Thursday Thoughts: Not thinking much

lioness-1560228_640Sitting here with a cup of coffee trying not to face the day. A bird slammed into my window and dropped dead in the garden underneath it. This does not bode well. A friend suggested I go back to bed.

I feel as energetic is this beautiful lioness that I found on Pixabay. Know what? I am not going to minimize the picture. She’s too pretty.

A kind of confession. I’m not writing currently.  I want to very much. But after all these years of writing books, it’s finally time to really try to sell them. Not sort of try. Not make half-hearted attempts by tweeting stuff occasionally. I mean actually sell them. Like let more than a couple hundred people know about them.

I’ve got a couple of reasons for this. Number one–money. Money is nice. And while indie publishing has allowed me to skip the query-synopsis-rejection route to publishing, the plethora of books out there make it very hard for quiet writers like myself to get much traction without a lot of work. Indie and all of the cheap and free promotions has also brought down prices on all books and given the impression or expectation to readers that writers are happy to work for free.

This is just not true.

We write for the love of it. That much is true. But in order for us to put a lot of work into writing we need some compensation to pay for things like, you know, food. Shelter. Otherwise it’s just a hobby and in today’s busy world hobbies that take you away from people are not always appreciated by those people. Especially hobbies that take as much time as writing does.

So. I need to get paid. And that’s what I’m working on right now. But it’s one helluva slog. I have, after all, the two genres. I also has a forest-for-the-trees personality when it comes  to both the writing and the marketing. I can obsess over things like having started the last three sentences with “I” in this blog, and totally forget that people like pictures in blog posts and maybe I should throw one in now and again. So here, random picture.

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Awfully cute puppy. Also from Pixbay, which I am now a big fan of.

So, here’s what I’m trying to do. Create another website for my historical romances. Put up a slider with pictures of Victorians on it just because. Put up a slider with snatches from reviews. Put up excerpts and link to them. Create pretty buy links. Create a bio (my most hated writing thing of promotion) and then there’s another page I want to create with quotes used for each chapter (usually Shakespeare).  Then I have to go back and put up excerpts for The Postplague Trilogy, because I forgot to do that.

After that, I need to go to my facebook author pages and use their new Author App. Which is cool but it asks for a first chapter pdf for each book, which is more work.

I need then to go to all the retail sites that I’m selling books on and add bios and info on me, myself and I. I need to upload the romance novels to more sites, but before I do that I need to go through the back matter on all the books to make sure it links to other books.

That’s just some of it. Some of the work I need to do just to be professional and have my name and books in as many places as I currently control. That doesn’t include sites that will let you put your books up for free, or advertising or book funnel or instafreebie, all of which means a lot more work. Then there are in-person opportunities like an author panel I’m doing next week, a book signing I’m going to try to do next month, books marks to be made, etc.

It’s a lot. I could hire people, but I would still obsess over the hiring and never be satisfied with the result because the only way I’m ever really satisfied is if I am so tired of whatever it is that I can’t do it anymore. I believe Ted Hughes said of his wife, Sylvia Plath, that she never finished a poem, she just abandoned them. That sums up how I feel about all of this.

Anyway, there I am working my tail off for the next couple of months. I miss writing. I really do. For now, this little piece I wrote last week will have to do. It is mostly unedited and who knows, it may not even end up in the final edition. But it’s the best I can do for now.

Everybody murmurs assent and we cross the street. I steel myself as Evan opens the glass doors and we enter. There’s a large, heavy oak security desk in front of us, with a black and white veined marble wall behind it, over which flows the rippling water of a wall fountain. The water magically parts in the middle to flow around a large protruding symbol of the nation. A priest dressed in a lemon-yellow tunic sits at the desk. He looks up from reading a tablet and his eyes jump quickly over Tansy and me, to settle on Evan and Maya in their Inquisitor robes.

“We’re here for a surprise inspection,” Evan says, stopping at the desk. I blink, school my face not to appear shocked and peer at Evan. His face is hard, his eyes drilling into the priest. Suddenly his big shoulders and muscular build is intimidating, even frightening. Even to me, who knows Evan as a jokester.

He puts his card on the desk. “You are to tell no one that we are here.”

The man doesn’t reach for the card. He looks at Evan and stutters a little. “I have to tell my head–”

Evan leans forward, palms on the top of the desk. It feels like he’s suddenly taller and larger–menacing. A shiver runs down my spine. “You will not. We are here to root out dissidents who we have been informed may lurk in this building. If even one person appears to have been forewarned of our presence, I will have you brought to the 5th and questioned for subversive behavior. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” the man answers.

“It is the opinion of the 5th that the Temple has been too casual about disloyalty for far too long. We are all now paying for that benevolence. The 1st, 5th and 7th–especially the 5th–have been tasked with correcting those who have taken advantage of the Temple’s kindness.”

The man is visibly shaking now. So am I.

“Of course. You may pass,” he says pressing a button on his console screen. I’m about to move, gratefully, through the door when Evan speaks.

“You’re not taking our pass cards?”

“There’s no need.”

His eyes narrow. What is he doing? “There is every need.” He slaps his card down.

The man’s eyes widen and he looks terrified. “Look at the symbol,” he says shakily. Then presses the card to the reader. Evan lifts his head and focuses. I can barely breathe. If it doesn’t work–my hand moves toward my stunner.

A picture of Evan appears on the man’s screen, along with Evan’s Barratt-created rank. The man’s eyes widen a little.

“You may pass, Priest Cranshaw.”

“Very well.”

Evan nods to Maya, our other Inquisitor. She steps forward silently, and I can feel Tansy tense next to me.

Card. Maya looks at the symbol, which must have a camera. It’s only a few seconds but it seems like forever. Maya’s picture comes up on the screen.

“Greetings, Priestess Brown. You may pass.”

The guard looks at me expectantly, finally slipping back into his normal mode.

Evan shakes his head. “They’re with us. You don’t need their credentials.”

The man looks wary. Is this a test?

“I can’t allow them to pass,” he says uncertainly, “without clearance.”

I am giving you clearance.” Evan’s voice is hard, menacing, and I can almost see memories of executions going through the guard’s eyes. He swallows.

“Yes,” he says in a dry, thick voice. “Yes of course.”

Evan turns and moves haughtily through the door, commanding, “Come,” to all of us.

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