Tuesday, December 29, 2009

marketing newsletter, classes for 2010!

Is one of your resolutions to better market your books? If so, I have some programs to help. I offer easy but comprehensive online classes on fun but effective marketing tools and have a weekly newsletter that guides you through the marketing process.

Here are the classes I’m offering for January, and info about the newsletter. This is a terrific time to subscribe to the newsletter, as I’ve re-organized the entire 54 weeks into a comprehensive marketing schedule. To register for any of these, please go to http://www.karinafabian.com/index.php?name=Content&pid=24.

The 30-Minute Marketer Newsletter: Marketing can seem a daunting task, but you can make inroads with only 30 minutes a week. But where do you start? While other newsletters give you dozens of wonderful ideas but no direction, The 30-Minute Marketer has organized those ideas and the well-known standards of marketing into a scheduled plan for you to follow. It also tells you how to accomplish these tasks. Don’t get overwhelmed - get organized with The 30-Minute Marketer!


"Virtual Book Tours": Learn how to arrange and conduct your own on-line book tour! We'll cover finding blogs and podcasts, getting the gig, coordinating the stops. You'll come away with a tour for your book. REGISTRATION OPEN. CLASS RUNS JAN 4-FEB 5, 2010.

"Video Book Trailers": Creating your own book trailer video doesn't have to expensive or difficult. With free pictures, free music and Windows Movie Maker, you can make your own in a weekend. This class will take you through the basics. Must have Windows MovieMaker or some movie-making program you are familiar with. REGISTRATION OPEN. CLASS RUNS JAN 4-FEB 5, 2010.

Happy new year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Gots a Netbook!

My wonderful husband bought me a netbook for Christmas. It's small and super light, and just what I wanted.

This past year, I've been on the go a lot. I've gone to conferences and out-of-town signings, plus just running the kidlets around. I've been lugging my laptop everywhere, and despite the durability claims the salesman at Best Buy made, it's definitely shown the wear-and-tear. That's probably why the poor thing is in the shop right now. In addition, my shoulders are just sore from hauling it and a copy of each of my books around. (I never travel without copies to show off in airports, etc.)

So Rob got me an Eee PC Seashell for Christmas. The whole thing is almost as light as a paper notebook, and lighter than the 3-ring-binder I use as an organizer. In fact, I think this thing would fit in one of those big zippered organizers if I were so inclined. However, the keyboard is just right for my hands--in fact, I'm noticing fewer typos on it. The memory and processing is sufficient for my needs, which are writing, e-mail and word processing, with Yahoo IM in the background. It lacks a CD drive, which is weird, but I hardly need that, anyway, except to add programs, and I don't have a lot I want on it, anyway.

I'll be putting it through its paces until I get my laptop back, then taking it on the road. I'll let you know in a couple of months if it's living up to its promise, but right now, I just have to say...

EEEEEEEE! I gots a netbook PCEEEEEEE!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dead computer

My computer bit the dirt this week. The touch pad stopped working, among other things I was ignoring, so I took it to the Geek Squad (it's under warranty.) They said I should get it back in 3 weeks. In figured this is the best time to get it fixed, anyway, as I have the Catholic Writers Conference Online to get ready for in January and Feb.

In the meantime, I'm working off Rob's but also giving myself a break. You'd think this would be the ideal time, adn it is. I'm spending time with the kids, working on Amber's quincenera party stuff (dress and party favors), and reading and daydreaming. However, I'm also itching to write stories on my computer, and the newsletters I was working on are on hold unless I re-create (or get another laptop that I can then hook up to my back-up drive.)

So, My novel's journey and My editing journey are on hold. I'll blog a little about what I'm doing with all this computer-free time. It really is like a kind of technical detox: I have substitutes and withdrawal, find myself going to my empty desk, feel restless like I should be DOING something, and am leraning to focus elsewhere.

Rob's shopping with Amber, so I'm closing now to go check online e-mail and some groups. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Editing Journey: Dialogue in Discovery

I'd said one of the things I needed to do was change Ann's way of speaking. Let's explore that today.

Dialogue is a great way to show your character: their education, their interests, their thought processes. Sometimes, as the character develops in your mind, her way of speaking changes. That happened to Sister Ann. An orphan rescued and raised by the Sisters, she has an unusual background and a mind like a sponge. She can absorb and process technical manuals like a child's game. She does the same for other writings, but philosophy and psychology are harder for her to understand. Her experience with the outside world is limited to living at the convent and rescuing spacers. Her faith is strong and at times, visionary, but she's never thought much about it being unique.

As the ship and its crew get into deeper danger, she is receiving Divine Guidance through the help of prophets and saints. This was such fun to play with, but since I didn’t set her up as a mystic and a little odd, it looks like she's gone mad. Also, I needed her to be more odd to begin with to justify the crew's reaction to her, particularly Dr. Thoren's, who considers her a threat to their mission.

The best way to show this is in her speech (and later in her interior monologues). Here's one of the first conversations she has. She's just quoted Brother Jubal about his life as a hermit on the moon.


"Yet God called him to go minister to the Drake Lunar station. He left the life he loved and as a result, came to love life more. But could he have done it if he hadn't had that revelation of God's love? Then, there's St. Gillian: she loved the grandeur and beauty of Earth. She grew up on a ranch and used to go riding in the mountains--on an animal!"

"A horse. Lots of people ride horses on earth."

"A horse! Yes! But her husband got injured when the gravity generator he was developing blew up, and could never return to a heavy gravity world, and she came out into space to minister to him. For love, she could do it, but it was love for her husband."

Rita wondered if the change of subject was to ease her own fears; if so, she welcomed it. "But her faith in God and her hope that He would bring something good from her sacrifice gave her the strength to live on L5. And of course, with her help, R Charles perfected his gravity generator."

"Her nagging, you mean!" Ann laughed. "Have you ever read his dairies? They're very funny." Her voice deepened as she quoted, "'I finally just went to work so she wouldn't keep telling me about the martyrs. Martyrs! Torture! A shrew for a wife--that's torture!' She knew he needed to work to take his mind off his pain, and she loved him enough to risk his wrath and make him do what he wouldn't do for himself. Despite his grumbling, he understood that, and he loved her all the more. Human love is a powerful force, too, isn't it?"

See how she's very straightforward in her expression? It also feels too much like telling. I have to admit, the conversation bothered me from the beginning, but only until I knew Ann better did I understand why. Here's the second draft:

"Yet God called him to go minister to the Drake Lunar station. He left the life he loved and as a result, came to love life more. But could he have done it if he hadn't had that revelation of God's love? Then, there's St. Gillian: Nowhere do I feel closer to God than watching the sunrise across the mountains. God made this world to suit us; and us, uniquely suited for it. She rode animals."

"Horses. Lots of people ride horses."

"And shrews ride people."


Ann's voice deepened as she mimicked a man's snarl. "'Research! Work! Give your pain to God!' Vaccing shrew rides me like one of her horses. R. Charles Hawkins was very cranky after his accident. He wanted to give up work on the gravity generator and die, and Gillian left earth to be with him full time at L5. I guess it's easier to ride someone in zero g."

Rita had long broken the habit of smacking her own forehead, but times like these brought back the urge. "I think he's speaking figuratively."

This is more "Ann": making some leaps of logic that no one else understands (R. Charles called his wife "shrew" + she rides him = shrews ride people), shows her literal thinking, and isn't as straightforward as the first conversation. It's also 100 words shorter, an advantage.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Catholic Writers Conference Online Provides Practical Help

This is a press release I invite you to share with others. Folks can contact me for more information.

Catholic Writers Conference Online Provides Practical Help

World Wide Web--This year's Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, which will be held February 26-March 5, 2010, will focus on the practical things the writer needs to succeed.

The conference is held via chats and forums at www.catholicwritersconference.com. Sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild, the online conference is free of charge and open to writers of all levels who register between October 1, 2009 and February 15, 2010.

"We've always concentrated on workshops and chats that teach the writer skills or provide information in the areas of crafting, publishing and marketing their works, but this year, we're adding critique workshops and some incredible opportunities to pitch to leading publishers," said organizer Karina Fabian.

This year, publishers hearing pitches include well known Catholic publishers like Pauline, large Christian publishers like Thomas Nelson, and smaller presses like White Rose. Thus far, eleven pitch sessions are scheduled, running the gamut from Christian romance to Catholic theology.

In a new program, at least fifty attendees will have the opportunity to have pieces of their work critiqued by successful editors and writers. In addition, there will be forum-based workshops and chat room presentations covering topics from dialogue to freelancing to how Catholic fiction differs from Christian fiction.

"Even in good economic times, it's hard for writers to attend live conferences," said Fabian, "but this year, we think it's even more important to help careers by utilizing an online format. We're so grateful that our presenters are willing to share their time and talent."

Early registration is recommended. Although the conference is offered free of charge, donations are accepted; proceeds will go toward future conferences. Non-Catholics may attend, as long as they respect Catholic beliefs and the conference's Catholic focus.

To register or for more information, go to http://www.catholicwritersconference.com.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Editing Journey: Things to do to Discovery

Lots of slicing and dicing to do, some re-arranging, and a whole lot of re-write!

1. Cut down the first chapter. There's too much talk and it moves too slowly compared to the rest. I spend a lot of time explaining things I can show later, and have details that turned out to be unimportant when looking at the entire thing.

2. Cut out some characters. GenSup Hayden didn't prove to be important to the plot. I'll cut him and spread his tasks among other characters. Similarly, a new character showed up that I adored, but he could not accomplish his goals. Meanwhile, the ship's doctor was perfectly suited to accomplish his mission, but had no use until near the end. I can combine them into one character.

3. Make Sr. Ann speak in snatches of quotes, technical specs and insights. She started out as a sweet, straightforward girl, but in the last half started having visions and speaking in gibberish that makes a lot of sense to herself and to the readers (for the most part), but not to everyone else. I came to realize that she was always like this to some degree, but stress will make it more pronounced. So I need to re-write. Besides, she's much more fun when she's talking like River from Firefly!

4. Foreshadow events by developing other characters earlier on. Several characters end up playing a bigger role and having some major issues toward the end. I need to go back and give hints. Ian needs compulsive handwashing, for instance.

5. Cut the talk. I'm a dialogue person, so there is a lot of talk in the NaNo part of the book. I need to be brutal in chopping out the unneeded stuff, putting in some action or a couple of one-sentence summaries.

6. Give characters their names. Too many times, I wrote GUYNAME when I couldn't decide who would do what? Or I'd forget someone's last name or title.

7. Detail check. My rescue bags had air for 12 hours, then 30 minutes, then 2 hours. You'd think I'd remember how much air was in this piece of equipment.

8. When do I write tech that would have solved a problem? If so, I need to write it out or change the problem. Done that once already, and it made for a better ending.

9. Make sure characters are consistent. I'm pretty certain a few changed personalities mid-book.

10. Polish the timeline.

So, you know, not much to do...

Monday, December 07, 2009

My Novel's Journey: Found--One Supervillian Plot

As you know, I've been searching for a supervillian plot for Gapman, as my original idea didn't seem big enough for the book. Like so many things, I mull over stuff until I go nuts, give up, watch TV and get a perfect inspiration!

This time, it was the 2012 movie commercial that did it. What could be bigger than bringing about the end of the world?

Of course, I already did that during Live and Let Fly, so I needed a new twist. For a long time, I played with the Mayan calendar/2012 idea, but I've discarded it for a few reasons:

--I already did Ragnorak in Live and Let Fly, so a legendary end-of-the-world is redundant.

--I didn't want to get into the tangled research I'd feel obligated to do to get this right. I looked at a few websites, and was amazed at the depth of thought people have given this, along with tying in all kinds of other end-of-world prophesies. I wish I could say these people have too much time on their hands, but since the world will end in 2012, I don’t see how that's the case.

--It really doesn't tie into Faerie, and the other subplots I've been developing: the Mundane's re-emerging distrust of the Faerie, especially the Faerie Church; the fact that Satan is trying to bend the rules by establishing a beachhead of Faerie evil in Los Lagos; the mysterious murders of Gap scientists and mages (which I plan to develop fully in Damsels and Knights); the appearance of the unique magic/chemical drug, Puck.

--It ties my universe to a specific date, which I've been avoiding.

--I can do funnier than a defective Mayan calendar.

So, the current Supervillian plot is:

--Author predicted that the opening of the Gap would herald the end of our worlds.

--20 years later, this STILL HAS NOT HAPPENED

--Frustrated author (who is published by a vanity press posing as traditional and has sold a whopping 24 books) is trying again--this time asserting the weather experiment will destroy our ecosystem

--As the world's biggest publicity stunt, is drilling into the poles, where he will pour the frozen ice into the molten core of the earth, stopping the magnetic field, creating a steam cloud that will envelop the earth, yadda-yadda. That way, he gets to have big "I Told You So!" and sell his latest book, a guide to living in the ruined Earth. (need a cathy title).

--He's using magic in his factory to combine titanium with Faerimet. The byproduct happens to be Puck. Yes, people are snorting industrial waste. Is it really that different from real life?

As a side plot, someone's going to ambush Vern and do something nasty to him that won't really show itself until the next DragonEye, PI book. BWAHAHAHA! If you read carefully, you'll see Vern's changing just a bit. At least, if I write it well, you will.

I have to admit though: right now the changes to Discovery are taking up my imagination, so Gapman is moving much slower than expected. That's fine, though--no one's accepted Live and Let Fly yet, so I have time.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

My Editing Journey: Discovery--Five Steps for Editing

It seems appropriate that so soon after over a hundred thousand people participated in National Novel Writing Month, I should be hard at work editing the novel I started as NaNoWriMo in 2006. It had been put aside for several years, but played on my imagination, so this year, I finished it off.

I will never write a novel like that again, half-starting it, then setting it aside. I've lost too much of the original enthusiasm and the ideas had changed with my experiences. Driven as I felt to complete it, I found myself fighting tooth and nail for each scene. At one point, I was ready to scrap the whole thing and stick the plot on The Love Boat, when my insightful friend, Ann Lewis, remarked, "That's because you're not treating it like science fiction. You have this fabulous ship and you're not doing anything with it."

I realized then the fatal mistake of my NaNo work--because it was so fast and seat of the pants, it was limited in its scope. When I realized that, I started writing a much grander plot and a father-reaching theme. I also involved the other characters in ways I never expected. My mind was afire with ideas.

Of course, the end result is that the last third does not match the original two thirds. This will be the most extensive editing project I've ever done. I invite you to join me in the process and perhaps learn something from my mistakes and frustrations.

I expect the editing will take more than my usual five passes, but I'll share those with you now. Next week, I'll tell you my general plans for surgical editing of Discovery, and then each Thursday, I'll report my status.

Five Steps For Editing a Manuscript:

1. Spell and Grammar Check: I do this as a quick check, and I don't believe everything Microsoft says about grammar. There's a lot the word processor doesn't understand. However, it's a good start.

2. Use the Find function for spotting passive voice and other common problems I have. If you use the Find function for words like is, was, were, very, etc., you will discover the passive-voice sentences. I also use it for other common problems I have--words I tend to overuse; names I may have misspelled (I find the misspellings, or use the Replace to change them all.)

3. Print and read it. I always catch more stuff when it's on paper than when I have it on the computer.

4. Read it out loud. This lets me check for flow of narrative and hard to follow sentences. Also, by reading it to my kids, they will tell me what works and what doesn't.

5. Read it backward, one sentence at a time. By isolating each sentence from the narrative, I can better analyze it.

Usually after that, I will give it a final read, beginning to end, on the computer.