Tag Archives: lucinda week

Read an E-Book Week

girlreadingRead an E-Book Week is a site-wide promotion at Smashwords to help authors connect with readers. According to the press package, the catalog includes nearly 40,000 books available for free or discount. That’s a lot of reading materials and it includes books by Eric and me.

Everyday Deals

The first two books of the Apothic Man series, Model Species and Divine Fire, are both available for FREE from Smashwords and Barnes & Noble every day! For Smashwords, just head to the site and download the format that works best for you! If you own a Nook, we’ve got you covered at B&N.

About Model Species:

Alcander, an old man with a decrepit body and shattered sense of self, has a murderous plan to seize power and replace the life he cannot remember. Investigating a body with bizarre wounds fished from the bay are a middling apothynom, Inspector Paulos Gaent, and a religious objector to apothynom rule, Clerk Teria Bellaphaerenous. At cross-purposes, a private detective, Laros Nero, is hired by an anonymous client to discover the identity of the murderer for reasons other than justice. However, it will take more than keen investigative abilities to stop Alcander. It will require the unearthing of dark apothic knowledge that has been buried for an age.

Download Model Species

About Divine Fire:

In the Radiant Agnosian Empire, emetanisms and apothic methods from outside are restricted. The culcursus of an apothynom and the implants of the Oinos are illegal. Apothos is a sacred act that comes from Agnos, their god, the sun.

In Florey, the banking capitol of the Radiant Agnosian Empire, there is unrest. Agnos is smiting the wicked with Divine Fire. Neltiar Silva, an apothynom from the Polities, and Marie Lemieux, a woman possessing a verboten Oinos implant, want to know why and how. As they dig deeper, they find out the real reason men are dying.

Download Divine Fire

More about Weordan, the setting for the Apothic Man series.

Read an E-Book Week Specials at Smashwords

Shhh… Don’t tell Eric, but I put Model Species: The Apothic Edition on sale for 25% off. Just use the coupon code (REW25) when checking out.  The Apothic Edition includes the novel, Model Species, and extra goodies including the short story “A Game of Moths by Gieter RR Morgan.”

Purchase Model Species: The Apothic Edition

The first novel I ever wrote, Lucinda at the Window, is FREE! Just use coupon RW100 at checkout.

About Lucinda at the Window:

Lucinda Harris is very put out.

One of her oldest friends, Rebecca O’Malley, has married an impetuous Irishman. The fortnight-long party at the O’Malley’s newly-inherited rural Ohio Manor is filled with some of the most common people. The Manor itself is in poor condition and staffed by three mostly incompetent servants. Worst of all, Lucinda has been murdered.

Lucinda is determined to solve the mystery of her own death, but unfortunately for the guests of the Manor, the only thing more haunted than the house is Lucinda Harris.

“Purchase” Lucinda at the Window

Lucinda Week, Day 7: What Will I See When I Look Back

First, a big "Thank You!" to everyone who has commented, congratulated, and supported me me this week and in the past, whether online or in person. It’s a very strange thought that people I know might read Lucinda. Geoff Cooper once described writers as "egomaniacs with inferiority complexes." I’m don’t know how accurate that is for all writers, but I’ve certainly had those moments.

You can only have one first and Lucinda at the Window was mine. It was the first novel I wrote, and on the 20th of September, it will be the first to reach publication. All this week, I plan to present a process log detailing the writing of Lucinda at the Window, its path to publication, and how my first has influenced me as a writer.

The semi-official 1st chapter is available for download (PDF).
The novel is available at
Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com

Lucinda Week Index

Some people are good at seeing a clear picture of the future, whether it is an accurate vision or not. I am not one of those people, and I try not to worry about it. I don’t know how many copies Lucinda will sell or how it will be received by those who read it. Most of that is out of my control now. I’ve written the book; it’s a book I’d enjoy reading. To some degree, that’s the main thing a writer does.

What does interest me is how past decisions and experiences shape the present. When I signed the contract with Stone Garden I decided that, at very least, it would be an experience. In the process of editing the novel and writing this log, I’ve come to realize the importance of my collaboration with Eric. Lucinda at the Window is the viable novel we collaborated on the least.* When left to my own devices I meander my way through a story and get lost in its dark, dead-end alleys. Minnette’s primary criticism of Lucinda in the editing process was that I include too much detail, that my sentences often contain unnecessary words. Being succinct is important. This was a lesson I had half-learned in the writing of my fourth novel Pas de Chat. I wrote Pas de Chat over the summer of 2004. Eric and I discussed what was going on in the novel nearly every day. The writing is tight; worlds ahead of Lucinda.

I say this lesson was half-learned because, despite the obvious advantages of having someone "in-house" to keep me on the right track in terms of plot  and to prevent me from skipping down descriptive primrose paths, I resist. Over the course of our relationship, the most knock-down drag-out fights between Eric and I have been over writing. I take the position of the lone writer "artiste" against his practical, dispassionate objectivity. It is a false view and it leads to useless arguments. Even for the writer that isn’t in an active collaboration, writing is not a solitary process in the end. And despite Eric’s overview perspective, he is truly concerned in making our writing better…and not just annoying me. Working with an editor has given me a better perspective on this. Changing behavior based on lessons "learned" is no one’s strong point, but maybe I’ve finally had this one drilled into my head.

Obviously, I’m learning about the promotion aspect of having a product with my name on it. If I’m lucky, I’ll have to learn to deal with criticisms and reviews and problems of publication that I can not fathom. Successful or not, this is the start of a new aspect of my career that will have to be managed. If you’ll pardon the paradox, I look forward to seeing what lessons I’ll have learned from this time in my life.

For this last day of Lucinda Week, I ‘d like to share a piece of art my sister Tessa drew many years ago to accompany Lucinda at the Window‘s first chapter. I wish I could link to some of her more current art because the canvases and guitar customizations I saw over the summer were really impressive.

*Eric had even less day-to-day involvement with novels #2 & #3, the sprawling, non-viable fantasy novels.

Lucinda Week, Day 6: XXX in the Accept Column

You can only have one first and Lucinda at the Window was mine. It was the first novel I wrote, and on the 20th of September, it will be the first to reach publication. All this week, I plan to present a process log detailing the writing of Lucinda at the Window, its path to publication, and how my first has influenced me as a writer.

I have a simple spread sheet that I use to keep track of submissions. The first column is labeled TITLE. The second is PUBLISHER, which could be more descriptively labeled as “Editor/Agent”. The next two columns are for DATE SENT and RESPONSE DATE. Columns E and F are labeled ACCEPT and REJECT and every response is accounted for by three capital Xs in one of these columns.

By 2007, I hadn’t given up on Lucinda at the Window, but I wasn’t working as hard to resubmit after a round of rejection slips. This was mainly a function of being a busier writer. After finishing Lucinda, I did what any writer does: I started another book. By 2007, I had written two sprawling, flawed fantasy novels (that have been fodder for a later novels) and a tight contemporary horror novel (which I am still  submitting to publishers and agents), and in 2004, Eric and I started work on a loose series of books set in on a non-Earth world. The process of researching markets for Lucinda, sending out submissions, and receiving rejections was no less painful than at the beginning, but it had become a necessary routine. Searching through my LiveJournal archive, I find that Lucinda is mentioned at least quarterly no matter what else I am doing. Therefore, it came as a shock when Kristofer Stamp of StoneGarden.net Publishing contacted me on September 19, 2007 with a contract offer. As one of the “new” internet-connected publishers, I had sent a complete manuscript to Stone Garden along with my cover email. The contract was attached. And I was flummoxed.

I didn’t tell anyone for a day. Eric had recently returned to school to begin work on a master’s degree. He was very busy with homework that week, and I didn’t want to distract him. I am also a bit of a pessimist and, like a newly pregnant woman, I didn’t want to get people (or myself) excited until I had decided nothing would go wrong. I emailed Andy on the 20th and told Eric later that day. I took a week to contemplate the contract, and to have Eric and Andy look it over. I sent it back on September 28th.

Then I waited. Kris Stamp had let me know that the docket for 2007 and 2008 was full. Lucinda wouldn’t be published until 2009. It tried to be very zen about the wait. 2008’s recession was slightly alarming, but I could see how a smaller publisher might be outside of the problems bigger houses and booksellers were having. I parried questions about progress from family and friends with the phrase, “I’m not going to worry about it until 2009.” My plan was to query in January of ’09 if I hadn’t heard anything. There was no need. Minnette Meador, working as an editor for Stone Garden, contacted me in December. We bounced files back and forth with editing suggestions and changes. It was a good process, though cringe-worthy. I was revisiting a novel I had written nearly a decade before.

In June, while I was visiting my family in Nebraska, Kris Stamp uploaded the cover art for the third quarter novels. Including Lucinda at the Window. Slowly, measure by measure, what began as three pages of “assigned” writing had become book.

[Tomorrow: What I’ve Learned]

Lucinda Week, Day 5: How Many Rejections DID Lucinda Get?

You can only have one first and Lucinda at the Window was mine. It was the first novel I wrote, and on the 20th of September, it will be the first to reach publication. All this week, I plan to present a process log detailing the writing of Lucinda at the Window, its path to publication, and how my first has influenced me as a writer.

The semi-official 1st chapter is available for download (PDF).
The novel is available at
Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com

Lucinda Week Index

Every-so-often Eric will ask, "How many rejections DID Lucinda get?"

I always claim to not remember.

The joy of finishing a novel, being in that 10% (an important thing for a former over-achiever), is short-lived for me. The process of deciding where to to send the finished novel, the fretting over a cover/query letter and synopsis, the anxiety over whether everything is to the potential editor/agent’s specs: these things turn me into a neurotic mess. Worse yet, these efforts are most commonly met with a coldly-written half-slip of paper sent back in your own SASE. It’s not pleasant, but it is necessary.

When I started submitting Lucinda at the Window back in 2000, it was a very different world. The internet was not yet the useful tool it is today. I began by purchasing the most recent Writer’s Market, a weighty and pricey tome, and began to educate myself in the differences between submitting a novel-length work versus a short story, which I had published in the past. Looking at the hierarchy of publishing, I decided to start at the top. There was no reason not to. Many of the major publishing houses still accepted unsolicited queries and writing samples. My first submission packages were to them. While I knew it wasn’t likely, part of me expected to sell Lucinda within the first year. Or the second at the latest.

Richard Laymon wrote in A Writer’s Tale that rejection slips are badges of honor that show "you’ve done your duty. You’ve written your stuff and sent it out. You’ve done your part. … They’re not fun to get." The rejections for Lucinda were not the first I had ever received, but these were different from short story rejections. They were form letters, sometimes only a half sheet of paper. They were addressed to "Author". They were also rejecting something I had put two years of work into, instead of a two months. And hadn’t I put enough sweat and blood into the query to deserve more than a Xeroxed shoddily-cut half-sheet? It’s easy to get righteously indignant as an author. It also does little good.

For the first three years or so, I re-queried the big houses on a yearly basis. This is probably not a good thing to do, but I didn’t know better. Eventually, due to 9/11 or corporate consolidation or other factors, most of the big publishing houses stopped accepting unsolicited queries. I started adding agents to my submission list. In the meantime, the internet began to get interesting. Information about houses and agents was plentiful. Editors and agents began to blog about what they did!* More importantly, the internet was opening up new publishing avenues. Smaller publishing houses had new methods of marketing and distributing. POD and ebooks began to be viable options. While the storied, highly regarded publishing industry was becoming less accessible, a new opportunities were opening up.

Lucinda at the Window was rejected by 25 different editors and agents between February of 2000 and September of 2007. In that time, a partial was requested once and I received one hand-written note. Rejections still sting. I’ve learned to take what morbid amusement I can in them, such as a cool stamp on the rejection from a UK publisher, and remember that no one becomes a published author by never submitting their work.

Royal Mail!

[Tomorrow: XXX in the Accept Column]

*And gained an order of magnitude more respect from me. I am continually stunned by the numbers Jennifer Jackson quotes in her Query Wars posts. Editors and agents work hard. Be nice to them.

Lucinda Week, Day 4: The Real Work is Making It…Better

You can only have one first and Lucinda at the Window was mine. It was the first novel I wrote, and on the 20th of September, it will be the first to reach publication. All this week, I plan to present a process log detailing the writing of Lucinda at the Window, its path to publication, and how my first has influenced me as a writer.

The semi-official 1st chapter is available for download (PDF).
The novel is available for purchase at
Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

Lucinda Week Index

About a month ago, while moving stuff from one part of the apartment to another, I came across several printed out emails from my friend Andy regarding the ending of Lucinda at the Window.* The ending went through four rewrites, and all of them were sent to Andy for his invaluable input and opinion. It was the first section of the novel to received extra attention. The ending of Lucinda is a hard-sell. Eric had to work to convince me that it was the best, and perhaps only, ending. It had to be written just right. In terms of plot, it was possibly the only thing that changed from the initial draft.

Dubiously, Lucinda is the most workshopped of my novels. In the fall of 1998, I took a graduate-level writing class at UNL. Honestly, it was very similar to the undergraduate writing classes except that students were expected to be working on novels or at least a novella. We all brought in the first 3-5 chapters to be read and discussed. Mine was one of the few works of genre fiction. While my fellow students were enthusiastic, the professor didn’t quite catch on to the supernatural aspects of the plot. Eric and I also participated in a workshop with Nancy Kilpatrick at World Horror Con in 2004. This was more helpful, emphasizing how the first chapter of a book can be improved to hook the reader. The first chapter of Lucinda was slimmed-down 4.5 years after the thrill of putting THE END on the ‘final’ draft.

In many ways, Lucinda at the Window spoiled me. Four rewrites of one scene and the removal of extraneous details isn’t much. At the time, the tooth-grinding over those last twenty pages was agony enough to blot out the carefree days of first 450. But it was worth it. It’s said that 90% of writers never finish their novel. For about an hour, it was good to be in that ten percent.

[Tomorrow: How Many Rejections Did Lucinda Receive?]

*I’ve been looking for the emails since Sunday, but I can’t remember in which cunning place I put them. I offer in their stead, as today’s archival document, a planning/rewriting artifact: the 3×5 used to keep track everyone.

Lucinda Week, Day 3: How I Wrote a Novel (while life occurred)

You can only have one first and Lucinda at the Window was mine. It was the first novel I wrote, and on the 20th of September, it will be the first to reach publication. All this week, I plan to present a process log detailing the writing of Lucinda at the Window, its path to publication, and how my first has influenced me as a writer.

The official 1st chapter is available for download (PDF).
Lucinda Week Index

I sometimes think I’ve gone soft as a writer.

I wrote Lucinda at the Window over a period of two years from roughly January 1998 to January 2000.

In 1998, as a December ’97 graduate, I was working full-time for UNL Food Service while applying to grad schools with intent of being a student again in the fall. Neither of the graduate schools I applied to accepted me. After my hysterics ended, I decided to hold off on incurring more school debt and see how this novel I was writing would turn out. I was navigating my first serious, long-term relationship, a relationship resulted in an engagement in 1999 and marriage later in 2000. For the first time in my life, I was not attending school and was paying my bills without the benefit of financial aid. During that two year period, I moved twice: the first time, few blocks from my over-priced apartment to a hole-in-the-wall, and the second time (in 1999), from Lincoln to Tempe, AZ. I had rarely left the state of Nebraska much less lived on the other side of the plains *and* the Rocky Mountains.

Even if you remove the the fact that I was working on my first novel, that period of my life was filled to rim with change.

Nevertheless, the novel was written. I don’t know how. Now-a-days, I sit down at my computer and write. That writing is filled with distractions and interruptions, but it is what I have the luxury of doing every day. I don’t remember doing that often with Lucinda. I know I must have. I wrote the majority of the novel on my old Brother word processor with its three-inch high, green digital display. Every chapter had a separate file and I printed each chapter to work on edits. Eric says I worked on weekends. I also worked through parts of chapters longhand. Looking through Lucinda’s manuscript box, Chapter Three shares notebook space with materials for my grad school applications* and work for Chapter Four was started on the back of a Cather-Pound Residence Hall menu. According to a journal entry from 01/08/99, I wrote while home sick from work.

Looking at those initial notes is a trip down Not-Remembered Lane. Edwin’s last name was originally Newland and his wife was originally Beatrice. Josie (who was then named Tabitha) briefly had a little brother. Somewhere along the way, the "cast" was set and my first novel was written in the way many novels are: in the minutes and hours most writers salvage from their days. It does seem strange to me that now, without the pressures of full-time work and cross-country moves, I often struggle to get writing done.

[Tomorrow: The Real Work is Making It…Better]

*It would have cost me $251 to take the GRE and apply to three schools. I compromised and skipped the GRE and applied to two ($115).

Lucinda Week, Day 2: So, what’s next?

You can only have one first and Lucinda at the Window was mine. It was the first novel I wrote, and on the 20th of September, it will be the first to reach publication. All this week, I plan to present a process log detailing the writing of Lucinda at the Window, its path to publication, and how my first has influenced me as a writer.

The semi-official 1st chapter is available for download (PDF).
Lucinda Week Index

I remember the first conversation about Lucinda occurring in the truck.* It might not be the real memory of the event, but an amalgamation of many conversations held in Eric’s Nissan. The potentially false memory has him picking me up from work the day after I gave him those first three pages to read. The pages that would eventually become Chapter One.

"So, what are your thoughts on what happened to Lucinda?" he asked.

"I don’t know," I said. "I wasn’t planning to do anything with it."

"You have to have some ideas," he insisted.

I probably did, but they weren’t anything I was willing to share. I don’t really remember. In fact, one of the stranger things I’ve discovered about collaborating is that, for me, ideas get munged together. A manuscript is eventually revised, but so are my memories of who came up with what, or what was the original thought behind a plot point or character.

"I don’t have any plans for it," I equally insisted. I was also slightly annoyed that he hadn’t said anything about the writing itself. Hadn’t I done a good job with the atmosphere?

"You could do this with it…" And Eric gave a suggestion on who was standing on the lawn, what he’d done to Lucinda, and where the story might go from there.

Writing that novel was a fairly overwhelming thought. I stuck to my guns. "I wasn’t planning on–"

"Or this…! That would be cool. Or how about…?"

Eric had three or four ideas. I was being purposefully dense, and it took me a while to see that he was excited about ideas based on something *I* had written. I am pretty stubborn, so it took some persuading on his part to convince me that I could do "something" with the atmosphere piece I had written. Much of my attitude was based in fear. I was being given a cool idea, but I didn’t think I could do it justice. Despite learning that a writer should give herself permission to suck on the first draft (especially), I wasn’t yet willing to put the theory into practice. In the end, I agreed to work on it because, well, what else did I have going on?

In the scheme of Eric and I as collaborators, Lucinda is much more my book than his. He’d spin a "what if" and I’d run with it until I’d hit a wall. He’d read every few days, point me in the direction of the end of the book, and give me a push. Occasionally, I would add some new character or object that had relevance, but I wouldn’t know why it was relevant. It was then too that Eric would supply more plot detail.

A prime example of this (and of my forgetting where details come from) is the tinder box. David, my main protagonist, finds a tinder box in one scene:

"What’s in the box?" Eric asked.

"Well, I don’t know. It’s just there."

With a sigh, he’d figure out what was in the box and why it was now an important part of the plot.

I don’t remember this, but I don’t doubt that it happened either.

Eric is thinking about posting his own thoughts on how Lucinda at the Window came to be.  I’ll definitely link to that if he doesn’t respond here.

[Tomorrow: How I Wrote a Big, Damn Novel.]

*Yes, the same truck that Eric still drives.