Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Smell of Hot Grass

On my morning walk, I was hit with the smell of hot grass. Since I am just coming out of allergy season, smelling anything is a delight. But this scent brought a strong memory with it. It wasn't fresh-cut grass, or a lawn after rain. It was specifically a summer smell of sun-heated grass.

I had a flashback of lying on the lawn at the house where I grew up, staring at the sky through the big leaves of a horse chestnut tree. It's a wonderful feeling of freedom and safety. A hot afternoon in summer with no responsibilities or deadlines. Before puberty, before I stopped running through the yard pretending that I was a horse or exploring the darkest jungle of my neighbor's hedges.

It's just a snapshot of an instant in time. I couldn't tell you what came before or after that moment. But the smell of sun-heated grass sent me back to that lovely memory.

Smells can be a very strong trigger for memories. Sometimes the trigger is just for a feeling, not even an image. Or sometimes a person. Certain aftershaves will always remind me of specific men. The smell of french fries and ketchup can send me back to the boardwalk on a New Jersey beach.

A reader once told me that she was surprised by the many smells in my book. She didn't think she'd read another book that mentioned them. I guess I am a scent-oriented person. Maybe that's why I have allergies because my sense of smell is very acute.

And now I'm off to make sure that my current work-in-progress has enough smells.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Just Keep Writing

There's so much advice out there about a writer's platform and social media connections that you could drown in it.

None of it worked for me.

I do believe that you should have some sort of social media footprint. People need to be able to find you on the web. If you enjoy connecting to people that way, have at it! It may build you a good fan base, but don't bank on it.

Some people say to put your head down and write. That social media doesn't result in direct sales. Only a pile of books under your name will give you credibility.

I believe in that one more than others. At least I think it's a method that I can work with. But I have to add - advertise wisely. And there are as many thoughts on that as there are successful authors.

I've been going through forums and articles reading advice from all quarters. It seems like many of the successful authors are writing their pants off! They have put out 10 - 20 books and are making thousands of dollars per month. Whew.

They also spend thousands on advertising. Some monthly, some quarterly, but all of them put a lot of money into advertising to maintain a constant flow of sales.

All of them said that releasing a new book gave them a good bump in sales for the month.

I planned to write two books this year. In comparison, I look like a slow poke. Some of those successful authors put out a book every 1 - 5 months. Wow. I suppose as a full-time writer you could rack up sufficient word count to do that. As a part-time writer, I will try to push towards three books a year. Just writing those words made me anxious. Maybe I'd better make that a goal for 2017.

And now, back to writing...


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Space Fantasy

What is Space Fantasy? 
I think it is Fantasy that requires space travel and aliens.

Why isn't it just plain Fantasy?
Because...um...space ships?

Why isn't that Science Fiction?
Because the science part isn't very important?

I have asked a lot of people about how to classify Facade. The immediate reaction to aliens and space travel is that it should fall under Science Fiction. But the story is mostly about a lost culture. On the other hand, to say it was Fantasy without a magic system or a quest or even any wizards seems wrong.

It is more of blend of both, perhaps. I asked Alex to give me a Fantasy image and Scifi type for the cover to infer a combination of genres.

Space Fantasy just feels right. It happens on multiple planets and there might be a kind of magic in the psychic skills of some characters.

It isn't a new on Amazon. When I searched for books with "Space Fantasy" as a keyword, over 35,000 books popped up. But it isn't a proper category.

Facade will be 1/2 price until Sunday May 15. Starting Monday it will go up to $2.99. Grab one while they're cheap!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Garden Report

It's planting time.

I've gotten lazy. I don't start all my own plants anymore. Mostly because I have the local Herb Festival where I can buy healthy, organic seedlings of heirloom varieties. And a couple of local growers have stands at the market where I can pick up anything I need.

I started early with packed 6-packs of freckled lettuce and a spicy mix. I carefully separated them out and had enough plants to fill a bed. The lettuces are just forming heads now. We will have lovely salads for awhile. I had planned to follow them with stir-fry greens, but the garden had other plans. Apparently the Acorn squash that failed last year must have managed to produce viable seed, because I have an awful lot of volunteer squash coming up in that bed.

It will be a gamble as to what kind of squash forms because they tend to cross-pollinate. I'll keep my fingers crossed for something edible.

I've got all raised beds this year. It was surprisingly easy to get them ready. I don't know what makes the difference between raised beds and a plain old garden bed. Maybe because they seem like separate items and I can weed one in a few minutes and it's all done.

My compost is coming along nicely. I was able to add some to all the beds. Last year was the first time I had great carrots. I think it was because of all the compost I added to that bed. My regular soil is a heavy clay and not good for any root vegetables. Fingers crossed, I'm hoping for another good crop of carrots.

Spring was a roller coaster of cold rain and hot dry days. I did a lot of watering. And after I put all my tender vegetables in the garden we had a night down to 44 degrees. I know the basil won't be happy about that. It'll be back up in the 80's this weekend.

Now I'm off to pick my first ripe strawberries!