03 September, 2017
You gotta do what you gotta do. And in my case, I'm doing what I can to finish Comedy of Rain, but I also have to obey the Muse and get back to other things, like No Signal or the Queen of Seasons quintet, which haven't been touched in a dog's age. Since I don't have much else to report on, I'm going to scale back on my blog posts to one per month until I can get back up to speed with regular semimonthly updates.
See you, space cowboy!
01 August, 2017
HT, thanks for joining me. First question: have you written works in collaboration with other writers, and if so: why did you decide to collaborate, and did it affect your sales?
HT: I have done a few collaborations for fun and it is incredibly rewarding. The main thing is to build a lot of trust early and spend time working out what each of you is good at!
Here's how they played out. In the first attempt, I was the person writing the first draft and the other person edited and embellished. We worked to our strengths and were happy with the result. The second attempt had me come in and embellish a piece already started by the other author. Finally, the other mechanism that worked well for for myself and my writing partner was to take a character each and write interlocking scenes. This required huge trust that we wouldn't try and force each other's characters into corners or constrain them. It was quick and a lot of fun indeed!
Sounds like it! Do you think that giving books away free works, and why?
HT: I think it does work and I will do it. Free samples have always been a great way to promote a product or service and books as a form of entertainment are no different. The list revenue is simply another way to fund a marketing exercise. Admittedly it works best in certain circumstances, specifically if you have a series or if it's used to have people signe up for a mailing list. There are millions of customers out there so a few free giveaways is very unlikely to hurt, especially if it does something useful like building a base of fans who have grown to like the author.
I think we're in agreement there. Do you have a soundtrack you write to? If so, how does this affect your prose?
HT: I don't have a single soundtrack. I do have soundtracks for some of my ideas. I listen to the soundtrack at the gym as I plot the novel and the good thing is that playing the soundtrack helps with recall later. It's like a little like a mental notebook.
What do your fans mean to you?
HT: I would love to have fans, people who liked my work. I really aren't interested in telling people what to think but I do care that people think for themselves. I would love to think of my fans as people who looked forward to my stories because of the way they made them re-examine their assumptions of the world. Also, if an indie author (or any author) is going to make a serious attempt at writing, then they need a fan base.
Last one, promise. Where is your favorite place to write?
HT: Anywhere I can get it done actually, but my most productive place is at home. Unfortunately, depending on what's going on in my life at the time, it can also be the least productive. Lunchtime is another favourite. Crank out an hour of draft over lunch works well. You need to find a quiet spot to sit, though. It really needs alone time.
Currently, HT has a number of novels underway and some short stories. His aim is to get one of these up and published before the end of the year around the other commitments that exist in his life.
You can follow him on his website or follow him on Twitter.
26 June, 2017
I'm sure you all remember my many promises to have Comedy of Rain done long ago, but what with writer's block and my recent illness this past Spring, progress got pushed further and further back. On the plus side, at least I was able to sew up some plot holes and brainstorm how to get some of my original ideas back into the ending.
See, I had to go back and restructure things from about chapter 30 on, which included merging two POV chapters into one and giving Hipólito command of that particular plot point. This pulled the plot forward, and, while I had to cut a scene I really wanted to keep, I think this greatly improves pacing and buildup for the big reveal.
But more importantly: I'm writing again, and that means progress is being made on this draft. If the inspiration holds and the Muse stays, then I look to have this wrapped up before the end of July.
11 June, 2017
I had the pleasure of meeting Immy through a critiquing website, and by an exchange, I got to read her Sci-Fi Romance/Erotica novel, The Bonding, before she debuted it. The novel, which is about a princess sent into space in order to save her people, focuses on the unusual bonding between a tribal space warrior and said princess. A bonding rooted in collar-loosening, hand-fanning erotic pleasure. Be sure to check it out if you're looking for a smooth read.
Anyway, let's get started: why do you write?
Immy: Hmmmm . . . I should probably say something really cool and edgy like, "I write because I must," and maybe there's a component of compulsion to it. I certainly feel a writer's high when I finish a great scene, and I feel pride when I'm done editing it and I like it.
You mentioned being proud of your work. What are you most proud of?
Immy: Well, I won't claim that every scene I've ever written is a masterpiece, but there are a couple scenes or characters of whom I am especially proud. I have an Urban Fiction that I'm slaving away at and I have to admit, I love that story. I'm proud of just about every sentence in it, and each character feels like a gift. Like a friend or a child almost. I love those characters intensely.
From my Romance-Eroticas, there is this one scene, it's simple and not deep or anything earth-shattering. It's just about a woman running away from police in a market in a dystopian world, but the details and the wording in it, it just comes alive. It transcends the separation of word and reader and it just sucks you in. Everyone says so when they read it. I just got the balance right. I am proud of that scene. It's from a book that should come out next year, called The Claiming.
Is that what you're working on now?
Immy: Yes and no. I work on a few projects simultaneously to keep myself fresh and my world from getting stale. That is one of the (many) books I'm working on.
Good to know. Can you talk about your process? Specifically, how you go about writing?
Immy: I don't really feel like I'm experienced enough to have a set system. I've finished two books, and have three others halfway finished, and so many more only just begun. I straddle the pants/plot bridge, doing a bit of both. Usually, I get bitten by the writing bug and pound out 10-15 thousand words.
I see. Last question: what happens if you don't write every day?
Immy: The sky falls down. Kidding. Nothing happens. I go to a party, or take a trip, or have an unavoidable appointment and nothing writing-related gets done. It stresses me out, though. Sometimes more than others. I have a harder time staying in the moment, focusing on real people if I don't get some writing time in.
I'm very shy, naturally. It's a constant battle to come up with something interesting to say in conversation, and I tend to forget to listen to people because I'm so in my head. I find that I'm better able to focus on people when I do get a chance to write. I can relax more, play with my kids with more creativity and energy, talk to my husband and remember to ask the right questions, or go to a party and interact with people in a way that they don't even notice I'm weird, or shy, or awkward, or have these vivid, sexy characters chattering away in my skull.
She was born in DC, lives there now, but did go away for a stint at college where she doubled-down on Art History and Literary Analysis. An MFA, a husband, a house, and two kids later, here she is . . . writing some steamy romance. Her professors in school would laugh.
You can check out her website or follow her on Twitter.
27 May, 2017
One of the best things about being a self-publishing author is that I can pick and choose my release dates, blog dates, etc. based upon my own schedule. Being sick these past two months made me realize that more so now than before.
There's always a catch, though. For me, a fair bit of my platform is automated. In this day and age, technology makes it easy for me to prep my posts in advance, and then I just set them up to post either weekly or monthly (depending on the material) while I work on my writing.
The problem, though, is that being knocked down by allergies, a stomach flu, and general illness for two months straight meant I didn't have the focus to sit down and script new posts so that there wouldn't be any interruptions. I've been grabbing things one at a time, getting them posted last minute (or, in the case of this past week on Facebook, posting it after the fact and just backdating it).
Even this blog post is behind from what I would normally post (noon), but at least I'm getting it out the same day, right?
All things considered, I'm getting back in the grove post-illness, so posts are getting scheduled now, and the manuscripts—gods, the manuscripts—are being worked on again. In fact, I've been on a binge this past week, and I've made it through twelve chapters of Comedy of Rain in my efforts to cut NaNoWriMo word vomit, as well as fill in the gaps for ideas that weren't as fleshed out as they should have been.
Here's hoping that I can keep up this progress through this long weekend.
Catch you all again soon!
12 May, 2017
27 April, 2017
When I last left off, I was deep into the edits of Comedy of Rain, compiling notes for major changes, altering snippets here and there, cleaning up verbosity, and—most importantly—seeding Kadiza's proper motivation where it was lacking. It's starting to feel more like Kadiza's story, as it should, and I'm so happy for that. Franklin, I think, still undergoes the most change, but that's only because he's finally reaching a place where he's comfortable with both Kadiza and Hipólito. We'll see how that goes, of course, as things move on.
Just as soon as I get through this draft and get the ending wrapped up (yay for Gambit Pileups!), I'll get back to finalizing Tragedy of Ice for eventual publishing. Seriously looking forward to that, since it'll be my debut novel.
Anyway, I'm getting back to the grind, so I will keep you folks updated accordingly.
12 April, 2017
Tullio's an author who believes the greatest virtue of speculative fiction is the Socratic exercise. Suppose blank: what are your choices, what are your beliefs? In his view, a good speculative story can tell you more about yourself as a reader than about the author who crafted it, because it doesn't beat you on the head with a stick: it confronts you with a complex situation akin to those we face in every day real life. That's what goes into his writing.
So, let me start with an obvious one. What are you working on?
Tullio: Hello, Ash! Let me just say I'm very happy to be here. My main WIP is a sci-fi novel, sprinkled with alternate history. The setting is the result of WW2 ending on white peace that allowed all major combatants to survive, and led to a fractured, multi-polar international order. Throw in an alien invasion that is not really what it seems, and a wide cast of characters of different ideologies that need to learn how to work together in order to uncover mysteries far bigger than humanity, and you've pretty much got my vision on paper. I'm nearing first draft completion.
That's a lot of detail. Did you have to do much research?
Tullio: Yup, and actually a lot of it is still underway! But no biggie. I love contemporary history and international relations in and of themselves; that they influence my narrative and world building is perhaps an even bigger testament to that.
Drafting and researching? Sounds like you might be a pantser!
Tullio: Indeed! Or a gardener, as GRRM would have it. It's given me plenty of headaches – but also the burning desire to see this story through.
Glad to hear it. So why do you believe stories are so important to us, both as writers and readers?
Tullio: In my view, stories are just models of our reality. Maybe they served some very particular purpose in the darkness of the long nights of prehistory . . . I don't know. But stories are older than writing (just look at the Aboriginal Dreamtime). And they're powerful. We might have gone forward to develop more refined models with philosophy and science, but stories retain the power to convey and explain reality in scale, in bites that we can consume. Of course, the less granular a model is, the more detail you lose, and that's why, at the end of the day, it's fiction.
That sounds cool! And finally, do you have any advice for writers who are starting out their journey?
Tullio: Yes: learn structure, even if you're a pantser. Not a whole lot has changed in this regard since Aristotle, and while structure shouldn't be a straitjacket, or something you necessarily plan against, it should at least help you diagnose your story beats. There's a reason why some structures are prevalent – they are designed to keep the reader interested, and raise the stakes when appropriate.
You can follow him on his blog and Facebook page. You can also check out the article he wrote for Earth Island Journal under a different name.
31 March, 2017
Recently a friend of mine asked what went into my marketing platforms, such as the one I did leading up to the release of Cabover Cabaret, so I thought I would transform our conversation into an informative "Behind the Scenes" look for your pleasure.
To begin with, I'll preface that I do most everything myself, so the financial cost for my marketing endeavors ultimately comes down to just my time. I'm the writer, artist, editor, layout editor, advertiser, promoter, so on and so forth. About the only thing I can't do myself is peer review, and for that I have wonderful connections via an online critiquing group that provides me the essential feedback I need to make my stories the best they can be.
First and foremost, though, I am my own agent. I'm responsible for setting everything up outside the actual writing in order to sell my product to the public. In this particular case, I had to set the deadline for myself a year in advance: I wanted to publish my next short story in February.
|Plan ahead. Really far ahead.|
13 March, 2017
26 February, 2017
"Though the road's been rocky it sure feels good to me." ~ Bob MarleyWhen I last updated you, the little heathen had been evading my every attempt to complete its ending. Having had my mental break from it to handle Cabover Cabaret, I came to realize that part of my problem with Comedy of Rain was that I couldn't focus on its ending while stressing about all the NaNoWriMo word vomit I'd padded the opening chapters with. I'd rehashed the plot of Tragedy of Ice so much that Comedy of Rain wasn't standing on its own.
First order of business when picking it back up was to return to the beginning. Working with the presumption that folks reading Comedy of Rain will have read or reread Tragedy of Ice before starting it, I began stripping out any details for equipment, places, history, etc. that had already been thoroughly covered in the first book. For everything I pulled out, though, I took pains to flesh out concepts and plot points that are new and relevant to Comedy of Rain's plot line. Since I have the majority of book two written, I drew in issues that Kadiza and the others would be facing, and began laying a more solid foundation for them.
And then there was the other matter to attend to, the one of greatest importance. With everything I had already written, I knew Franklin and Hipólito's personal goals for Comedy of Rain, but I didn't have anything hardline for Kadiza. Which, to be blunt, was total horseshit considering she's the main character. I sat down with some writer friends, and I made bullet points for events and Kadiza's reaction (or lack thereof) to them, and eventually there was that "EUREKA!" moment where we figured out what her personal goal for Comedy of Rain was supposed to be."Stop making excuses. [. . .] You’re old enough to make the decision to start over and rewrite your script. Nothing will change for you until you do.”~ John Carlton, The Entrepreneur's Guide To Getting Your Shit Together
Once that was settled, I began tackling Comedy of Rain in full force, shaping Kadiza's attitude and POV chapters around her personal goal, and I gotta say it's made quite the difference. Then to top it all off, I was doing an art party with two other artist/writer friends, and they gave me an epiphany for my ending.
Needless to say, I'm gung-ho toward the ending and chock-full of renewed enthusiasm for this book. If you've been following me on Twitter, then you know I've already made my way up through chapter 5. I'm striving to hit the full ending by the last week of March, so if you want to follow me, tweet exchange, and chit-chat about writings-in-progress, I'd love to hear from you!
11 February, 2017
10 February, 2017
04 February, 2017
To get your free copy of Comeuppance through Smashwords, please enter code GD23V upon checkout.
Each copy of Comeuppance will come with a sneak peek of Cabover Cabaret!
Click here for your free copy of Comeuppance.
28 January, 2017
To get your free copy of Evening Hallow through Smashwords, please enter code VJ52B upon checkout.
Each copy of Evening Hallow will come with a sneak peek of Cabover Cabaret!
Click here to get your free copy of Evening Hallow.
27 January, 2017
When I started Contact Files, I knew right away that this was an enormous task for one writer. Can I do it? Of course I can, but it may take me a decade to pour everything out. I'd love to find other writers to work with on the later books or adapting the books to screenplay.
22 January, 2017
To get your free copy of Thoroughbred through Smashwords, please enter code AH79T upon checkout.
Each copy of Thoroughbred will come with a sneak peek of Cabover Cabaret!
Click here to get your free copy of Thoroughbred.
12 January, 2017
For those of you who've been seeing it on my Twitter feed, you know that this is the finished cover for Cabover Cabaret, my next short story due to be released tentatively 10 February 2016.
In this serial, we return to Arthurfield, WV, my crossroads for the preternatural. Here we have Reggy, a weretiger who's survived more than enough centuries to make him cynical, and yet he has found ways to remain jovial enough. His newest partner, Thomas, just started working for Discreet movers, a company that specializes in the needs of the preternatural community. Together, they'll be in for one hell of an evening in terms of weird and unusual events.
This one has definitely been a labour of love, with many a rewrite, many a cry, and many a "How the crap do I make this thing shorter—it's already 16,000 words!" Well, that last one didn't turn out the way I wanted, but that's okay. The pacing, according to my beta readers, is great enough that they didn't notice the length. I'd call that a win.
As to its release, Cabover Cabaret will be the fourth Appalachian Dream Tale, and will be available through multiple vendors, such as Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, etc. As the author, I ask that—if you can—please make your purchase through Smashwords, as they offer the best return for authors as far as royalties are concerned. I know it may not seem like much, but that kind of incentive helps self-publishing authors like myself stay committed to their craft, maintain their resources, and renew their websites. So thank you in advance, and I hope to have the pre-orders up soon for you folks!
Party on, Wayne! :)
Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of No Signal, Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects.
When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.