world.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Surprise. Surprise.

Got surprised the other day when doing the "name search" bit.  WolfSinger Publications has Taking Vengeance, my novelette about Mariah and Ashton discovering the threat posed by Trestemontan magic, listed on their site in the middle of their 2011 list.  Guess that means it'll be published somewhere around June to August -- right when I'll be doing the traveling thing.  Guess you can't have everything.

Worse, it means I have to get serious about this platform thing ... but am disinclined.  Maybe I'll feel different when I finally get my illustrations up on the website.

Progress on the pictures!  Take a look at the home page illustration of Mariah with Ashton and Linden.  I think I drove the poor artist crazy with revisions, but I really like the result.  Now I have to find or write the copy to go with it while the artist puts in the color.  At the moment, can't remember where I saved my previous draft copy -- if I did.

Linden, Mariah and Ashton -- the Triad who launched a Rebellion against persecution but became estranged after they won freedom for the Half-Elven.  [by Igor Glushkin].

Monday, November 8, 2010


Am in the middle of snagging yet another artist to illustrate my website.  At least this one has graduated from college and has sent me a contract with a deadline.  --  Do I relax yet?

While I was supposed to be getting an ending on a free short story for the next Renna's Tale, I've been putting the pieces together to submit Dark Solstice to an e-publisher.  Sample.  Cover info.  The dreaded Synopsis.  All done including a fine-tuning of my query letter that a thousand-and-one agents have rejected.  --  What's that definition of insanity?  Repeating the same thing and expecting a different result?

I think I'm better off finishing my short story about levying tithes and political control.  I have to submit it to a critique group Friday.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Writing Decisions

Decisions.  Decisions.  I seem to be doing nothing but make decisions about my writing because everything keeps changing.  The publishing world hasn't changed as much as what's going on it my head.  The more I think I know what I'm doing, the less I seem to know.

The biggest change:  I'm no longer writing to amuse myself.  When first writing about the Half-Elven of the Far Isles, I had this scene of a discontented woman standing on a cliff edge over the ocean in a gale with her long reddish hair blowing away from her head appear in my head.  Imagine my surprise when Mariah turned out to be a Half-Elven (though actually she's a true elf, but that's another story), and her daughter had just been almost killed by sea raiders.  The words flowed as I wrote about events before and after that initial scene until I had over 400,000 words.  [Chopped it into three novels plus bits and pieces.]

That opening scene and the subsequent events became the novelette that WolfSinger Publications bought for release in 2011 -- Taking Vengeance.

Now I'm fighting to write short stories ... not my strong point ... for Renna's Tales.  After struggling for a week I finally got the words flowing.  The problem.  I kept writing summaries about the action and where it fit into the long history of my Half-Elven ... rather than showing the adventure at hand.  --  This is complicated because the events Renna gossips about are forming into a novel of its own about the struggle for power after the Treaty with the Suthrons created the Marches.

I think I'm on the "write" track for the current short story now.  So, a decision ... do I continue to play with the Half-Elven ... or do I go back to the middle grade stuff I've written which has just as slim a chance of being published?

Being rather dense, I think I'll try to do both.

Another change:  I entered my website url for "free" search engine exposure.  So, I've adjusted the counter on my site.  Maybe I should have just left it with 400 viewings, but I wanted to see if the free sites made any difference in the visitors.  I'll keep you posted.  

One thing I've notice is that my traffic from foreign countries for this blog has increased the last couple weeks.  But, it's not the result of the search engines.  Their confirmations warned me that it'd be weeks before the freebies got crawled.  If I wanted things done faster, I could pay for their accelerated service.  --  I'm sticking to my orginal plan of getting some original artwork up on the site and then use the GoDaddy submission service.  [Incidently, the artwork's progressing.]

Monday, October 25, 2010

Artwork!!! Ain't it Grand.

Artwork:  Hannah Nitecki
The above is the link-artwork I put up on my website ... after over two hours of struggling with the GoDaddy templates.  No wonder website builders charge so much.  You never know when your content will jump away from you to where you don't want it. -- Do you think web designers have more control over the mouses than I do?

The full picture is up on Renna's Tales.  The depiction is the scene where Gorsfeld meets Mariah the first time while she's working in the apple orchard.

Can't believe I've been working on this since August.  Guess patience is a virtue.

Some progress made on the next Renna/Mariah story.  Have the beginning ... and the ending ... and some vague ideas about what's going to happen in the middle.  I'm trying to outline by motivation.  Purpose of story:  to explain why even the Half-Elven are suspicious of elves.  This may be one I put up for e-sale.  

[Frankly, I don't know what I'm doing.] 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sometimes Delay is Good

I think.  At least so far.  I've been reading a lot about e-publishing lately ... not necessarily self-publishing.  The end result:  I'm thinking about changing how a develop my website.  

Basic change?  Removing the "free" story.  If I can get some "cover" art, I'm going to e-publish them for $0.59, if possible ... with maybe a revolving freebie deal.  I don't know what I'll be doing.  The ideas still swirl in my head.  Whatever, the stories will be on the first page of my site.  Only I must figure out the linkage stuff.

Traffic still shows up at the Tales of the Far Isle Half-Elven site.  Increased almost a hundred since last week [if I round up] from wherever they're finding it.  People even follow the links to my blogs.  So, if you're a new viewer.  Welcome.

Yeah.  Someday I might have pictures of the characters up on the site.  First installment promised by Wednesday.  If it doesn't show, I'm off to find another artist.  I may be easy, but I'm not a patsy.

PS:  I hope you find this color combination easier on the eyes.  I've been dinking with the advance design for over a month.  Think I got the button close to the right spot this time.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Over 300 Viewers and Counting

and they weren't all me.  Believe it or not I only look at the counter on my Half-Elven website a couple times a week.  I wonder what'll happen when I publicize the thing.  I'm sure some gamers have gone away uninterested when they visited. 

Have been looking at Wordpress a bit.  Several people have said they are great for websites.  Guess I'm too simple-minded to use them.   Got so confused, my eyes crossed.  I think I'll stay in the idiot's corner.

Believe it or not I have a date for when I'll get my first artwork ... and the artist is interested in doing more illustrations.  Hopefully, once she gets an idea of what the characters look like, things will go faster.  Maybe I'll have everything up by November.  Then, what do I have to do?  I'm afraid it'll be marketing ... which I hate.

Oh, on the Renna's Tales front.  Revisions don't bore me ... but give me creating any time ... ideas bouncing around like bucky balls is much more interesting than the discipline of editing, etc.  Latest idea.  Renna wants to be a serialized novel of the years just after the Rebellion.  

Think of Renna and Maren arm wrestling.  My mind seems to be doubly active when I'm dozing in my chair with Wiggles sprawled on my lap.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Feeling Good -- Without Pictures

May not have the original artwork yet, but I do have the second Renna's Tale up --  Stubborn Is As Half-Elven Does.  May not seem like much, a 3300 word story.  But I can't write short things ... with any ease.  I always have a huge info dump at the beginning before the action starts ... and often end up with lots of exposition telling how the story fits into the world at hand.

We won't even mention the typos.  Was rather embarrassed to find a couple on my website and don't even want to know how many are in the Renna Tales.  Yeah, I corrected the ones on the website.

Now, I have to decide what if anything I'm going to do about The Foiling of Gorsfeld.  Guess I could try putting it up on Smashwords or Createspace ... but that would work best if I had some artwork I could fit into a cover.  At least, I think I should be doing something else with the story to build a readership for the Half-Elven world.  Back to the old notebook where I've been keeping notes on how to create a platform, etc.

Why do I think the world runs in circles?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Heaving a Sigh of Relief

Yeah.  The artist I've been emailing reminders too ... emailed me back.  She's still interested in my project and promised to have something to me by next week-end.  

Seems she's in college and taking 19 hours.  For some reason, she thinks that supposed to keep her busy?  I'm amazed she's even considering my project ... which is now up to three pictures for my Half-Elven website.

Reminded me of my first couple semesters in college when I was still hanging around the literary magazine crowd.  [I was working full time and carrying 18 hours so I could get out of the place as soon as possible.]  ... Yeah, I was writing at the time though not publishing.

What was this fantasy writer writing?  I'm almost ashamed to say I was imitating what the literati were writing.  Only vaguely remember one piece.  An old man dying, remembering his long-lost unrequited love, breathing in time to the neon sign across the street from his basement apartment.  Why do I remember that?  ...  Well, shortly after, I decided the whole group was inane and gave them up for partying in San Francisco.

Life offers more than one reason to sigh with relief.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wrestling the Short Story

Still ... trying to cobble together a short story for Renna's Tales.  The piece is progressing, but not as fast as I had expected.  [The story of everyone's life, I'd guess.]  My hopes of knocking out a short story [around 3,000 words] a month have withered for lack of skill.  One problem:  making a magically powerful Half-Elven vulnerable.

While I'm not particularly happy about the delay, I think the effort is worthwhile ... if only as a training exercise.  I'm into "keep it short, stupid" mode.  The "it" being my writing.  Hopefully, I'll get new content on the website next month.  

The going-for-a-story-every-other-month idea made me feel less a dunce ... then, I discovered the anthology Must Love Hellhounds was out in mass paperback.  Sat back with great expectations of a Charlaine Harris and Ilona Andrews story ... plus a couple other entertainments ... and got whopped up the side of the head.  Charlaine, I hardly knew you.  Her story, while interesting, dragged.  It took nine pages to offer the first of her dry [in character] commentary statements.

Must thank the editor for introducing me to a new writer though:  Meljean Brook.  Loved the way she made the stock tough former CIA operative character stand out as an individual.

Pictures?   You wonder.  I'm working on it, but I really feel uncomfortable being a "nag".

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Still, Agonizing Over Pictures

First, a Warning ...
I picked up a virus on Sunday night.  As soon as the little shield on my bottom tool-bar popped up, I shut the computer off -- so I don't think I infected anyone.  But, if you visit a lot of the stuff I do, you probably already know you've been infected.  Whatever, it took two days to get the computer guru to remove the stuff.

Seems to be a lot of the stuff going around from the stories the guru told.  So, if you haven't updated your security lately ... you should look into it.

Finally, managed to get my picture transferred to the author bio section of the website.  As much as I'd like the increase in numbers, it's not worth going to to see.  I put up the same picture I have on my blog.  [Not the cat though he's prettier.]  

When I enlarged my new "professional", I was sneering.  Or, at least my lip was curled.  Do you think that's the way I smile?

My first artist backed out of the commission for my home page ... so I'm looking for another picture for the home page of my website.  For now, I'm not going to worry about it.  The page can just sit as it is.

Story Progress ...
Experienced a little deja vu while my computer was off.  I wrote by pencil ... so I could erase often and much.  Discovered I write about twice as fast on the computer in spite of all the backtracking and copy/pasting.  Won't repeat the experiment soon.  My thumbs would whine if I spent one more hour with pencil in hand.

The next Half-Elven short story progresses ...  featuring Mariah after the Rebellion was won.  Again, Renna has her nose in the action.  Now, I get to worry about whether the story has a plot or not.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Here a Picture, There a Picture

Ugh ... pictures.  Spent hours to get the GoDaddy scenery pictures up, thanks to the helpful people in customer service.  They represent the landscape of the Marches my Half-Elven play in ... but am still waiting for the original artist to get back to me.  I need to get some specific pictures up that show my characters.

Think I'm getting an object lesson about working with "family".  Still, I like his style ... and hope to get something soon.  If not, I'll proceed without him ... and let him keep the down payment.

Found another possible artist at AW Water Cooler.  We've exchanged emails, and she's interested.  Surprising thing, she works in markers.  I'm thinking markers fade, but if I get the pictures scanned ...  We're working for a picture for The Foiling of Gorsfeld.  

Am thinking I may have to change my planned schedule for posting stories.  I keep coming up with backstory and infodumps instead of story.  I've never really been able to do short stories, and I seem to be reverting to form.

Somewhere, I saw a comment to the effect:  What happens when your characters stop talking to you.  In this case, Renna's talking too much and to little purpose.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Waiting ....

So I got my part of the website up ... without the artist art.  I think I just learned why you don't hire "family" to do work projects for you.  You can't growl when you think they're late.  Giving him another week to come up with some ideas ... aka proofs.  I may have to impose a deadline.

On a positive note, I did get some notes on the next Renna's Tale jotted down.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Foiling of Gorsfeld

Did it.  The first installment of Renna's Tales about Mariah, Ashton and Linden is up and readable ... I hope.

Link's on the side.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Trudging Along ...

Slow progress.  Maybe work is moving so slow on the site, you can't see it.  Today, I'm calling GoDaddy customer service.  Maybe you might soon see a picture ... but not the ones coming from the artist.

Spent most of the last week working on a short story.  The core ideas had been done months ago from another point of view.  Decided gossip about the characters would come better from a secondary character (Renna)  rather than one of the main actors (Mariah).

Had a major panic moment.  I knew I had saved the story, but couldn't find it when I went looking for it.  Fortunately, NYC daughter had saved it where she could retrieve it.  Her reward?  She got the revise version to critique.  Others are critiquing it too ... but I still may fall on my face into a pool of criticism because I don't follow the normal short story formula.

One other point.  The AW Water Cooler denizens have pointed out -- there's no artwork on the site.  Hopefully, the artist I'm working with will come up with some ideas soon.  I'm faced with the dilemna:  "to nag or not to nag".

A mile stone.  Someone returned to look at the site.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Continuing Website Saga

Still no pictures of my Half-Elven yet.  Hey, don't think I can nag my artist.  Oh, I could, but he might get mad.

Am still dinking with the website, changing this and that.  Did mention it's existence at the AW Water Cooler and got lots of insights on what writers expect from a website.  Saddest comment.  Some thought publishers provided websites for their published writers, and I should wait for my publisher to provide.  

My reading says different.  Comments from several mid-list authors whose publishers left them to hang in the ether.  For me?  I'm setting up to promote an e-published novelette by a micro-publisher [WolfSinger Publications].  I think I'd wait a looooong time for a publisher website to appear on the web, though I hope to get some suggestions once next year's publishing schedule is set.

The consensus of AW comment pointed to one big problem with my site -- lack of content.  So, I went digging through my files Sunday afternoon looking for the story I thought to rewrite and place as the first installment of "Renna's Tales".  I couldn't find it.  Worse, I can't remember the trick Mariah played on her unwanted suitor ... though I think it had something to do with pigs.

Then, my NYC daughter came to the rescue.  She found a copy of the story in her email files.  Now I have to rewrite to fit the new format.  Mariah will no longer be gossiping about Half-Elven characters, but Renna.  It's not entirely far fetched.  Renna is a mentioned character in Taking Vengeance.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Doing the Media Thing

At this point in time, it's all abut building a platform for the Half-Elven of the Far Isles.  A big distinction since there are active forums on Tolkien's elves and their human alliances. Marriages?  Gaming forums also have half-elvish characters.  Bet none of them have a grandmother as a main character.  [No I am not a grandmother.]

So the progress report:  Waiting.  Waiting to get the copyediting done on the short story for Smashwords.  Waiting for the artwork.  Then, maybe I can do some polishing on the site.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Website in Process

Done Done It!
The Half-Elven of the Far Isles website is under construction -- and the home page's on line.  Now I have to get my guru to help me get all the buttons in place.  Learning how to edit text would help too.  Spent over 3/4 an hour trying to add "under construction" to the site.  It didn't take even though I hit all the "save" buttons I saw.

One of the first things that'll go up is a short story:  Caverns Between Worlds.  It doesn't involve the main characters, but answers a question Linden can't figure out -- "Why the blazes did Hattenel ring-mate Voron?"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Website Building

As if I don't have enough headaches.  I'm up to my ears in  learning how to build a website.  Fortunately, I have someone to hold my hand.

Other big project.  Getting a query set up for Dark Solstice, the story of Mariah and Linden's reconcilliation.   If I'm doing a Half-Elven website, the logical thing to do is to market one of the main books.  Watch out agents.  I'm stumbling forward.