I’m being interviewed today over at the My Books, My World blog. It’s a really in-depth interview, and it talks about my books, my writing process, and my greatest accomplishments (making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, natch). Big thank you to Amy Bernal for having me!
Quick admin note: The winners of the Embracing the Demon blog tour giveaway have been selected. I have not been given permission to publish their names, so I will not do so here. However, I have e-mailed the three of them to let them know that I sent the books out in the mail today.
Each of the winners will receive a signed copy of The Demon Within, the first book in the Dale Highland series.
Congratulations to each of the winners, and thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway and followed my blog tour!
The Embracing the Demon publication date has been delayed, just a little; it will now be coming out in June 2018. (I don’t have an exact date yet.)
I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, I’m so anxious for the book to be out in the world, and I was looking forward to debuting it at Awesome Con in March (more on that in a second), but…to be honest, I’m kind of relieved. I finished the ARC draft of Embracing back in November, and was immediately bombarded with the holidays and all they entail. A March publication date wouldn’t have given me a lot of time to pitch guests blogs, do interviews, and just basically make a nuisance of myself on the internet. Moreover, it wouldn’t have given my publisher much time to submit the book to reviewers and trade publications. So yes, those extra few months give me a lot more breathing room, and I hope this book release will turn out better for it.
(Also, look at my cover. Isn’t it purdy? I got a wee bit obsessive about certain details in this cover, and I’m sure my editor was thisclose to strangling me–only the fact that he’s in California, and I’m in Virginia, prevented my demise. Also the fact that I owe him three more books. But I think it turned out for the best. I may actually like this cover better than the one for The Demon Within.)
As part of my promotional efforts, I’ve lined up a couple of appearances later this year:
March 30-April 2, 2018
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
“Noir on the Bar” Reading Series
May 6, 2018, 7 p.m.
I’ll put these up on my Appearances page as soon as I can.
Website updates will likely be coming soon, with some additional information about Embracing the Demon and, hopefully, an excerpt–will have to check with the publisher about that one. And hopefully, I won’t wait three months to update my blog again *bashful face*.
More to come!
Hey guys! I know I’ve been MIA lately; I’ve been hard at work on my revisions for Embracing the Demon, which are due at the end of this month. (As in, a few days from now. Cue freakout.)
But I did want to let you know that I am being interviewed on the Attic Ghost blog today, talking about my writing, why I gravitated to the urban fantasy genre, and (of course) my cats!
Thank you to author Kathy Finfrock for featuring me!
One of the questions I get asked a lot as a writer is, “Who would you like to play [insert character’s name] in a movie?
This is always hard for me, because I have very specific ideas about what these characters look like, and very rarely does an actor look/feel exactly right enough for me.
But one actor I’ve seen gets pretty close.
Presenting William Moseley…a.k.a. my fantasy casting pick for John.
You may remember him as Peter Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia films, but as you can see he’s grown up quite a bit since then. (And the years have been quite kind!)
He’s not a complete match for John: John has light brown eyes in the books, while Moseley’s are blue. And if you decide to do a Google image search–which I wholeheartedly encourage–you’ll have to sift through a lot of pubescent photos of him to get to the more recent ones where he has more of a John vibe–John looks like he’s in his mid-30s, so the younger Moseley just had too much of a baby face.
But this is the first time I’ve seen a picture of an actor that I’ve felt that spark, like, “Yes, that’s who I’ve been seeing in my mind!”
Have his people call my people. We’ll do lunch. (More important question, do you think he can do a passable American accent?)
So…Embracing the Demon. Dale, book 2.
The good news is, the book is coming along. I’ve got about 40,000 words right now. I’m not stuck, and I don’t feel like I’ve written myself into a corner. My editor read a good chunk of it, and he’s happy with how it’s coming. This is good news. When we were working on The Demon Within, I basically had to rewrite the book from the original manuscript I submitted to him. Then after his feedback on the rewritten draft, I still had to go back and gut the entire middle section. It was an arduous process, and there were days when I felt like giving up completely. I figured maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a professional writer. For perspective: I signed my contract with California Coldblood in May of 2014. I submitted the final manuscript to my editor in November of 2015. Even after that, there were copy edits and minor changes, but I was mostly out of it by then.
That’s not what’s going on here.
This time, I did a lot of the work up front by writing an extensive outline of the story ahead of time and submitting it to my editor. As much as my pantser heart hated to do it, I have to admit that it is helping considerably, especially now that I’m truly in the middle section of the story (which has always been the hardest part for me). Whenever I get stuck, I just refer back to the outline. I’ve got a map to give me directions.
The problem I’m facing now is that the story is not coming fast enough, and because of that, I’m looking at the very real possibility that Embracing the Demon won’t be out until 2018.
When I sit down to write, I average about 1,000 words. On a good day, I might be able to push it closer to 1,500 or 2,000. On a bad day, I might only write a few hundred. Some days, I don’t write. I’ve heard so many writers give the advice to “write every day, no matter what,” but that has never worked for me. Writing is a job–on top of my other, full-time job. I love it, but some days, my brain just needs a break. Other days, I just don’t have time to write. Maybe I’m busy at work (the full-time job, the one that currently pays the bills) or I’ve got other appointments that don’t bring me home until late. Most weeks, I’m averaging about 4-5 days of writing time, 2-3 days off.
I know this about myself, though, so I know I should have started sooner. I was very burned out after finishing The Demon Within–and then once I’d recovered enough to write again, I was smack-dab in the middle of buying a house and wedding mania. But even beyond that…I got married in July. I didn’t start working on the outline until October. That’s on me, I know.
I’ll also be the first to admit that I’m not so great with either time management or focus. I’m distracted easily, and tend to fall down the internet rabbit hole too often.
The first draft of The Demon Within was about 100,000 words; the final was about 85,000. Then you need to factor in time for rewrites–which probably won’t be as extensive as they were on the first book, but there are still going to be scenes where my editor says things like, “Add more cool weapons” or “Be more descriptive.” In order to get Embracing the Demon out this year, my editor would have to upload it sometime in the next couple of months. You don’t have to be great with numbers to see that the math doesn’t work out.
I follow other writers on Facebook and Twitter who says things like, “I wrote 10,000 words today!” or “I only wrote 2,500 words today, I’m so disappointed in myself.” To which I’m like, WTF?!? I don’t even know how it’s physically possible to write 10,000 words in one day, and 2,500 words would be a great day for me!
Mostly, though, I’m just oozing jealousy. I genuinely don’t know how one can manage to be that prolific, especially with a full-time job (or kids, or family obligations, or volunteering, or pets, or whatever).
I wrote faster back when I was living on my own, but back then I had fewer demands on my time and distractions. It’s so much easier to write when you have no life!
But, since I have no intention of giving up my husband, my family, my friends, or my cats anytime soon, some mitigating strategies are in order.
–I’m going to be deactivating my personal Facebook account soon. It’s temporary, and I will reactivate when my draft is done. My public author page will stay up, but it’ll probably be less active. This is both for my mental health as well as time management: ever since the election, Facebook has been a hotbed of political activism and discussion. Which is great, but it’s causing me stress I can’t handle right now.
–Twitter will stay up, but again, I may not be around as much. (Twitter has never been my poison.)
–I’m going to try (emphasis on try) to start getting up early in the morning before work to write. I’m not a morning person, so this will likely be the biggest struggle. But I’ve done it before.
–I’m going to try to get to the gym more. Doesn’t directly have anything to do with writing, but it clears my head and makes me feel better.
–After I finish the draft of Embracing the Demon, I’m going to work on some things that aren’t Dale-related. I love Dale, but I’ve been in her head exclusively for way too long now. (The last non-Dale project I worked on was in 2013.)
–And if it does come down to delaying the publication, I’ll have to think about some things to put out in the meantime. Short stories? A Dale novella? A non-Dale novella? Deleted scenes? (God knows I’ve got plenty of them.)
I know that building a writing career is a long process, and it feels better to have a plan. But right now, I’m still grumpy and frustrated with myself. Damn kids. Get off my lawn!
So the coolest thing happened to me on Facebook tonight…
Some background information first: I keep my personal Facebook page and my author Facebook page separate, partially for privacy reasons and partially because I’m very outspoken and I know book readers might not want to hear my opinions on politics and social issues. I do have a few professional acquaintances on my friends list, mostly people I’ve met through various conventions and people I worked with in my CC2K days. But mostly, the people I know on Facebook are people I’ve met socially, and some of them date all the way back to high school. In other words, I figure most of them haven’t read or heard of my book, nor do they care.
I got into a discussion on a friend’s post, and by discussion I mean “minor, non-heated disagreement.” Yes, those are possible on Facebook, however you’d never know it once politics becomes involved. Thankfully, this one was not political, so the vitriol associated with those kinds of arguments was absent.
Then the person I was going back and forth with said this to me:
So for the very first time in my life, I got to say, “Yes, I am that Beth Woodward.”
Seriously, this is probably the coolest thing ever. (On a side note: see, reviews really are important!)
And then I thought, “Hmmm, maybe I should have disagreed a bit less vehemently.”
Thankfully, he followed up with this:
At least I know he didn’t take our
argument non-heated disagreement personally!
So, to the person whose name I redacted for privacy: thank you in advance for reading, and I hope you enjoy the book. And you seriously made my night. Hell, maybe my whole week!
It’s definitely good motivation to get my butt back to work on book 2, which is what I’m going to do right…now.
We are in an era where new books are being published in hard copy and electronic format every single day. But what that means is that any individual book has a harder time standing out from among the masses. We’re competing for people’s time and entertainment dollars with not just other books, but with television, movies, computer games, smartphone apps, etc., etc., etc.
With so many books out there, it can be hard to separate the ones we’ll like from the ones we won’t. It’s easy to be skeptical about a book when it only has a few reviews, and it makes people less likely to want to spend their money on that book.
Andi Cumbo-Floyd, an author and editor I’ve gotten to know this last year through her blog and social media pages, posted a video a few months ago about the importance of reviews, particularly Amazon reviews. (Amazon uses its review system to do a lot of cross-promotion through those “You May Also Be Interested In” links and their direct e-mails.)
So that’s why I’m asking if you could do me a solid this Christmas. If you’ve read the book, I would be super duper grateful if you posted a review. It doesn’t have to be long or involved. Just a couple of sentences saying what you thought about the book.
And hey…even if you didn’t like the book, I’d still appreciate the review. Don’t get me wrong: I’d much rather you liked the book. But I get that my book is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. What you disliked about the book may be exactly why someone else likes it. All reviews are helpful, because they give people different perspectives.
I’ve got to admit, I’m a pretty negligent reviewer. I read a lot, but I don’t review nearly as often as I should. But I’m going to try to remedy that this holiday season. I’ll be spending some of my time off writing reviews for some of the books I’ve read this year, especially for the authors who are not as well known.
Whether it’s for me or someone else, it’s a small thing you can do that will make a huge difference to an author.
Amazon has The Demon Within paperback on sale now for $4.73. I have no idea how long the sale is going to last. So if you’re thinking about buying the book but you’re short on cash, now might be a good time.
Second…I sent out the Goodreads giveaway books on Saturday. US residents should have received their books today. Canadian residents should get them in another week or so. If you don’t receive your book, please feel free to contact me via the e-mail listed on my website.
Happy Holidays, everyone! I’ve been a little busy of late, but I promise a more substantive update soon.
I finally signed and addressed all the books from the Goodreads giveaway. They will be in the mail tomorrow morning.
Winners were notified by Goodreads. If you don’t receive your book in the next few weeks, feel free to contact me via the e-mail address on my contact page.
I hope the winners enjoy! Stay tuned for more giveaways soon.