Working on the Next Project by J.R.Biery

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Blog Post 30

Working on a new project all day. Over thirty-five hundred words along. It’s because I am converting another screenplay, this one a short script (24) pages to a story or novella. Instead of starting at the bottom, I am at the rewriting stage. Like High Desert Poem, I hope to get it finished quickly.

Called Voodoo- I Do, it’s another weird one. Described it in Blog post 24, Trendy Topics. I’m not sure if most of the things I write are so vastly different from each other, or because I am growing senile. But I’ve forgotten the work enough to be surprised by some of the things I wrote. That’s always a strange feeling.

Had seen the graphic above somewhere and found it on a Facebook post tonight to copy. Used the free program Snip-It. Seems to have worked. If I can remember all these little tricks next week, maybe I can be like Michael Hyatt or James Patterson or some of these other fast writing authors. Doubt it, since two of the three things I’ve worked on this month are really refurbishing and reshaping of my own, old material.

Since retiring, I have been serious about writing and feel good about creating so many new stories and books. Still have old manuscripts of things I wrote to keep my mind still when I was teaching. My friend Cindi suggested I pull some of those things out and rewrite them to publish. I may, if I ever get the new things I’ve written since retirement all polished and posted online for someone to read.

Beta readers have been kind, all read quickly and reported promptly. Their suggestions helped improve High Desert Poem. Hope to get it up by this weekend. There’s still all the formatting and proofing, etc. to worry with. And I’m writing something new again.

Listened to Michael Hyatt webinar tonight, and like James Patterson, he is an advocate of the author as manager of resources in creating books. I’m sure it works for them. But for me, the process I enjoy is still in the creative writing. Don’t think I could ever hand that off to someone else and consider the book something I wrote.

If you haven’t already, please look at my books to see if there’s one you might like to read. Author.to/jrbiery

Until tomorrow, happy writing and goodnight.

Published by J.R. Biery

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Blog Post 29
Getting ready to publish another book. That will make two projects completed this month, five this year. Sounds wonderful, but I had planned to publish one a month. Playing catch-up now.

As I explained in an earlier blog, any published work is an iceberg. The part you see on-line began as a story, but it takes a lot of effort and craft to turn it into a publishable work. I am hearing back from readers on this latest project, High Desert Poem, and they are all very positive and enthusiastic about the story.

Happy tonight as I go through making more changes and last minute edits, fixing errors they’ve pointed out. It is about 24,000 words, so technically a Novella. Think it is closest to a Thriller if it fits into any category. I did write it as a screenplay first and converted it this month during Camp Nanowrimo. Feeling pleased with the result.

The short pitch for the story is:
A young woman who wants poetry and romance, settles for security by marrying an older man, but then she learns he is a survivalist. Her everyday struggles end up in a life or death battle in the desert.

Long Pitch is:
Alyssa Paige, a young woman raised by a single mother, has never felt loved. When she meets Lars Stedle, the handsome older man offers her marriage and a chance at a real home. Wary, but desperate to escape her present life, she settles for security, hoping love will follow. Once married, she learns Lars isn’t what she thought, but a doomsday Prepper.
Alyssa finds herself living a semi-isolated life in an underground trailer.

Every day is harsh and full of challenges and she still doesn’t have the home or children of her dreams. In a community of other survivalist, Rose is the only one she can talk to. But then Alyssa finds Rose’s buried body.

Publishing is a big leap of faith, whether traditionally published or Indie-published. Afraid I am too old and impatient to go the traditional route again. For the last several years, I’ve been happy to just write and finish a story to my own satisfaction.

Knowing I am going to make it public requires a lot more work than just thinking it up and typing it out. Now that I have the time to do the rest of the work, I don’t mind sharing these stories with others. I hope you will be as fascinated with this strange alternative world and with Alyssa’s search for a little poetry and love in her life. I’m curious to hear if you like it.

Rushing To Get Done by J.R.Biery


Blog Post 28

I’m in a rush tonight. Made the mistake of crawling into bed to warm up. The air conditioning was on and I get pretty stiff and achy when I get too cold. Only meant to be still for a minute. If you’re wondering why I didn’t just turn off the air, you’re probably not married. It was in the nineties and muggy all day, but still, I get cold.

I actually like the idea of having a deadline. Without one, it’s easy to not get anything finished. Now have the last changes done and Bright Morning Star on Amazon for pre-order, getBook.at/BMS. Their deadline was the 28th, but I had it finished by the 26th. Have my June project in the hands of Beta readers, only three, but at least it is being read. (Do not publish without feedback and last corrections, ever. Even with them, someone will spot something wrong, but at least you have given it your honest best try.

Started the second project of summer camp, doubt I will get it finished by the end of the month, but it’s nice to have the goal, a reason to push. Retirement is different than my working years. Then I had things to get done when I got home, or before I reached work, or things I saved for the weekend. Now, I could go to bed early, wake up late, do absolutely nothing each day. Tried that for about a month. Made me crazy being lazy. I don’t push or do as many things in a day. I don’t have other people’s expectations driving me. But thankfully, I still have my own.

Love feeling busy. Rushing toward a goal. Pushing to get one more thing done. See how it works, another thing accomplished, my 28th blog in twenty-eight days. Thank you.

Dreams by J.R.Biery

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The sculpture is like most of the images on Pinterest, poorly labeled. It doesn’t give an artist, just a description, Dream Sculpture. Tried following it backward, but it apparently was on sale on Etsy and sold. Happy for the artist, but would love to know who made it. Feel like this when I’m writing. Like I’m dreaming and another person emerges from the dream. Not sure what the bell inside the head is for, but would love to have one installed to ring when I have an idea worth recording.

It’s almost midnight. This is my favorite time to write. I get up early, usually by six thirty. Not as early as before I retired, but still in time to have a long day. I’ve tried writing at dawn and I can generate a lot of words, especially if I’ve outlined ahead of time or stopped in the middle of something the night before. Continuing what I started during the night goes much better. I call it my dream-flow writing.

Love the Nanowrimo challenges, because the demand to generate words can force inhibition to the background and it’s easier to reach this dream-flow state. Fifty thousand words in thirty days is a mean challenge. Some of the younger, faster people get twice that number. Amazes me. But 1667 a day will get you there and usually I write about that number. Six to ten typed pages in the old days. Then I was writing short stories, mainly confession stories, to submit to the magazines. It was a manageable number of words to get in a day and I could usually do a story in a day or two. Back then there was postage and SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelopes) for the stories return. Happy to sell one every month or so out of the half dozen or more I would write. Only wrote when I had an idea back then.

Then I wrote a book and haven’t looked back. Occasionally a story will pop into my head (the little bell will ring) and I’ll have to dash it off to clear my mind to focus on the current book. They are generally strange, and there’s not much to do with them but file them away.

But now there is Kindle. Have posted a couple of stories, Happy Girl and Ghost Warrior. (Trying to get the rights back to the last one so I can self-publish it and a sequel to it.) Most I just bury on the hard drive, because for me, the stories haven’t sold. Think it’s because there are so many novels for free or ninety-nine cents, that a short story or novella doesn’t seem worth buying. Could be because my stories are too strange.

Sometimes a story I’ve saved becomes part of a novel. Will Henry was a short story first, then a screenplay, and finally a young adult novel. Killing the Darlings began as a dream, became a story, then grew into a novel when I couldn’t forget the couple. They were so interesting to me and that’s where story ideas come from. Characters that appear in your dreams and shout until you write what they tell you. Weird, huh?

Still Learning by J.R.Biery

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I’m still learning. Learn something new everyday. One of the reasons I love Pinterest, I get to see some new type of bug, flower, or bird each day. After teaching Biology ten years, I am amazed at how little I know. I especially like strangers from strange places because they are far more likely to have something posted I’ve never seen.

For example, can’t tell you how happy I was to find this lovely series of clouds posted by a new follower. On twitter the other day, a trending topic was “things our children will never experience.” One of those things was ‘staring up at clouds’. Spent lots of happy hours looking up at the clouds and trying to be the first to shout out “a train” and everyone else would look until they saw it too, or “running horse,” or a “UFO”, etc.. Seeing so many new forms of clouds at one time was revelatory for me. It made me want to go out and lie in the grass and look up.

But I didn’t. I sat and stared at the computer and searched for more people posting clouds. LOL. Reassuring to learn that most of these are regional and restricted to specific climates and terrain. Another reason to travel. I probably would never be able to see them from the backyard anyway. A good excuse for not trying to get up and down from the lawn.

Used to love it. Lolling around on the grass, never worried about it being itchy, or getting grass stains. We just played and sweated and got dirty. We would witch caterpillars out of the ground on wild onion stems. Sprinkle slugs with salt to see them melt and die (gruesome, I know, but something we did.) We picked dandelions with serious care, so we could make a wish on a perfect one before blowing it. Loved dandelions then, so bright and yellow in the lawn – no one saw them as alien weeds to eliminate. We looked for four leaf clovers for luck, had sword fights with tall blades of Johnson grass, and of course, stared at the clouds.

Our yard when I was a girl was spotty and patchy, had corners with tall grass, some places where we’d ‘worn out the grass’ and other areas sprinkled with red clover and yellow dandelions. We loved it. As I mentioned earlier, we were outside from dawn to dark, playing games, running around, or just sitting and resting on the ground.

In my subdivision now, the lawns are green and plush and well-mowed. I never see a child outside, let alone lolling around on the grass. People would probably call the police if they saw them there, like the free-range children a month or so ago who were arrested for walking home from the park without an adult.

Guess like me they are inside with the air conditioner running, staring at a screen somewhere, maybe at a cloud. Learning something new about it. We are always learning.

Editing Again by J.R.Biery

Blog Post 25

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Editing Bright Morning Star again. Have heard back from three beta readers and all caught a few things, so back in to make more corrections. Should have taken an hour, maybe two. But the work is now formatted into a Create Space version and a Kindle version. So basically, doing the job twice. Should be simple, but it’s not. Page numbers don’t match in the two versions and as I look for the phrases to edit, I keep reading the book again.

Ridiculous, I know how the story goes. Yet there are sentences to tweak, scenes to review one more time. Love the input of readers, makes me more confident in the book. Love correcting every error – I’d love for the book to be perfect. Know it probably still won’t be, no matter how hard I work. Maybe if I just quit editing. Worry I may be introducing new errors while correcting the old.

Almost done. Another hundred pages or so to be sure. But I keep reading the scenes, smiling at the one’s I thought were funny, tearing up at the sad ones. Suffering with these characters one more time. Hoping readers will be as pleased as I am at this story. Almost ready to share with the world.

Bright Morning Star is available for preorder at http://www.amazon.com/dp//B0122DD7LQ

 

Trendy Topics by J.R.Biery

Blog Post 24

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Noodling around, trying to think of a new writing topic.

Must blog first. A month is a long time. Maybe this is too big a challenge. Nope, must persist. So, tonight I googled trending topics. Did you realize it was National Hot Dog Day? I love hot dogs – would have gone to Sonic for a $1 dog. Good thing I just did my search. Never eat after eight.

There is a lion roaming loose in Milwaukee. Used a giant lion loose in cattle country as the trigger event for Chimera Pass. Not trying that again.

NASA estimates 1 billion ‘Earths’ in our galaxy alone. Reassuring confirmation to all those who have seen or had intimate encounters with UFO’s.  Maybe our planet is a tourist site for most inter-galactic travelers. If so, I wonder if they keep up with exciting events like National Hot Dog Day? Haven’t written a sci-fi novel yet, but one never knows what idea may grab hold. Keeping an open mind.

Some bars are celebrating National Tequila Day. Not sure if they are serving that with hot dogs or not. Only story I’ve written about liquor was my first short story, Revenooer. Published it on Kindle recently.

There is the latest mass shooting (11) in Lafayette, Louisiana. Too terrifying to think about. This new millennium has been full of such tragedies. I’ve only written one novel with a killer as a main character, Edge of Night. No desire to write about another.

There is Hillary’s latest scandal, more about the emails she hid. I’ve never written about politics, well local school board politics a little in Will Henry, my depression era novel. I’m sure I would use a politician if I needed a believable villain for a murder mystery.  Probably not for romance. Although the mayor in Star, Texas was a good villain for The Milch Bride.

Although I’ve listened to at least two webinars on fiction writing that recommend this method for getting a story idea, I don’t think it’s going to work for me. I’m not a trendy person, no fashion sense, could care less about this list of who is breaking up, making up, or a happy new couple. Don’t understand why people are so interested in celebrities and their personal affairs. Think it’s probably because we don’t know enough neighbors and friends to get all the gossip we need. People love gossip, the more outrageous the better. Edna Potter, in Potter’s New Field, now that was an old gal who loved gossip.

Tried a trendy topic once in a short screenplay. Voodoo, I Do is about a frustrated, hard-working young wife with a worthless boyfriend. When a nice lady from Haiti moves in next door, she helps turn him into an obedient zombie. Idea came after a session at the Tennessee Screenwriters when the speaker said everyone had a zombie movie script. I didn’t, so I went home and wrote one.

Might work. Just watched a surprisingly tender performance by Arnold Schwarzenegger in a film called Maggie. Parents and friends are dealing with the horror of people they love becoming Zombies. I was surprised to actually enjoy the movie. So these trendy things can work. See the critics all hated it. Almost no on-screen violence.

Think I will change the format on that short screenplay and make it a short story. Have found my next writing project. Maybe googling trends is not without merit after all.

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Down by J.R.Biery

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Blog Post 23

I’m down today. It has rained all day and although I dressed to go to the Y to swim, walked by and got caught by the bed again. Down for the count. No exercise.

Wasted day, reading email, pinning, listening to webinars. The self-publishing summit has been awesome – lot of inspirational speakers – and I had fallen behind in listening. But I don’t want to capture people, and promote affiliates, and I know I will never make millions on the internet. To hear how easy it is doesn’t really help me. Technology doesn’t feel like my friend. Selling is difficult for me and I can hear how to sell a million times and know I will not be doing it. Feel worse, knowing I should get excited by the potential to milk readers like a cash cow but it’s not something I want to do. Terrible image. Just want to share my stories with them.

After fifty days in Nanowrimo mode, ninja full on writing, it is a let down not to be generating pages. Editing, proofing, formatting, posting books, all of it is important too. It is all part of the process and necessary. Wish I loved it as much as writing. Read how many writers love the book work and editing the best. Can’t imagine, since I’m happiest when my mind is full of the story I’m creating and I am writing full out.

Feel kind of in limbo, waiting to hear from all the readers, make all the last changes. Have heard back from the first three beta readers, all enthusiastic and loving the story. Makes me happy to have someone love these people of my imagination. I have to admit, I fall in love with each and everyone of them. Miss being with them when the story ends.

I think that’s it, why I’m down. I’m at the end of a novel and I want another world to drop into, more people with problems to overcome. I have to get ready to start another journey. An important part of writing is the down time, the daydreaming, muddling around the edges of the story time. Think I will relax, listen to the rain, find and watch an old movie, maybe one that will make me cry. Look at Pinterest for prompts and images of gateways. Imagine a path, who is on the path, why are they there, how are they moving – relaxed and happy or running in terror – where are they going?  Let the next story find me and start to form and come to life. Until it’s time to write.

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Setting Goals by J.R. Biery

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Blog Post 22

Setting goals is very important to changing dreams into reality. This week I have been working hard on the two books I’ve just finished writing. Have successfully edited (I hope) both books. There comes a point after the sixth or eighth or ninth pass through a novel, when the words start to lose their impact. I feel blessed to have a few friends and followers who volunteered to read these recent works and give me feedback.

I know from past experience, some will be quick, (have feedback from one already). Others may not finish the read due to circumstances they can’t prevent or change. Since the book Bright Morning Star is on preorder, the final draft has to be on file by the 28th. I trust the things they find will be small, but small or large, I’m prepared to make changes. There is no such thing as a perfect book. No matter how inspired you feel, how real the characters and their story feels to you, it is very hard to write a book without errors or blemishes. This is another chance for me to give the story another polish. Excited to hear their reactions.

I set a huge goal at the first of the year, to publish twelve new things. So far, I’ve written and published four, Valley of Shadows, 3rd in my Western Wives Series, Glitter of Magic, first in my new Myth Retold Series, The Mermaid’s Gift, the second in the new series. I also published a short story, my first magazine sale from years ago, called The Revenooer. I’ve written two other short stories, which were scheduled for anthologies. Will let you know when either is published. So, if I get these two novels done this month, technically, I will have written eight new things. We’ll see how I end up in December. Always playing catch-up.

Prefer self-publishing to being published. I never realized it, but I really am a bit of a control freak. I might even be obsessive, compulsive, though I’m not convinced on that score.

What about you? What are some of your goals for the year and how is it going? Comment below or send me an email at bieryj@charter.net. If you’d like to be an early reader or reviewer for either of these books, just ask. Happy to email you an ARC copy.

Happy writing, gardening, and pursuing your own goals.

The picture at the top is a golden eagle like the pair that are in our yard. Spotted both yesterday. Today, only heard them, never saw either one. Thank goodness for Pinterest. They are great birds though. I don’t think they belong in our region, but since they are the mascot for the local college, maybe they’ve always been here and we are the ones out-of-pocket.

Reflections by J.R.Biery

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Blog Post 21

Relaxed a little today. Talked to dear friends and family, but several had real problems. I like fiction, because when something terrible is happening to good people, you can have the hero come in to rescue them and help them be all right again. In real life, when someone I love is depressed, or dealing with pain, or have lost people they loved and who were a big part of the fabric of their lives — I don’t know what to say. I have no magic words to make it better. I love you is never enough.

Attended the Foxleaf Author’s workshop, a group of Indie-published writers who meet at a local bookstore. Enjoyed the mix of the new excited, hopeful, but have not finished a book writers, and the jaded, experienced writers who are worried about sales. Nice to share a hobby and talk business. Appreciate Charion Slocum, who lets us meet at the Foxleaf Book Store.

We have a pair of eagles who have gifted our lives this summer with their presence. They are larger than hawks, which we’ve had visit the yard over the years. These are big, golden birds. We thought it was only one, then yesterday, two roosted in the sycamore tree together. Jerry saw them first, but when I came out and said ‘oh wow,’ they took flight. Today they were back. We had out the binoculars and our cell phones. Tried, but I think birds are worse than shy children. If they even think you have a camera, they disappear. Will try harder to get a picture. Loveliest of all was when they were calling to each other. It was a clear, screaming whistle. I know that doesn’t sound right, but one was talking from the dead pine at one end of the yard to the other who was in a big oak tree. Great thing to share with the birds and each other.

Life is too fleeting. Happiness too sweet not to savor. Take the time and appreciate those you love and pray for those in sorrow.