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Good Distractions

Seattle trip near Pike Place Market

I haven’t written much fiction since my last update. Tinkered on short story revisions and procrastinated like a champion on novel edits. But my time was not wasted.

I spent most of my creative energy at the day job getting money to pay the bills. The rest of my time went into hunting for a new house in Austin, exercising and stretching to keep the back pain away, and–today–hosting an Indie Author Society meetup and setting up a future workshop on author branding. More on that soon. I’m really excited as this is the first workshop I’ve organized and I think it could help a lot of authors.

All that extra work last week was necessary because we leave for Seattle on Tuesday for a family getaway.

And, if I’m being honest, I think I could use a little vacation.

I will be working part time on the trip (of course), and doing a little writing too, but also trying to enjoy the downtime and soak in the atmosphere. We’ll be spending a lot of time in Capitol Hill, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Seattle, so that part will be easy.

I’ll leave you now with one more photo, which I took last time we visited Seattle.

Seattle Gum Wall

I’ll try to post some new photos while we’re there later this week.

Until then I’ll be carving slices of time out of the day to write. Don’t need much, just need it to be focused. That’s the real trick to being productive.

A Tour of My Bookshelf

MG Herron's bookshelf

I’m experimenting with short book videos on my Facebook page.

The first installment is a tour of my bookshelf!

I’m posting them straight to my M. G. Herron Facebook page, but I’ve embedded the first video below for you to check out here.

Next, I’m going to do some short book reviews, starting with The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s a wonderful short book and I know a bunch of interesting stuff about it, so it’s an easy one for me to do.

Like my page on Facebook if you want to see more videos like this. Doing videos is very much outside of my comfort zone, but I had fun with this one and decided to do more. It helps that they’re short, so they don’t take a lot of time to put together. Just need enough courage to smile into the camera lens and something to talk about.

Are there any books you’d like to see me review? Leave a comment on the blog and let me know if you do!

Writing updates

Here’s what’s new in my fiction.

I’m polishing those 5 short stories I wrote in the workshop. One has been submitted to a magazine. Another is awaiting some more feedback from beta readers. The other three need a little more work before I’m ready to mail them out.

Now that I have the titles more or less fixed, I’m going to list them here in the order I finished writing them:

  1. “Centurion”
  2. “Earworm”
  3. “The City of Many Worlds”
  4. “The Alien Apocalypse is Better with Friends”
  5. “Wendigo”

With any luck, I’ll be able to sell a few of these. I haven’t decided how long I’m going to keep them in the mail. Some of the more stubborn writers would keep them in the mail forever, until they sold. I don’t know if I have that kind of patience, but I want to give it at least six months to a year. These things take time, but the payoff is worth it for me. Selling a fiction story to a pro market has been a personal goal of mine for a long time.

In other book news, I also got all of the edits for Tales of the Republic back, and had a great call with my editor last Thursday. I’m currently doing a full read through of the manuscript and making detailed notes before I start the revisions.

To summarize the editorial feedback, the plot of the book is solid, but there is some work to be done on character depth, emotion, pacing, and some of the mystery that I unintentionally left off the page.

C’est la vie. I feel like this is pretty standard feedback for a first draft of mine, short or long. I’m glad that all the work I put into the plot paid off—not having to rewrite a significant portion of the manuscript is a relief (I rewrote huge chunks of The Auriga Project because of plot problems).

So I think I’m getting better at this writing novels thing. But I still have a lot to learn. Of course!

I expect the revisions will take me another month or two, so Tales probably won’t be ready until near the end of the year.

That’s okay. My first priority is always to write the best book I can.

It’s worth the extra effort to make readers happy, and to know in my bones that I wrote the best book I could at the time.

I plan to be writing for a long time, so patience at this stage is crucial. I’ve been on this journey for almost three years now and this is still just the beginning.

A Day of Halves

It’s raining again in Austin. Flash flood warnings come and go. I’m sitting on the couch typing this right now and out the window I can see a small breaker of water forming against the curb as the runoff from the side street meets the gutter of the main ave. Cars stream by, slow down for a passing ambulance, speed up again. A truck splashes through the breaker, tossing a wave over the sidewalk.

Shelly, Elsa and I are safe, thanks for asking. We live a couple miles uphill from the river and can watch all the water running downhill from our living room. Not that I never worry about the flooding. We do what we can to stay safe. Knowing the contour of the city and staying out of the lowest part (the river basin) where it usually floods the worst, downtown, is pretty crucial. Where we live it’s not as bad.

Writing update: a day of halves

I’m about halfway through the “Wendigo” short story. I expect it to be about 8k words when it’s done. I started another untitled short story for this week’s workshop assignment, and I’m halfway through that (1,500/3,000). I’m also about halfway through the short story workshop, so today is full of halves.

I got a little stuck today on the assignment story when I was working on it earlier. Good thing about deadlines is that I can’t be stuck for long. It’s due on Monday.

Translocator 2 and Translocator 3 (the sequels to The Auriga Project) have been on my mind a lot lately. With Tales out of my hands, I guess I have the headspace for it again. I’ve got rough outlines for both books, but neither one is fully baked yet. Still, I’m researching and generating ideas. They’re coming together.

I do know this much: T2 will be my NaNo novel. That book is next on the docket and I’m nearly ready for it. So, if all goes well, Tales of the Republic will be released while I’m writing T2. If I get T2 done in time to take a holiday break, then I can bang out T3 during the early part of next year, when I’m fresh and the holiday craziness has passed.

We’ll see how it all goes. I like planning because it motivates me to keep the discipline. I’m getting better at predicting my production rate, which helps because I can meet the deadlines I set, but, as they say, “Use at your own risk. Results may vary.”

Upcoming events at the Indie Author Society

I host a series of speaking events for my organization, the Indie Author Society. These are the upcoming events that I’m hosting in Austin, TX.

Click on an event to learn more and RSVP to attend.

K9 Search and Rescue Basics for Writers
Sun Aug 28 @ 5:00 PM

How Scrivener Can Help You Win NaNoWriMo
Wed Sep 14 @ 7:00pm

How to Crowdfund Your Next Book on Kickstarter
Sun Sep 25 @ 5:00 PM