Spy Flash Published!

Both the paperback and the Kindle version of Spy Flash are now available for sale at Amazon.com, so it was an exciting writing weekend for me here in the Valley, capped off by a nice mention of Spy Flash‘s publication in my local newspaper, The News Leader. When you open your Sunday paper and see a picture of your book cover and the headline, “Staunton author’s spy tale is enticing,” the rest of the day goes by in a blissful blur. (Click on the headline to read the entire article.)

Am I bragging? Well, yes, I suppose I am, but when you’re an unknown author, you generate all the publicity you can get. I’m especially proud of the stories in Spy Flash and how they showcase my two main characters, so boast a little, I will. However, what I won’t do is bug you to death with constant begging pleas to “buy my book.” It’s there, it’s available, I think it’s good, but it’s entirely up to you. I mean, it would be nice to be able to pay the electricity bill this month. Just kidding.

So, here are the details. If you want to buy the paperback or Kindle version of Spy Flash (a deal at $14.95 or $5.99 respectively), click here. Or you can click on the cover image on the righthand side of this post. If you want me to sign your copy, scroll to the top of this post, click on the “Contact” tab, and shoot me an e-mail.

This is the exciting part about writing–looking at a shelf and seeing your title and name on the spine of a book, holding that book in your hands and seeing your words on a page. It’s why we write, it’s what we live for, and it keeps us going. Most of us aren’t in this to make a gazillion dollars–if we’re realists and understand the publishing industry, we’re not. My wish is for people to just read and enjoy my work. That’s my compensation, so go on. Help make me a wealthy woman.

On another note, a piece of 100-word flash fiction I entered in the Shenandoah Valley Writers Flash! Friday contest was a winner. (Click on the Flash! Friday tab at the top of this page and select “First Contact.”) Not a bad way to start a Monday.

To NaNo or Not to NaNo This Year

Before you know it, November will be here. November is National Novel Writing Month–the challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. I’ve participated since 2008 and have had great fun. In 2008, I still worked full-time and had a travel schedule that was fairly typical for me then–of the thirty days in November, I was on the road for thirteen of them. So, my first NaNoWriMo was 50,000 words in seventeen days.

In 2009 I was freshly retired and starting a new life in a new town, and I was thrilled with the fact that I only had NaNo to focus on for the whole time of the challenge. The next two years were the same.

This year, well, I seem to have a full plate. I have a manuscript I want to submit to a contest, and the window for submissions begins November 15. The MS is in good shape right now, but, of course, before submitting it, I’ll want to go over it thoroughly.

I have a second manuscript–my Spy Flash flash fiction stories–which I’ll complete in mid-October. I’d like to get that out via Kindle Select in December, which means that November would be formatting, editing, double-checking the formatting, more editing and revising–in other words, the final polish.

I also blog three times a week, every week, and I have a novel MS currently in a critique group, which means revisions on that are on-going. So, will I have time to write 1,667 words per day? That certainly has never been an issue in the past, but before I’ve always put everything aside to concentrate on NaNoWriMo.

Writing, as with everything in life, is balance, something I’ve tried to achieve this past year by establishing a writing work schedule. I’ve stuck to it well, except for the submissions part. I did increase that percentage this year–with two successes out of six submissions–but I didn’t submit as consistently as I planned. However, the manuscript I’m submitting to the contest contains forty of my 100-word stories, which I’d saved and accumulated specifically for this contest. That might make up for my slacking off in submitting. At least, I think of it that way.

I’ve come to enjoy the NaNoWriMo camaraderie–both on-line and during local “write-ins”–so much that I can’t imagine not doing it. And this would be a landmark year for me and NaNoWriMo–my fifth year. (I like collecting the little web badges.) I have a project that’s been simmering for a while that I’d like to flesh out more, and NaNoWriMo is perfect for that–it “forces” you to get that first draft down.

So, to NaNo or not to NaNo? That is the question. I’m still pondering the answer.