Tag Archives: torn

ROW80 Recap Post (or: Most Boring Post Title Ever)

Yeah… no WIPpet Wednesday this week. Sorry, guys.

But I will give you this teaser snippet. I’ve got a short story almost ready for you. Some of you saw a pre-edit draft here a while back. Others will find it completely new. Either way, it’ll be my gift to you (at least until it eventually goes Amazon exclusive and I have to charge a whole 99 cents for it).

Coming soon.

bindingteaser1

 

Okay, on to the looking back bit.

Goal #1: Finish drafting Bound Trilogy Book Three

COMPLETED. I flew through that one faster than anything I’ve drafted before, thanks to better outlining than I usually do. I was pleased to find that there was plenty of room for surprises… maybe a little too much, as the draft currently sits at 130,000 words. Good words, but still.

I’m exactly half-way through revisions now.

 

Goal #2: Self-edit Torn one more time before it goes for professional edits.

COMPLETED. My beta readers had wonderful suggestions for me, and I incorporated most of them. Editor J.E. took the book a week ago, and last I heard is making good progress. It’s kind of a crazy time of year, and I hope he’s taking Christmas off, but I’m feeling hopeful about getting this thing back in early January and getting back to work on it.

And then we might just get a release date. And plan pre-orders. And, and, and…

 

Goal #3: Short Story

Okay, I’d hoped to have it out for Christmas, but a) it’s not exactly a feel-good Christmas cheer thing, and b) distribution is pretty much shut down most places for the holidays, so it can wait a little longer. But it’s edited, I made a cover (sorry guys–can’t do my regular artist for a free story!), it’s formatted, and it’s ready to go. I’m calling this COMPLETED.

 

Other Goals:

Listen to two podcasts a week – not even close.

Beta reading – COMPLETED

Other reading – I read several books. Besides the beta reading, I finished Behind the Scenes (Dahlia Adler), The Virgin Cure (Ami McKay), Blink (Malcolm Gladwell), Moon Bound (Sylvia Frost), Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell), Here Be Dragons: Strange Creatures of Newfoundland and Labrador (Bruce Hynes), and am making my way through UnSouled (Neil Schusterman). All great books.

I should really do a review of The Virgin Cure on here, or a more complete one on Goodreads, but I haven’t recovered yet. Seriously, so good.

Didn’t read a writing-related book (still can’t get into Writing 21st Century Fiction a year after I bought it), but I asked for Save the Cat for Christmas. Fingers crossed.

Audiobook release – we did a giveaway, it was fun. I still haven’t managed to listen to the whole thing yet, myself. It’s nothing against the production or the actors, I just can’t do audiobooks. They sound so different from how I read in my head. That said, I still have a few copies for people who love them… we’ll have to have that as a party prize at the Torn release party. 😀

Use Duolingo to learn French – I actually forgot about this. The boys lost the iPad for a few weeks, and I got off track. Better get back to it.

 

So there we have it. Not all complete successes, but I hit all of the big ones and won NaNoWriMo.

We’ll see what comes next round. 🙂

Link back below to your wrap-up posts if you’ve been participating! I want to come say hi.

 

 

 


Want Bound for Free? Read On.

When I look at this blog’s stats, I see search engine terms that bring people here. Sometimes they’re amusing. Sometimes they’re confusing, like the person who tried eight different search terms trying to figure out how to put notes for chapter one of their book into a notebook.

Sorry I wasn’t more helpful with that.

Sometimes they’re people wondering when they next book in the Bound trilogy is out, which is super cool. Still aiming for late winter/early spring (Northern hemisphere), guys.

A lot of the time, they’re people looking for free copies of Bound. They’re looking for BOUND KATE SPARKES (or SPARKS) FREE, BOUND TRILOGY FREE, yadda yadda.

Now, I have no problem with that. I’m glad there’s interest. Ecstatic, actually. And a lot of authors do offer their books for free from time to time. I get the feeling that a lot of these people are looking for pirated/file-shared PDF files, though. That’s less of a good feeling.

I’m not talking to those people, though, and that’s a totally different topic.

No, this post is for the people who have heard good things about Bound but don’t have five dollars to spend on the e-book. I totally get that. I often wait for books to go on sale when they’re $4.99 or above, and almost never spend more than about $6 on an e-book, myself. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re cool. High fives, frugal buddies!

I’m going to tell you a secret. There are ways to get it for less.

If you want a bought-and-paid-for copy at a lower price (bless you), you could wait for a sale. It’s going to happen some time.

The best way to be alerted of that is to sign up for my newsletter here. I don’t spam, only send messages when something of interest is afoot, and share information on sales and events like cover reveals there before I do anywhere else.

Following on Twitter (@kate_sparkes) or Facebook are also options, but there’s a better chance you’ll miss announcements that way. Facebook reach is low. Tweets are fleeting. *sigh*

(The other cool thing about the newsletter is that that’s where I’m going to be making the first offer for advance review copies of Torn. Depending on how many I decide to pass out and how much interest there is, that might be the only place to get them. Seriously, sign up!)

Or… there’s another option.

Have you guys heard of the Books Machine?

It’s an interesting concept, and one I’m still figuring out. Authors list their books, and readers browse or search for specific books, then request review copies.

Free review copies.

What does that mean? Well, in this case, you send a message to the author through the site stating why you’d like to receive a copy of the book, and the author accepts or rejects the requests. I haven’t rejected a request yet, but if you send me one saying “I hate Fantasy and love is stupid,” I might just say no. The other reason a request might be rejected is if an author is giving out a set number of copies a month, and that’s already been exceeded.

But mostly, authors like reviews, and it’s worth it to us to share our work through the site. Because…

You have a job, too. You get the book free, direct from the author. In my case, I’ll send you a mobi file via e-mail or direct to your Kindle, since for some reason I can’t gift through Amazon.ca.  In exchange, you agree to read it within a certain time frame and leave an honest review on Amazon*.

Not necessarily a glowing review. You’re not obligated to leave ALL TEH STARZ.

But you as a reader do agree to leave a review, and in a timely fashion.

After you do that, you let The Books Machine know what a keener you are, and the author rates your performance. Again, NOT based on how well-written the review is, or how many stars you gave. It’s based entirely on whether you fulfilled your side of the deal within the specified time frame. If you do that, you get a better reputation on the site, and will be more likely to have other authors accept your requests.

Cool, right? Seems like it to me, anyway. Not everyone is in a position to read quickly and review, but if you’re doing that anyway, this might be something to look into. It works a bit like Read4Review groups on Goodreads, but with one big group.

I’ve only had three requests through the program so far, so no comment or assessment on whether it’s worth it for authors to sign up (we’ll look at that another day). But it seems like an interesting deal for readers. I thought about requesting Unicorn Western through there, but realized I couldn’t guarantee I’d get through it in time.

Curses.

To recap:

WAYS TO GET MY BOOKS CHEAP OR FREE:

-Wait for a sale

-sign up for the newsletter to be informed of said sales (or if you want a chance to get the next book free and in advance of publication, and who doesn’t want that?)

-check out the Books Machine. Bound comes up in their search (click “Books” at the top), but there’s lots more there that’s worth checking out.

 

There you go. You’re welcome, search engines.

 

*Yes, you have to review on Amazon, but you’re also free to review elsewhere. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can read using the Kindle app on a computer, phone, or tablet. Or you might find an author willing to send an ePub file. *ahem*


WIPpet Wednesday: That’s… Disgusting

Yes, kids, I’m back with a REAL WIP snippet this week. And I hope I’ll actually get to comment on everyone’s posts this week, rather than the reading-and-drive-by-likings that were all I had time for last week. Sorry about that. I did read them, though!

Fun as last week’s THE END was, I’m hard at work again. We’re back to Torn, making small-yet-essential changes and cleaning up fun things like over-used words before my wonderful editor gets his hands on this one.

It’s hard work, but interesting.

Actually, that’s a lie. It’s completely tedious, but it has to be done.

One of the things I’ve worked on in recent drafts is adding more depth to the world, specifically in terms of history and mythology. Not big things, but more glimpses of the larger world than we had room for in Bound. This exchange went into the book on my last pass through, and since I just worked on this scene again this week, we’ll take from this section for WIPpet Wednesday.

12 (short) paragraphs for the 12th, from Aren’s POV (plus one to grow on). He and Rowan have been discussing his travel plans. She tends to worry… (**Bound spoilers, if you haven’t read it and plan to**)

“Good.” She picked up an iron poker and nudged the logs in the fireplace. “Could you just stay that way? Aquila would be less conspicuous. As a human, you’re recognizable. Even people who have never met you can’t help seeing that you’re not like other people.”

It still made me smile when she called my eagle form by the name she gave it before she knew who I was. How things had changed since then. “It would make basic survival easier, too. But I can’t. Sorcerers who have animal forms and stay in them too long get strange in the head.”

“How?”

“They take on more animal characteristics, even when they return to their proper bodies. There are stories about Lyloch, a Sorcerer who lived in Luid during my grandmother’s time. He learned to change into a wolf-dog, and by all accounts he used his skill well in the queen’s service, spying for her, travelling through the winter and finding his way into enemies’ homes when compassionate servants let the sweet dog in. They say he would go weeks at a time before changing back. He became mean as a human, began to prefer the company of dogs, snarled at people who got in his way.”

“And what happened to him?”

“They caught him ripping a whore’s throat out with his teeth.”

“You mean—”

“In human form, yes.”

She paled. “Okay, so don’t try that. But I’m still glad you have the option. Will you promise me one more thing?”

“I might.”

“Don’t be afraid to accept help.”

“I’m not afraid.”

Rowan rolled her eyes. “Fine. Don’t be stubborn about it, then.”

 

For more WIPpet Wednesday fun (where we share a snippet from a work in progress that relates in some way to the day’s date), click here to see everyone’s link-ups. Be sure to say hello to our host KL Schwengel, who does a bang-up job of it even when life is crazy.

ROW80 UPDATE

I’m making progress on my editing goals. They’re harder to measure than drafting was, and I have no impressive word counts to share. Still, I think I’ve finished making changes and planting seeds for things that will happen in book three, and I’m on to doing a search for words I tend to over-use to see where they can be left out or replaced.

“Was/were” is the last one I have to do, and I left it for the end because it’s a big one. I don’t think it’s as much of a problem word as some do, but it is a good way to search out passive voice and descriptions that could be a bit more dynamic (“His eyes were green” isn’t passive voice, but it’s also not all that interesting). That means it’s going to take a bit longer to get through this one, but it’s worth doing. Better writing on my part = better reading for my lovely, wonderful, stupendous readers.

I’m hoping to have these edits (and maybe the read-through) done by the end of this week. And then we’ll see about getting something started for NaNoWriMo…

For more ROW80 (a round of words in 80 days), click here.

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me yammer. I’ll get something more interesting up soon, I promise!

 


Schedules, Habits, and Lying to Myself

Me: Well. Here we are again.

You: So it would seem.

Me: Indeed.

You: Yup.

 

Man, small talk is awkward. Let’s not try that again.

A while back, I started trying to schedule my time. It has not gone well thus far. When the kids were home during the summer, I was constantly torn between spending time with them and trying to get work done, and constantly feeling guilty about not spending enough time on either, or being distracted when I should have been _______. Working with the kids home just wasn’t working.

And now it’s September.

And they’re in school.

And I’m still distracted.

I swear my brain craves it. It wants to be distracted. It wants shiny bits of useless information more than it wants a book. Well, maybe not more, but I’m not good with delayed gratification, and a 100,000 word book is a bit of a long goal. Internet articles and blog posts and Twitter are immediate. Checking e-mail is fast and sometimes even rewarding. Chatting with friends is easy and almost always a good time.

There are days when I will read the back of a shampoo bottle instead of getting to work. Compelling stuff, that.

So here I am, trying again to find a way to stick to a schedule and make myself get the work done. I have big goals, which I’m going to share with you for reasons of accountability. Those goals are going to require that I be able to focus, which is going to be hard. And no, I haven’t talked to my doctor about medications to help with that, because I’ve heard they destroy creativity.

Not cool. Though some of the other side-effects sound kind of wicked.

So it comes down to a battle of wills, me vs. myself. All I have in my arsenal are a few techniques to try, a schedule and goals written on lined paper, a novel outline with plenty of wiggle room, and… well, a little help from my friends.

Here’s the plan:

Every morning, I get 3 hours to work (I take the kids to school and am back by 8:45, and I go to pick them up at 11:45). Assuming I get coffee, etc. made before work time, and accounting for bathroom breaks, I should be able to get 3,000 words out a morning if I’m drafting book 3 of the Bound Trilogy.

No, it’s not an impressive speed, but I need thinking time. And hey, it could go up. In the future some of those days will be for editing, revisions, and for other production-type-stuff when it gets closer to release time for book 2, but for October and November, it will be writing.

In the afternoon, I get 1.5 hours, and that needs to include walking the dog and any social media stuff. Because I’m not blogging or facebooking or tweeting in the mornings anymore, right?

Hmm. Jack might not be getting the hour-long walks he’s used to.

*sigh*

*sigh*

But I think that’s the key. During my work hours in the morning, I can only WRITE. No distractions. Facebook is only for word sprints with friends, not for reading or posting or chatting (good luck to me there). I have to train myself not to OOH, HANG ON, THAT E-MAIL MIGHT BE IMPORTANT.

We’ll see how it goes. If I can manage those mornings 5 days a week, I’ll have the first draft of book 3 done before the end of November. That leaves lots of time for rests and revisions before… well, I won’t get ahead of myself now.

GOALS:

60,000 words in October

60,000 words in November

Revisions on another project in December (for the 2 weeks  I’ll have before I get edits back on Torn, then a break for Christmas)

115,000+ words in January (editing, not writing)

 

Maybe if I write those goals on the wall, if I have a clock ticking come January (because there’s still so much work to do after editing, and no time to waste if we want this book out in March), if I put the pressure on, I’ll be able to turn away from distractions.

I’ve said that before, and it hasn’t worked out.

But maybe this time I’m not lying to myself. Maybe this time I kick procrastination’s ass, I find a way to focus, and I get stuff done.

We’ll see.

 


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