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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Sale!

The numbers steadily go up and I cannot complain about that. The more downloads the more chance of people taking time to read my work. The cookbook has reached 1393. The number is up to 37 and the short story is up to 18.

As it is Memorial Day, I have slashed the price of the short story to $1.99 – get it here. I also increased the sampling to 30% if any of you would like to read some of it first.

No writing these last couple of days. Instead, we have dedicated ourselves to watching a marathon of “Damages”. Interesting that despite the nonlinear storytelling, it never hampers the enjoyment of putting the puzzle together. There is a method to the madness and it is brilliantly put together.

This is research for me because they jumping off between flashback and flashforwards may become part of the steampunk series if it goes the way I think it will. I have a good idea what I want as an arc but I am not sure how to make it happen on paper. Details. God is in the details. The divine escapes me at the moment.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Looking for an Organic Thang

Right now, the cookbook continues to add downloads to its history with a total 1317. The novel now has 34 and 18 for the short story.

It’s time to start thinking of a summer reading promotion for the novel. “Leave the stress at the job and burn the rest of it with laughter and a good shooting!”

I have not written in the last couple of days. I did make notes and apparently Nixon makes a brief appearance in the steampunk story. I am playing with a continuing arc (the thing I was missing when I started writing). I don’t know all the details yet, but I need a central character to help me move that action forward and possibly another to embody it. I want to be able to have the first book out before the end of summer. Wish I knew where it is headed.

I think I need to put up my Victorian costume prints back up on my wall and dress the part. Maybe it’ll go faster and easier, you know, like a fine tuned machine but funny.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stream of Consciousness

Some days you wake up with ideas literally busting to come out, and a line feeds another and one image turns into another picture altogether and it surprises you!

Today was one of those days. I got three chapters in for “Beating the Devil”. This is an interesting way to write a novel. I have the first and last chapter. Today I wrote the second, third and another that belongs somewhere in the middle. Altogether I now have five chapters. I hope to finish this novel before November, because although I intended it to be my next NaNoWriMo project, it looks like I’ll have to do something else.

I know it’s just May, and if the Rapture does come later this afternoon, then I may be busy fighting the minions of hell or partying to death by November. You know, whatev!

But if not, I may do the second steampunk book (assuming I finish the first one by then) or the first of the sci-fi novel that I haven’t started yet.

I just hope I can keep it all straight in my head.

Finally, this is the progress report on downloads: cookbook – 1234, novel – 32, short – 17. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In these shoes?!

Little details on my on-going adventure keep trickling in.

There is an independent review on Smashwords for the cookbook. Apparently, I made the gentleman hungry and left him yearning to make a cocido

There was one sale for the short story yesterday at one of the retailers. The Spanish version will be available in the next couple of weeks (with a different cover that is hilarious).

Downloads have increased: 1186 for the cookbook, 29 for the novel and 19 for the short story.

In the meantime, I keep plugging away at the quasi-steampunk/alternate universe story. If I do it right, it will introduce this new world, the main characters and establish an on-going storyline, each with its own adventures and travails.

I did not plan this one and continue to pretty much make it up as I go. The only thing that seems clear right now is that the first book will concentrate on Dani’s first week in her new world – which I have decided to simply name Nieuwendam (instead of the more obvious New Amsterdam and after my favorite dance partner).

I still need an end. Something that has a killer hook! I’m not there, but I am enjoying getting there…

My favorite line so far:
Am I to exist in a world without stilettos?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hitting the Wall

I hit the wall the other day. It was my fault, I went to bed too late and then slept for two hours before a doctor’s appointment. When I returned home, I was still putting notes together for the steampunk series and never got back to sleep. At about 9 pm I could no longer keep my eyes open. I took a two hour nap. Then I was up for several hours and hit the wall …

I have not properly sat at the laptop to write, exactly. I am translating Putting May to Rest into Spanish. This too will be an experiment. I have no idea whether I can pull it off, but I’ll try anything just to see where it goes. If it fails, I hope to be smart enough to dissect it and try again to improve my second chances.

In the meantime this is the story of downloads so far: the cookbook 1122, the novel 27 and the short story 9; plus one new sale this past week.

This may not be the stuff of rags to riches, but it remains fascinating and exciting to me. Remember that downloads and sales are at the choice of an audience you can entice but not control. No matter how you dice this, I’ve achieved a very interesting thing here.

What does it mean? It means I should have done this a long time ago, I am having a blast! I’ll intellectualize the ramifications later.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I'll Allow Myself A Happy Dance!

I know of exactly three people who have read Justified: My Mother, my lovely editor and Barbara Bretton.

Mom knew more about the story than anyone else, because I used her to bounce off ideas and she even suggested story ideas when I was stuck. I admit, that as she read through it when I finished, I loved that sometimes she gasped and sometimes she’d just laugh – big laughs, little chuckles, guilty giggles that were so wrong but could not be stopped.

My editor saw a few things coming and was shocked nonetheless and she got it, she really got it.

But then, these are my people. The grammar, we all knew, would not need too much fixing – especially because I usually write the way I speak. And they both know me well enough that some of what they saw on the page was not exactly predictable but oddly familiar. They knew what to expect and were not disappointed and I managed to surprise as well.

The question remained, how would others perceive the work?

Of course, the ones reading it now are predominantly friends and acquaintances because they received the message first-hand. But other than the few details I wrote about at the Temple of Doom blog and whatever I told them in the press release, they're going in blind.

They know how it starts and some of the journey the hero undertakes, but none of the details and not the end of the tale.

Then Barbara began to read and I waited with bated breath. Of all my friends, she is the successful, published writer with over 40 books under her belt. Of course, because she has been a good friend for well over a decade her opinion means the world to me. Her professional opinion also carries much weight with me because this is her bread and butter and I defer to her wisdom.

«««« In the interest of full disclosure, author Kali Amanda Browne is a good friend but trust me, friendship doesn't mean much at all when it comes to novels. In fact, knowing the author often makes the reading experience an exercise in pain and anxiety. Trust me when I say, nothing is harder than reading a novel written by a friend. It's very difficult to separate the friend you know and love from the work of fiction in your hand. With JUSTIFIED, Kali Amanda Browne did the impossible: before the first chapter ended I was so deeply immersed in her fictional world that I forgot she had written it and settled in for a great read. 
And JUSTIFIED is a great read. Murder, betrayal, sly humor, witty dialogue, laugh-out-loud moments interspersed with real emotion. The characters are real, the dialogue crackles, the ending surprises. What more can a reader ask for? Well, maybe one thing: a sequel featuring Carmen and Sean. Highly recommended. 
That is the review she wrote at the Amazon site. I fully admit that I was swelling with pride. Then the lapsed Catholic that lives inside my head like a demented monk in a cave warned me to keep it down. But I still love that this is my first official review.

It doesn’t get any cooler than this!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Projects: New and Old

This is unprecedented for me. I haven’t been hit with such a creative stride like this in my life! I am not complaining and if it wanes, I am sure there will be enough leftover energy to carry me for a while longer.

A friend informed me that there appeared to be a corrupted file and broken links at Smashwords. I resubmitted the file and it is back up. If you prefer to purchase Justified from one of the Big Two directly, you may go to the Amazon Kindle store or Barnes & Noble’s Nook store. I’ve provided links on the nav bar to the right.

I’m halfway through the first volume of a speculative fiction series. It came out of nowhere! I had no idea this one was coming.

It started with a request from a friend to submit something for her latest project. Somehow, some of the details there morphed into an Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, part Steampunk tale with the odd popular culture reference (though not particularly dated).

At first I figured it was just something I was doing to amuse myself and come down from the creative high. Frankly, I had no clue where it was going until I saw the story shaping in front of me. And there is something just ecstatic about writing by the seat of your pants.

I intended to leave it as a short story, but then as I thought about it and the opportunities it presented just in storytelling. It was so invigorating that I tried my hand at a cover which I am test marketing (in a very unscientific way, I just asked for opinions on Facebook).

The basic idea is to use the outline and change the image in the middle for each volume. I did not tell them that, nor did I explain the concept, I wanted a raw reaction. The first try is here.

It is, much like the story it represents, a work in progress (for one, the title for the series is likely to change). Any newcomers here may feel free to express their own opinion. There is no right or wrong, just information to add to the collective.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Some days you wake up and your head is already full!

I had the entire closing chapter of the novel in my head. I had to do some research to pull it together, but there it was: laid out before me. Some of it surprised me and it turns out that one thing I had assumed about the heroine was wrong.

She is not a blonde.

That may not seem important, but it is one of the things that define the character.

Perhaps as I continue to write her, I will find out that I had assumed other things that are also wrong.

I based the villain on someone I once knew. But she is completely fictional, so she’ll live or die by her own attributes.

I got tired and stupid and did not save one version. I pretty fast when I am in the zone, so I lost about ten minutes of writing – you figure about 60 or 70 words per minute. Do the math and weep for my stupidity!

The details were still fresh in my head, and the research pages remained open.

I have an additional 3,700 words and the end of my main story. There might be an epilogue, but that’s not important right now. I have the first chapter, and one other chapter.

The chapters in between are coming in the next few weeks. I am in the zone!

Next I have to tackle the cruise ship. Did I mention there was going to be a cruise? Oh it’s going to be so cool. Wait.

Putting May to Rest already has 6 downloads on its first day! And the cookbook is straddling 1,000 downloads in almost a month. I finally heard from an editor and may have a review of Justified published – not a sure thing just yet. Plus I may have interesting news in the next few weeks. Stay tuned…

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Another Offering Coming Soon!

Earlier this week, I decided to reedit an old series of stories and try a pricing experiment. It will be available for $2.99 shortly, weighing in at 4,749 words.

Here’s the short description:

Death is a fact of life. It happens to the best of us. It also brings out the worst in some people.

Sometimes, death shrouds itself in absurdity no matter how reverential one wants to be about it.

Based on a true story, Putting May to Rest is the height of absurdity, a satiric look at one family's funeral.

No matter how dysfunctional, this story is guaranteed to make even your family seem normal.

I’ll let you all know when it is converted and becomes available for sale.

Justified now has 20 downloads, so there is some action. The Kitchen Goddess cookbook is at over 900 downloads.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Coming Along

Justified has been approved and will be shipping shortly to the following retailers: Apple iBookstore, Diesel, Kobo, Scrollmotion and Sony. There are a few folks reading it now and there have been a few more downloads. I hope that these translate into sales and reviews, but it continues to be a work in progress. I do have a few dollars set aside as royalties and that is very encouraging.

I’m busy submitting the book for blog reviews and should start getting responses in the coming weeks.

The cookbook is at 863 downloads. That’s a lot of taste buds! I’m dying to know if any of these folks have tried one of the recipes. Of course, from my own experience I know that not every one who buys also reviews, but when you want one it can never come fast enough, can it?

The last few days I have been working on the details for character studies for the new project and defining the setting. I’m building a new New York and it requires a lot of intricate details. It’s fun to play Goddess!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Learn something new every day

Researching ways to promote the book, I came upon a fantastic website: In Reference to Murder. Wow! Really, that simple word covers it in spades: wow. The resources in that site are worth more than I can quantify. A lot of work and love went into putting all of that together and I am in absolute awe. There is so much good information there and a seemingly endless list of resources, it is literally possible to learn something new every day for a very long time!

That is very exciting.

It will be enormously helpful for adding authentic little touches to the next project. It is set in a far away future and not all the rules of law enforcement will apply, but murder doesn’t change much from century to century, does it?

Book sales for Justified are currently set at 15 downloads and 9 copies sold. Sales are slower than downloads and I expected that. I hope that those who downloaded will like what they read and will go back for more, of course. And once they finish it, I also hope they take the time to review the work. If they laud it, it will help in the long run. It may be a while before this part happens, but I am willing to wait it out.

The cookbook has truly surprised me. There are now over 700 downloads. The difference is that this one is free. I still await reviews on it.

Overall, I’d say that it is an auspicious beginning to my self-publishing career. There is bigger and better to look forward to and with every new project I can expect to improve on the previous one. Not that my work on the novel’s promotion is ended, but it is a good learning experience nonetheless.