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Writing with Zette

Obsessed with Words


Two Kits



July 11th, 2011

Closing down the LJ area

Two Kits
Lately, I've found it harder and harder to keep up posting in various places.  I don't have enough to say to keep interesting things going for long in one place, let alone two or three.

So I'm concentrating on my blog site from now on.  You can find Joyously Prolifice here:


I hope to see you there!


June 27th, 2011

End of the month busy

Two Kits

We had surprisingly bad weather last night. I have big branches down in both yards and I'm not really sure what I'm going to do about them. Russ will be home in about four days, though, so I guess they can wait.

Here is part of the storm. It got worse after this: http://youtu.be/kEBSdkGYqko  

I am fighting to get things done. My brain is not quite connecting to the idea of work, of course. This has been happening a lot lately. Unfortunately, I am running out of time. It's not only getting to the last of the month, but (see above) Russ will be here. I don't want a lot of work hanging over me for the three or four days he'll be around.

So, I am getting Vision done, and the updates for Forward Motion. I don't have the material for this week's newsletter yet, which is a problem. I also need to remember to do the DAZ Platinum Club challenge as well. Get some writing done in there, too. Reading has taken a hit again, but I'm getting back to it. I have dropped my 20 pages a day in the Cambridge Ancient History series to 5 pages a day. This isn't because I couldn't read more, but because they are VERY expensive books and I can't afford to buy them very often. I have the third one already, so that's good, but until we get past a bad stretch of financial stuff, I'm not going to be able to get the next one. So I'll slow down and not run out of them. It's a plan!

The flooding here is still keeping a distance. Levees have broken up and down river from us, but we're doing fine despite bad storms. Unfortunately, one of my favorite wildlife refuges, De Soto, is now completely under water because of a broken levee. Another levee broke near the other refuge we like to visit, but I think it's still mostly above water. It's had to say. We hope to go down there when Russ is home, but this is going to be a problem since parts of the main road, Interstate 29, are now well under water.


This is why Russ is not flying into Omaha this trip, even though it's the closest airport. We fear it will be underwater soon, too. They appear to be holding out, but still -- looks too iffy to me.

You notice I am not saying a lot about writing. This isn't because I'm not doing it. I am doing quite well, in fact. Ada Nish Pura, my science fiction novel, is already up for sale:


I am working on a wonderful little Urban Fantasy set in Omaha (should think about doing some pictures for the book trailer, in fact). Summer Storm -- the rewrite is slow but going well. I just need time. Energy. A bit of enthusiasm would be nice. It's not that I don't like the book, but my general life feelings are at an ebb. I'm hoping a few days with Russ will help that problem. Just cheer me up a bit.

And get out of the house for a while, of course. The flooding is annoying me on a really personal level now, of course. I can't get to the places I really like to go.

I suspect I'll survive it.

June 20th, 2011

New book release

Two Kits

The weather here is still iffy. We might get flash floods today which does nothing for my mood, of course. We don’t need more rain, but it's out there coming for us. Ah well. It's not been too bad so far.

Ada Nish Pura, an epic science fiction novel is now available at Smashwords!


Here is the book trailer


I have worked and worked and worked on Ada for years, to be honest. I hope others enjoy the tale.

Other than that, I really don't have a lot to say. I'm working on the next novel, an urban fantasy and it's shorter, so should, theoretically, not take as long. Right?

I've come to believe that it has nothing to do with the length of the work or even how much rewriting it needs. If I want something to be done quickly, it is going to take far longer than it should. That's the rule.

This week is attack Vision week. Lots of work to do there.

So, there -- time to get back to work already!

June 13th, 2011

Cat toys and other things

Two Kits

Monday again already. I'm glad to see the month going quickly and things remaining fairly calm. Stress headaches are taking a toll but I'm getting things done. I actually made some reasonable progress today, so I can't complain. I got some work for FM done, and some stuff for Vision, as well as a bit for DAZ. That's the three big things out of the way, so I'm doing okay.

Next up is going to be some writing. In fact, if all goes well, I'll be doing mostly writing for the next few weeks. Well, that and Vision. And FM stuff. And the DAZ newsletters.

I have, however, pretty much finished the work on Ada Nish Pura. It's sitting for a few days and then I'll look the beast over again. That book pretty much took over my life for a few months and it's time to set the work aside and move on. I have the trailer done for it and the cover work. I just need to make certain the book itself is ready.

And that I'm ready. That may sound odd, but you really do have to be in a specific mindset to be able to release your own work into the world. You have to be prepared for disappointments, of course. People will always have something negative to say, and sometimes they'll even be right. Other times, you have to realize that what a person says is always, no matter what, influenced by their own expectations, likes and dislikes. Expectations are the hardest to deal with. The person comes looking for something they believe will be in your story, and when it isn't, they're often disappointed. For instance, I do not write strong romance stories very often, and that's an aspect I often hear mentioned. Even when there is a romance, it is usually downplayed. Why? Because that's not what I'm interested in. It's that simple. I am writing the stories I want to read.

And in other news . . . I just pulled 27 cat toys out from under the china cabinet. Oh my. I had no idea where they had all gone! Also pounded the back of my hand into the square corner of a desk while doing it and I have a nice bump and growing bruise. Sigh.

I am starting to unfollow people on Twitter for political reasons. Not that I disagree with their politics -- sometimes I don't -- but because I get just straight out tired of politics everywhere I turn. And rudeness, which is rampant on both sides. I read quite a few serious articles. That's what I want, not something snide. And there's another reason: every time a person posts something that is opposite of what I believe and hold true, I get a negative feeling towards the person. That can carry over into other areas, including reading their books. I don't want to have that happen. So I try to 'ignore' it when I can, and if possible, to just avoid it. So unfollow will happen during the next few months.

And I better get back to work on the writing before it gets any later!

June 6th, 2011

Read stuff

Two Kits
Of that list of books last week, I've finished In the Best Families by Rex Stout and The Wealth of Nations  by Adam Smith, which actually was a 120 page set to selections, and part of a book that includes some of the Federalist Papers and the Constitution of the United States. I'll be done with the entire book soon enough.

In the Best Families was great. Excellent work on the characters, as always, and the level of 'oh no, not really!' was right up there for this one. Archie Goodwin dealing with everyone assuming he was lying was a great study in growing frustration, too. I realized that the Nero Wolfe stories are every bit as much period pieces as any Austen novel. The details are excellent, and not overpowering. I loved the first 2/3rds of the story and thought the last 1/3rd wasn't quite as good, even though it was very exciting.
The Wealth of Nations has given me more ideas for world building, of course. Adding those intricate little pieces that can make things more realistic. However, there's always a serious chance of going overboard with this material. So I have to let it sit and think about what would be good to incorporate, and where.

Having read Machiavelli's The Prince recently, I've found it interesting to compare his view of the world to that of Adam Smith. How much the world had changed between the two! The first was published in 1552 and the second in 1776. Everything had changed. Machiavelli's entire focus was the ruling class and nobility and how to keep them in line. Smith's attention is often on big business and how it needs to be curbed and not allowed to dictate government laws.

Granted, he seems to think a lot of workers will just be lazy if given a chance, too, but it's interesting to see how something as far from us as he is from Machiavelli still rings true in many cases.

Fascinating stuff to read, really.

May 31st, 2011

A book in every room

Two Kits


Books everywhere. It's like I fear to be out of reach of something to read if I walk from one end of the house to another. And if I do leave the house, well there's bound to be a print book AND the Nook with me. Russ and I were once at a hotel for three days and realized we had over 20 books with us. Then we went out and bought more.

I thought of this the other night as I rested in the bathtub, my little bathtub desk pulled close as I tried to decide which of the four books within reach I wanted to read. Istanbul? Pagans and Christians? Creative Suite 5 Design Premium for Dummies? The Wealth of Nations? (Creative Suite won)

On my Nook I am reading a large collection of Andre Norton books and Mansfield Park. On my desk you'll find the InDesign CS5 Bible, Photoshop CS5 Bible and In the Best Families by Rex Stout. The Stout keeps pulling me away from work I should be doing. I am working my way through the InDesign book and really enjoying it. 

The bedroom has the Cambridge Ancient History, Book 1 Volume 2 at the moment. And the Nook is often my before sleep reading.

Lately I had been thinking that I'm not reading much, but I realized that I am reading quite a bit. It's just scattered between too many things. So, time to cut down the 'am reading' pile again. The Stout with be first. Mansfield Park should follow -- fiction, in general, being easier to get through than the nonfiction. Istanbul is almost completed. And by the time I get those done, I'll probably have started a few others. I'm like that.

I am preparing to leap in and buy ebooks this month, too. 

Eventually, I will work my way through all the books, of course. If I truly don't like a book, I just removed it from my life and it is no longer within reach anywhere. The few rare exceptions are some reference works that give me a headache to try and sort out. Fiction, though, is another matter. If I don't like a book, I don't finish it. If I don't finish it, I don't write a review. That simple.  My life is busy enough already.

And so, now, back to work so I can get done and read a bit more today!


May 23rd, 2011

Rethinking life

Two Kits

I have been looking at the pictures of Joplin Missouri. I've never seen so much destruction from a tornado. I can't even begin to truly comprehend the way one storm has changed the lives of so many people. Trite as it sounds, it has made me sit back and realize how lucky I have been in life. Even when things are not going well, it is nothing compared to what has happened to others lately. It's time to start appreciating things, rather than look at what's wrong. And it's time to stop getting upset over stupid, trite little things that really mean nothing.

So, yes, time to make an attitude adjustment on my end. And that's all my post for today. Just a little reminder to people that for many of us who are whining and complaining about things . . . well, it could be much worse. I'm going to start appreciating what I have, instead.

April 19th, 2011

Back to the Real World

Two Kits
Russ was home for about eight days. We ran and ran and ran -- down to wildlife refuges, off to see his brother, all around town. He also had several classes to teach, so it was very busy for a few days.

Now it's quiet again. And cold. We had snow last night and we might have more tonight. I have layers of clothing on. Spring? Hello?

We're going to go straight into summer again. I just know it.

He didn't get home for six months, but we don't plan to let it go that long during the better months of the year. Winter is rough -- snow on the east coast where he is or snow here where I am makes flying out and back iffy on a time schedule.

I am back to work on other things again.

I am almost done with the final edit of Waiting for the Last Dance. Then off to the editor and then back to me, and then off to various publishing spots. I am trying to decide what my 'edit' piece will be next. I think I should do an sf novel, but I'm having trouble deciding which one. Badlands? Vita's Vengeance? Xenation: Draw the Line? The first Devlin novel?

I should finish Waiting for the Last Dance first. Right. Focus on those last 3k words and then off to the editor, I think. Or one more read through first. This one, while rather a short novel (about 55k), has been more trouble than some of the others. I'm not certain why.

It just happens that way, sometimes. Books don't quite flow the way they should and they prove to be more trouble to fix than expected. I've had more than one of those (but then, I am prolific and have more than one of most every kind, when it comes down to it).

I could have said 'too much trouble' and put it aside, but the story is good and it deserves the extra work it has taken to fix the problems. And -- most importantly for a writer -- I learned things from fixing these problems. If you decide something is too much trouble, then you aren't going to learn from it. You can think about the fixes and get some feel for it -- but until you actually sit down and work through them, you are shortchanging yourself and the book.

In writing, like any other art, you only learn to do better by doing it -- not talking about writing, reading about writing -- or posting about writing.

So I'm heading off to edit and write!

April 3rd, 2011

Silky Books at Smashwords

Two Kits

I now have all three of the Silky books available on Smashwords for $1.99 each. Yes, this is a blatant attempt to get some funds moving, though I expect it to be a slow build. Still, they're a good set to do. They've had some nice sales elsewhere, and this will allow people to get the final book in whatever format they want.


While I was setting up the formatting for Smashwords, I was reminded of how much I enjoy these books. I got smart when it came to the last book. Originally there were four, but I knew there was a problem with 3 and kept holding it back from production. Then I wrote 4 in hopes that I would see the problem -- and I did. 3 dragged along. So I cut a lot of three, some of 4 and melded them together. The third book is longer by about 20k than the previous two books, but it is far better for having a faster moving story. 

So I did that one right.

Sales have not been bad at Smashwords. I need to push more, of course, but things are crazed and busy and I need to get far too many other things done as well. The various things I have out there and at the Nook and Kindle shops are doing fine, really. But, of course, a person can't slowdown in pushing these stories, and I -- unfortunately -- am going to have to soon for a bit. Ah well, I'll pick it back up again later.

Busy person, but I hope it will eventually pay off!

March 14th, 2011

About books and things

Two Kits

Kat Among the PigeonsFirst, let me remind everyone that Kat Among the Pigeons has been released for $1.99 at Smashwords. 


I've had one lovely review and several nice notes on it, so I think it's doing well -- but more sales and more reviews would be very nice. (Hint, hint, hint)

In other things, though . . . .

Spring is pretty much here, which means a massive change in my attitude this year. I'm actually in a fairly good mood now that the temp is up to 48f (about 9c). This last winter was just not good for me and by the end I was annoyed and depressed. This was the fourth winter here alone -- the fourth holidays alone, the fourth birthday alone, etc. I'm lucky that I had lots of work to do -- but then I always have lots of work to do.

My birthday was about a week ago. I bought myself an expensive book that I have wanted for about 30 years. It's the first volume of the Cambridge Ancient History series, of which there are 19 total, plus several books of plates. I already have two more volumes which arrived today -- and which is WAY over budget for me to spend. But I've had a long, hard winter, and I needed something fun -- and I had a nice little check from one of my publishers that covered half the cost of the second two books. Should I have done it? No. Do I regret having done it?

Absolutely not.

These first three books have histories of their own. The first one belonged to Daniel Carlton Gajdusek, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1976. The next two are from the Chaim Potok estate. Their names are written in the books, and Chaim Potok added the year he bought the book. I will likely not have 'historical' books for the rest of the set, but these three are special for it.

I will take a couple years collecting and reading the entire set. I'm well over 100 pages into the first one already. This is not light reading -- but it is fascinating material. I've set myself a goal of 20 pages a day in each one, which means about a month and some for the first book. I am reading other things besides, of course. That's the great thing about having these books on hand rather than from the library (the way I read them the first time). You can take your time, absorb, re-read and know you can come back to it again.

You know when a book can make glaciation and tectonic plate theory interesting that it's bound to be full of all kinds of remarkable things. Of course, you have to like to read these kinds of things to begin with. I've read a lot of odd things in my life. I have, in fact, read most of this set years and years ago -- but I wanted it for my own, because it is not the kind of thing you can read once and remember. This is a research book -- it and all its other lovely brethren that will fill a shelf somewhere. (Oh yeah, there's a problem. . . .)

I posted over on my blog today about why writers need to be open to learning. (http://zette.blogspot.com/) But I don't think that people really get it very often. They're content to get their science and history from television shows, without thinking about how limited such things are. They are giving you only the surface of the facts because they can't possibly go into the details that a good book could. And the worst of them are giving you only sensationalism -- though that isn't entirely bad for writers, unless you are trying to write historical fiction.

I've read the 'sensational' books (Velikovsky anyone?) as well as books that are no longer held in as high a regard as they were when first printed, like Margaret Mead's work. For a science fiction or fantasy writer, these kinds of books can still be storehouses of plot bunny inducing information. I've also read all of the Durant History of Civilization set, the unabridged Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Grzimek's 13 volume Animal Life Encyclopedia, and 8 volume history of World War I . . . lots and lots of things.

They have made me a better writer. That doesn't mean I'm a great writer, but I can see where I would be a worse writer without them. I know, sometimes, exactly where some ideas came from, and I know when I've gone looking for information for others. I know better than to trust Wikipedia exclusively, just as I wouldn't trust one book for all the answers unless it is something simple, straightforward and I really don't need to worry about the veracity of the information. Remember what I said about sensational above -- sometimes the wrong, and especially obviously wrong -- information can set you on a 'What if' journey far faster than a dry book of facts. So I'm not saying avoid things that might not be the most up to date, reasonable history or science.

Actually, what I'm saying is to read everything. (grin)

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