Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Halloween & Plans for November

Well, hard to believe that October is gone. I'm sad about it, as Fall and Halloween are my favorite times out of the whole year. Now we look forward to the grim, colder months of November and December--I don't even want to think about January, as it is too far away (and too cold).

Since in November people are generally doing NaNoBooBoo, I'm not going to do many posts here or at Muse during the month of November. No sense in doing so if hardly anyone is out there looking in. So, I thought, since everyone and their Aunt Sally is usually neck deep in trying to get their word count for NaNoHooHaa every dang day, I could use the time to work on a couple of my projects. I thought this would be a great time to concentrate on Six Shades of Hell, my #8 book in the Sabrina Strong series, since I have not had much time for it at all this summer when I began it. I think there might be three chapters or four written and I see there's 53 pages done in the document. I've made notes, and some are in my head, not even written down. So, I'm going to spend all of November working on the book and not worry about posting every week. I'll be around, of course, but not as much.

In the meantime, I plan on getting my non-fiction book, "Cat Whisperer", out next month. Trying to work on the cover. So far, this is what I've got...

picture of the 5 original kittens
from "Cat Whisperer"
I thought that the picture would be good in the middle of the cover, surround it (above and below) with maybe black banner, and that's where I'd want the title and my name. But I don't have a clue how to go about this. I can't find places that I thought I'd saved to go and use for making a cover. If any one can help me figure this out, leave comment. Over on Writer's Mayhem, we had someone who had shared a free site for making covers, but I've lost the links. It's hard to look through hundreds of my links thinking I could ever find it--got carpal tunnel just trying to find them the other day! When this person shared the link I couldn't download the cover-making thing-y because my browser was out-dated. I'm hoping with Chrome I can do this. But I need the links.

Anyway, these are the things that I'm working on, or will be working on.

Happy Halloween, and I'll see you around... with the usual updates and announcements for the cat book.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Meet Kaleb and Sebastian from "Six Shades of Hell"

The other day over on Muse I made reference to a picture that I saw on another blog and it gave me an idea for two new characters for the eighth book. Of course these are cartoon characters. Forgive me if I don't know who they are, but the artwork is familiar.

At any rate, the picture of these two and what they say inside the bubble gave me the idea: Yes! These two would be perfect to add a little comic relief when I need it. Some different dynamics, and texture to the read. I always want to add someone new to the book. Of course later on, the book has Sabrina off on one of her adventures, and she goes back to Beyond Black Veil (Vampire Nocturne), and she visits a few old friends, makes new ones, and goes on to get into new situations which involve lots of interesting, dangerous, perilous situations.

As I mentioned on that post, I had put in two other characters at first. It was falling flat. Well, instead of trying to write these two in--Kaleb and Sebastian--I did a "find and replace" window. Replacing Sebastian for James and Kaleb for Dolores. I had to make sure where I had Dolores I've changed the "she" to "he", but for the most part the rewrite of this has been minimal, and enjoyable.

Here is a little excerpt from what I've got so far...
~from Six Shades of Hell by Lorelei Bell
As it turned out I didn't have to go all the way into the kitchen. Fifteen minutes later, when I opened the bathroom door, which opened out into the dining room, there they both where. Two young men, who were in their twenties, standing near the dining room table wearing a black jackets over a dark vests and white shirt, white gloves and a conservative ties. In looks they were similar build, and their long-ish hair was styled in a disarray of locks. One was blond, the other had black hair, bleached blond only on the top, and slightly mussier, and the dark lengths in the front were much longer, hanging way down over his eyes, but in trained tendrils. He wore black-rimmed glasses.
They beamed at me. “Good morning, mistress,” they said in stereo.
I looked at the dining table, surprised to see a sterling silver coffee urn—which I know I didn't own—and the other aromas, which came from under a domed platter, and I could definitely detect eggs and possibly bacon. Okay. So, maybe they could stay. They were cute, in their own way.
I twisted my mouth and looked back up at them. “Did Tremayne send for you to come all the way out here?”
They nodded, grinning. “He texted us,” the blond said.
Oh, introductions! This is Kaleb, with a 'K',” said the one wearing glasses.
And he's Sebastian,” Kaleb said, holding out his hands toward the other man.
You two are brothers?”
Yes,” they both said.
You used to work at the Tremayne Towers,” I said, squinting. “I'm getting Letitia from you.”
Oh, she's good,” Kaleb said, sounding impressed.
Tremayne was right about her.” Sebastian agreed. His brother nodded.
We were Letitia's servants. Until her death, that is,” Kaleb said, and looked down and away.
There, brother, it's okay,” Sebastian consoled his brother, patting him on the shoulder. To me he said, “Kaleb was the one who found her in her bedroom.”
I nodded with his somber explanation, and at the same time I got the image straight from Kaleb. He had walked in that next day, and found Letitia on the floor, dead. She had been impaled in the heart by a wooden bolt from murderer, Toby Hunt. The two contacted Tremayne right away—who lived in a penthouse right across from her—and he was the one who examined her. She had been Tremayne's life-time mate for many centuries.
I'm sorry,” I said. Too many memories surfaced from this read. It was how I came to be in Tremayne's employ from then on, as his “seer”, and solved the murder, telling him nearly too late who it was. It felt like years ago and it was only a few months ago. So much had happened since then it made my head spin.
Oh, you needn't apologize,” Sebastian said, shaking his head to move the separate long dark strands around. He reminded me a little of a Shetland pony. A thin one. He had narrow shoulders, like his brother (who was slightly taller), both were under six feet tall. Possibly five eight and five seven.
No. I mean, I'm sorry for your loss. I can see you were very fond of her. I imagine she was someone everyone loved,” I said.
Hard to believe it of a vampire, but yes. She was an easy mistress. Not too terribly demanding,” Sebastian said.
Plus she gave us wonderful bonuses, and eight weeks vacation, whenever we wanted it, and other things.”
Don't forget the wheels, Kaleb,” Sebastian reminded.
Kaleb's eyes widened. “Really super wheels. It's a good thing we could borrow the SUV, today, though, in order to get out here,” Kaleb said.
Sebastian nodded and turned to me. “Anyway, we hope we can serve you in your time of need, mistress.”
I smiled. “I've never had a broken anything.” Glancing down at my leg, I still stood with the crutches under each arm. “And this is really nice what you've set up here,” I said, nodding toward the prepared table.
I hope you don't mind, but we took the bedroom with the twin beds,” Sebastian said. “It reminds us of our boyhood.”
No. That's fine. If you need anything at all, or need something, just ask. Sorry that my house isn't quite the luxury of a penthouse.”
Oh, it's charming,” Kaleb said, eyes glinting from under his blond locks as he took in the room.“I especially like the envelope door and French doors. Don't you, brother?”

That room I'll be busy rearranging the furniture in,” Sebastian said.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Mind at Rest Is a Good Thing

Hustling a (book) sale is boggling. I'm not a hustler and I have to say trying to get people interested in my eBooks is time consuming. I'd rather be writing. Wouldn't you?
However, even the writing sometimes becomes a bit of a brain drainer too.
This summer, if any of you were paying attention to what was happening to my books, or what happened with me and my publisher (we parted ways, but in a good way), all my projects were suddenly put on hold, and I had to do edits on all of them, and get the books formatted for publication as eBooks on Amazon. This took a great deal of time. All summer long. It was well worth it, but I have to say it drained me. I still took time out to go for walks, and other things—I did not spend my entire day working on the books, but it still left me brain-dead.
By September, I had all 3 books done and out, and I was thrilled with the results—my hard work was paying off, and I can now see the sales and keep track of them (unlike with my publisher who had the books in other venues, besides Amazon), and know what I'm making with my royalties. I can now understand what other authors were talking about “control” over what they wrote. It's not just picking your own cover, and doing the edits yourself. It was everything.
So, once I was finished with these first three books, I wanted to turn my attentions toward the 4th book in the Sabrina Strong series, and, mind you, I had begun work on the 8th book. But, I'm burned out. I gone on to fill my time doing other things I enjoy, like walking (which has helped me both lose weight and clear the mind), or decorating for the season.
Since Halloween is my favorite holiday, it was fun. But while going through boxes of decorations (trying to find which box I put my Halloween stuff in), I came across my box of yarn. I always run across it and close it back up and put it back into the closet (I've no time for this). Well, this time I took it out. I hadn't crocheted in years. I couldn't even remember when last I had yarn in my hands. But this time, I got it out and looked at what I was working on last time. I was unable to find the pattern to whatever afghan I was making—a beautiful cabin and heart-in-squares—but that was alright. I needed something different to focus on, and after trying to do a motif—which was hard and I wasn't familiar with—I went to work on something simple; working in a straight line, instead of doing rounds. Something that I didn't have to think about too much, and... it worked. My mind relaxed. I didn't want to read, because that's really not as relaxing. It's enjoyable, but not really giving my brain a rest.
I was always able to do something creative. I'm multi-talented. I've an art degree, as a matter of fact. So, doing this would be creative, letting another part of my brain to work, and the other part rest.
This is what I've begun doing to relax in the afternoons and evenings. I have to watch how many hours I do this, as it tends to use a certain muscle in the fingers, hands, arms and shoulders, that I don't normally use. I used to sell my projects. I made pretty good money at it, too. I once sold other crafts—things I painted or sewed—but the money usually went back into the materials, so, as a result, I didn't make that much money. But it was a hobby and I really enjoyed it.
So, right now I'm trying to give myself a break in this way. Since I've got four books written, one is being edited right now, between me and my betas, I don't feel the rush of getting number 8 done this year. I can let it simmer a while. Think about the things I want to happen, make notes, write scenes when they come, but not pressure myself into working on this one, since I've got others lined up to work on and get out there.
Everyone has their own way of relaxing. Possibly you have discovered your own way to relax. Photography, is one, I know that would be rewarding and relaxing and yet using another part of your brain. The walk is always nice, but right now in my neck of the woods, the weather is going to get cold, and it won't be an enjoyable walk after this month is gone. And by mid-December, probably impossible.
Do you have some creative ways in which to relax your mind from writing? It's a good idea to find something away from the writing so that you don't get burned out. Share them in comments, if you wish.VAMPIRE ASCENDING/SABRINA STRONG SERIES