Browsing Tag

soul cavern

State of the Book: Surgery, Writing, and Cons, oh my!

Book news, Conferences, Life Stuff, State of the Book, Writing

Whew! It’s been a minute.

I thought I’d take a moment and update folks on what’s going on with me.

Surgery Stuff

In February, I had rotator cuff surgery. I’d love to say that I got hurt doing something exciting or sexy, but no. It was a couch potato injury. The MRI showed a tear (there ended up being 2 tears, they discovered when they were in there), which can really only be fixed with surgery. So in I went.

I don’t recommend tearing your rotator cuff. The recovery time is forever. It is now late May and I’m still in physical therapy. I’ve gotten about 70% of my range of motion back, but we’re still working on it, and we’re just now beginning strength therapy. Do not recommend.

While I’d planned to get some writing done while recuperating, I didn’t factor in the idea that I would be on narcotics daily for two and a half months. My therapist keeps telling me to let myself off the hook for not writing that entire time, but I admit that I’m having trouble not beating myself up. It feels like a bunch of wasted time.

Which brings us to…

Writing Stuff

Yep. Blank page.

The end result is that Book Two of the Soul Cavern series — titled Visci — is still in the works. My current plan is to publish in early August (in time for Dragon Con!), with Book Three coming either at the end of the year or in early 2020.

I’m disappointed that I’m not likely to make my goal of publishing 5 books this year, but having lost almost an entire quarter to health stuff means I have to pivot and adjust my goals to reality. So I’m going to see about 3 books published this year (one, Blue Edged Soul, was released early this year and I’m hoping to count Book Three as the third book published, as I’d really like to get it done by the end of the year).

On a good note, I’ve got the cover for Visci and will be doing a reveal in a few weeks!

Convention Stuff

If you’re in or around Charlotte, NC, next weekend – May 31 through June 2, I’m a guest at ConCarolinas!

Photo: ConCarolinas

Here’s my current schedule:

Friday

3pm – How to Speak “Editor”
Most of us are years past our high school English classes. What does it mean when your editor complains about copulas? Or past-perfect tenses? What does she mean about the commas? This panel of editors will explain some of the most common editorial suggestions and help you learn the best way to handle them.

7pm – Designing a Government (moderating)
The way a land is governed colors the behavior of its citizens. Even if your character isn’t involved in government, it’s still an important aspect of world building. This panel discusses the best governing system for your story, and how to blend it into your narrative.

Saturday

10am – The Ups and Downs of Traditional and Indie Publishing (moderating)
The publishing world has seen some exciting changes in the last fifteen years, and things aren’t stopping yet. Our panel will talk about the pros and cons to both aspects of publishing.

11am – Con Survival
Tips and tricks for surviving a convention, whether it’s your first or your fiftieth.

12pm – Writing the Fight
The best stories include conflict of all kinds. Our writers talk about writing physical fights, from fisticuffs to fencing, and offer their opinions on some of the most famous fight scenes in SF/F.

1pm – Choosing an Editor
Acquiring editors, developmental editors, copyeditors… what kind of editor do you need? And how do you find one? Join the panelists to learn more about the kinds of editors, what to expect when working with an editor, and how to choose an editor that you can work with—and how to work in a situation when you don’t get to choose your own editor.

Sunday

12pm – An Hour with… Venessa Giunta & Quincy J. Allen

2pm – Book Signing with Venessa Giunta

So that’s my stuff! You can check out all the great programming here!

I hope to see you out at ConCarolinas next weekend!

State of the Book (and Arm) – February Edition

Blog news, Book news, Life Stuff

Time for another State of the Book!

The first draft of Soul Cavern 2 is almost done (I know, I’ve been saying that for weeks!). It’s so close to being done, I’ve already started revising the first part and sending it out to beta readers. I’m still hoping to get it out in April.

I’m also getting ready to commission the cover art for SC2 and SC3 before the end of the month, so should have something to show for that in the coming weeks, as well!

Obviously, I’ve done this surgery thing before…

My overall production schedule is going to slow down, though, as I am having rotator cuff surgery on 2/13. I’ve been dealing with pain since June, but more aggravated pain since November. The MRI I had last month showed a 5mm tear in one of the muscles (or tendons? Dunno) in my rotator cuff. So… surgery.

My arm will basically be immobilized for 3-4 weeks, then 4 weeks of movement therapy, and then 4 weeks of strength therapy. So, yeah, 3 months. Whee. I am not entirely sure how the immobilization is going to affect writing. I’ll be doing some work with Google Docs and their free voice to text function, but I don’t really know how well I’ll do with dictation. We’ll see.

The last couple weeks I’ve been working on a website redesign (mostly randomly) and that only takes my mouse hand, for the most part, so perhaps I’ll do more work on that! I’m really excited about it, because it’s going to be gorgeous! 🙂

And I’m set to start outlining Soul Cavern 3 this month also. ALL THE THINGS!

So there’s the State of the Book for February! Thanks for hanging with me 🙂

New Release: Blue-Edged Soul! Be sure to grab your copy!

Book news

It’s here! It’s here!

Blue-Edged Soul is here!

Look at that cover! Isn’t it gorgeous? My cover artist is Sylvia Frost at The Book Brander. And she is amazing! If you’re in the market for a fantastic cover, definitely give her a look!

I was just going to make this a cover reveal, but Amazon published Blue-Edged Soul faster than I expected, so I decided just to go ahead and announce it a day early!

Blue-Edged Soul is a short-story follow up to Jivaja. There are a couple cool reveals in it. One has a big effect on Soul Cavern Book 2 and the other one opens the series up for more books after this initial trilogy. You’ll definitely want to read it if you liked Jivaja. And you definitely don’t want to read it until you’ve read Jivaja. It won’t make very much sense on its own 😉

Blue-Edged Soul tells the story of Ken, David’s brother. In Jivaja, David asks Ken to go to London to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron. This is the story of what he finds there. In the timeline, it runs concurrently with the climax scene of Jivaja.

Now, there are two ways to get Blue-Edged Soul:

1. If you want to support me on Amazon, you can purchase it for .99

Or

2. You can get a FREE copy in exchange for signing up to my Reader Group (then you become a Reader Groupie 😀 lol )

Either way is fine with me. And please, whether you purchase or get it for free, don’t forget to leave a review! Reviews help authors more than you know.

I hope you enjoy Blue-Edged Soul!

Look for Book 2 of the Soul Cavern Series in April!

Happy New Year! And stuff!

Blog news, Book news, Publishing

 

Yes, yes, I know we’re already a week in, but that’s okay! It’s still pretty new and sparkly!

If you read my last post, you already know what’s going on and what my goals are for this year, as far as publishing. I wanted to drop a quick line and let you know about my goals for content for 2019, as well.

Early last year, in February, actually, I made the announcement that I was going to be making a change to my posting schedule for this blog. Instead of weekly posting, I would be posting every other week. This was to free up time for my fiction writing.

That was a good plan, but what ended up happening was that I no longer felt accountable to post anything here. So every two weeks became every three weeks, which became…eh…whenever.

I am recommitting to posting every two weeks. Now, the posts may be updates, they may be reposts, they may be Tool Time Tuesdays, they may be Quick Edits, or they may be the more in-depth posts that I used to write regularly. I’m not committing to any particular type of post. But I am committing to at least 26 posts over the course of the year. I promise. As we say in my family, “Fingers up to heaven.” (I’ll tell you about that sometime, if you’d like.)

Are you a writer?

 

Most of my posts here have been about writing, rather than books or random things about my life. Maybe you miss that content?

Since last spring, I’ve been on a new journey of indie publishing. I’ll be posting some about that here, but I’ve also created a new avenue for that content! I started my own YouTube channel!

My channel is going to be really focused on my journey as an indie publisher. I’ll share the ups and the downs. I’ll likely be sharing more detail about the whole process there, because it’s quicker to talk about a thing than to write about it 😉

Don’t expect anything super fancypants. But I may also occasionally do the YouTube live from somewhere that is not my desk, surrounded by bookshelves 🙂

Here’s my intro video! Check it out and, if you’re interested, head over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel!

 

 

ALL THE BOOKS!

And don’t forget, Blue-Edged Soul will be released NEXT WEEK!

I should have the cover this week and will be doing a reveal very soon!

The 12,000 word short story occurs concurrently with the climax in Jivaja and features Ken, David’s brother. He has just arrived in London to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron, at the request of his brother. But what he finds will change all of their lives forever!

Read Jivaja and then read Blue-Edged Soul. You won’t be sorry 🙂

And remember: If you’re a member of my Reader Group, you will be able to get Blue-Edged Soul for free! Make sure you sign up to get your copy!

 

 

I’m also going to be playing with a new website design, because this one is really old and tired at this point. So, yknow, in all my free time, I’ll be working on that too. LOL

Okay, that’s it! I’ll talk atcha later this week with the cover reveal for Blue-Edged Soul 🙂

Ciao!

 

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

Venessa’s State of the Book! December 2018

Free Fiction Friday, State of the Book, Writing

Happy Boxing Day! I hope you had a lovely holiday yesterday, if you celebrate. If you don’t, then Happy Random Day Off Work Day! 😀

I’ve decided it would be fun to give periodic updates as to what’s going on in my writing life, so you know when you can expect goodies! So here’s my very first State of the Book Address!

Jivaja begins 2019 with a sale!

I’ve got a week-long promo from January 1 through January 7 where you can snag Jivaja on Amazon for .99! Make sure you bookmark the Amazon page! (Don’t worry; I’ll post a reminder next week!)

In the meantime, if you’re not familiar with Jivaja, you can check it out here!

Blue-Edged Soul to be released in mid-January!

Blue-Edged Soul, or BES as I like to affectionately call it, is almost done — ie, it’s being formatted right now! — and is slated for release around January 15!

BES features Ken, David’s brother, in London where he’s been sent to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron. This short story runs concurrently with the climactic scene in Jivaja.

And there are BIG REVEALS!

If you’ve already read Jivaja and would like BES for free, make sure you’ve signed up to get your copy (and updates).

Get your free book!

Soul Cavern 2

Yep. It still doesn’t have a proper title. I’m almost done with the first draft. Hoping to finish it this week so that I can jump into revisions in the new year! Publication time frame is mid-April. Really excited to get this one out there!

Sad news for Free Fiction Friday

Jivaja is currently enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (yes, that means you can read for free with your subscription!). The unfortunate thing is that it also means I must suspend Free Fiction Friday until my KU term is over (in April). KU requires an exclusive distribution license, so I cannot offer Jivaja anywhere else, including my own site.

This Friday will be the last FFF for Jivaja. *sadface*

Around January 15th, I will be taking down all the sections of Jivaja after Chapter 5. The first five chapters will remain up so people can still read a free sample. (That’s allowed.)

I’m kicking around the idea of putting up a few shorts stories I’ve had done for awhile that are just sitting around, gathering electronic dust. They’re about the MSA — Magical Security Agency. ooOOoo 😉  But that wouldn’t be a weekly thing. Likely monthly. I’ll decide after the first of the year. Let me know if you’re interested!

So that’s the December 2018 State of the Book! 🙂

I hope you all have a lovely remainder to the holiday season and I will see you in the new year!

Official Jivaja Release! Get Your Copy Now!

Book news, Writing

Today is the big day! Jivaja is officially launched! Woooo!!

So you can find links to Amazon and B&N, as well as Goodreads on my website page for Jivaja. Oh, and as a note, I enrolled Jivaja in Kindle Unlimited, so if you’re a bit short on cash right now, but subscribe, please feel free to borrow from KU!

This has been a weird book publishing experience, because I wanted to have some advance copies available for Dragon Con (because a million people go there). But that meant I had to upload it to Amazon early, to get copies (because you can’t order copies without it being live), so it’s actually been up there for awhile. But having copies out that early just made the entire experience weird!

But anyway…

Marketing is not my forte anyway and so I’m sort of flying by the seat of my pants! lol I’ve got a few random things going on this week.

There will be an interview out at Speculative Chic this afternoon at 4pm. If you click the link and get a 404, check the time. It’s probably not 4 yet 🙂

I’ll be doing an Ask Me Anything FB Live on my Author Page on Wednesday around 8pm EDT. So feel free to come over, pop in, and ask me all the burning questions you have about Jivaja or writing or when I’m going to have the sequel done!

I’m sure I’ll do other things this week, but those are the big ones. I’ll also be spamming your feeds all over social media, so there’s that too! Keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter for other happenings!

 

 

 

 

Links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

Super exciting news about Jivaja! Cover Reveal! Woo!

Book news, Writing

I hope you’re enjoying Free Fiction Friday! A couple weeks ago, I posted about the novel’s name change from Soul Cavern to Jivaja. This came about for two reasons.

First, the novel has been named Soul Cavern since I completed it for my grad program at Seton Hill University many, many years ago (yes, it’s been done for a long time). But as anyone who knows me knows very well, I suck at titles. Like, I really suck at titles. I get one good title idea a year, if I’m lucky. And I was never able to win the lottery on that book’s title.

Several publishing pros, from award-winning authors to senior acquisition editors at well-known publishers, over the years have told me in conversation that the title didn’t pop enough, just wasn’t good enough to catch their attention.

So I knew that it wasn’t good enough. I just couldn’t find anything better.

Because I suck at titles.
(Anyone want to be my title generator?)

Secondly, and a bit more simply, the title felt too big for the cover. It took up too much room. I didn’t really realize this was an issue until we did the switch from Soul Cavern to Jivaja. The new title fits the cover perfectly.

And speaking of covers… want to see it?

If you follow me on social media, you got a preview of the cover when the proof copies came in. I was so excited, I posted a pic of me (sans makeup! You know I was excited to post my face au natural! lol) with the book. So you might not be surprised with this reveal. But maybe you will be!

Ready?
.
.
.
.
Set!
.
.
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.
Go!!

 

Isn’t she gorgeous?! 😍😍😍

About the artist: My cover artist is an amazing woman named Sophia Fedderson, also known as the Book Brander. She first hit my radar when I was listening to back list editions of The Creative Penn Podcast and she was a guest. I really liked what she had to say about covers and her entire philosophy about them. Also, she’s an author herself, so she understood both sides of the equation, which was also a plus to me. So I bookmarked her site way back then and now, probably 3 or 4 years later, she’s my cover artist!

I think you’ll agree with me that she does incredible work! So if you’re looking for a cover, definitely check her out.

The book will officially be for sale on October 15th, in case you don’t want to wait for each scene to be posted on #FreeFictionFriday!

So tell me… what do you think of the Jivaja cover?

News: #FreeFictionFriday Gets a Little Change!

Book news, Free Fiction Friday

A couple weeks ago, I launched #FreeFictionFriday with my novel Soul Cavern. Go have a peek if you haven’t read it yet! 🙂

Ever since I finished the book a couple years ago, I’ve tried to wrangle a good title. Soul Cavern is fine, as it directly references a metaphysical place in the book. But, as more than one publishing pro has told me in the past, it doesn’t really grab you. (My mentor at SHU wants me to call it Leechers. It will never be called Leechers. 😉 )

Anyway, during my final pass of the book, which I admit, had been sitting for quite awhile, unread, I came across the word that should have been the title all along! The main character’s people have a name. They are called Jivaja (though the main character doesn’t know this and won’t find out herself til book 2). And so, we have a new title!

Jivaja

Over the next week or so, I’ll be changing all the various references to Soul Cavern and bringing everything in line with the new title. Bear with me on that 😉

Also, the cover is just about done! So I’ll be sharing that in a couple weeks too! ALL THE EXCITE!

Thanks for reading along on Fridays! I’m so glad to have you 🙂

Tool Time Tuesday: ProWritingAid

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

Today’s Tool: ProWritingAid

Platform: Browser, Windows, Mac, pretty much everything

Cost: Free web version; Premium version available ($50/yr, price breaks available for multiple years; $175/lifetime; discounts for edu folks & bulk purchasing)

What it does: Wow. When I found this a couple years ago, I was astounded and fell in love all at the same time! While it can’t tell you whether your story is a good story, it can tell you how to improve your actual craft.

This is what Word’s Grammar check aspires to be! I use this on all my work before it goes to a professional editor (or acquisitions editor/agent if I’m submitting). I cannot accurately convey the depth of my love for this little program!

Okay, Venessa, enough praise. Show me!

So you can choose to use the free web version and do a section of your work at a time. If you can’t afford the premium version, this is a perfectly good way to do it. It will take longer, because you’ll be doing a lot of copying and pasting, but you’ll get the full functionality of the program, just a piece at a time.

If you upgrade, you can download the software to your computer (there’s even a 2-week free trial!). But here’s the brilliant part: you can use the software with the program you write in, whether it’s Word, Google Docs, Open Office. I use Scrivener for Windows. Here’s what ProWritingAid looks like when I open my novel, Soul Cavern, in it:

ProWritingAid

Sorry, you don’t get to see the text! Check out FreeFictionFriday later this week, if you want to read it 🙂

As you can see, it shows me all of my writing, in the Scrivener structure, and lets me work on it piece by piece. I use this for every story I write.

Check out all the features across the top. Style, Grammar, Overused words (it’s worth the price for just these three things alone!), Readability, Cliches, Sticky sentences (these are unnecessary words/sentences that slow your reader down), Diction, Repeats, Echoes, and Sentence lengths. The More tab has a dozen other tools like Thesaurus, Pacing, Pronouns, and, of course, more.

This month's #ToolTimeTuesday, featuring @ProWritingAid: It shows me all of my writing, in the Scrivener structure, and lets me work on it piece by piece. I use this for every story I write. Click To Tweet

 

You can also choose, on the Tools option at the menu on the top, what sort of writing you’re doing: academic, creative, business, etc, so that the suggestions are geared toward your particular work.

Photo courtesy of ProWritingAid.

I wouldn’t recommend solely relying on any digital tool for final editing, but I 100% recommend using ProWritingAid before sending any work to an editor. If you’re working with a professional freelance editor (like me!), running your manuscript through ProWritingAid will likely cut down on the cost of your edits, as it can help you make your manuscript much cleaner for your human editor. This will allow her or him more time and effort to focus on the story itself and less on the mechanics of the writing.

Also, a program like this is a great learning tool as well. ProWritingAid not only suggests corrections, but will often explain why the thing needs to be corrected. This is a fantastic way for newer writers to learn.

Where to get it:

Writing Improvement Software

I really do strongly recommend this software. I probably put it as #2 right after Scrivener out of all the Tool Time Tuesdays I’ve done.

Have you tried ProWritingAid? How has it helped with your writing?

Do you have a writing tool that you absolutely can’t live without? Drop a line to me down below and tell me about it!

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

Announcement: Free Fiction Friday featuring Soul Cavern!

Book news, Free Fiction Friday, Writing

One thing I’m noticing about this entire Indie Publishing thing is that stuff takes longer than I anticipated. Part of that is me — I’m inherently lazy 😉 Part of that is just the process and learning how long things take.

Anyway, I mentioned in this post that I was planning on starting a Free Fiction Friday segment in April. Well, here it is July and that stuff hasn’t happened yet. It’s mainly because the pen name stuff has taken a lot longer than I was planning and I still haven’t gotten the second book out yet. So I’m putting that on hold for a month or two so I can do things here. Because you guys have been waiting FOREVER! 🙂

Free Fiction Friday, featuring Soul Cavern!

My new feature, Free Fiction Friday, will begin on August 3. Many authors do this and often post short stories. I thought I might try something a little different. I will be posting an entire book. (That gives you a reason to come back each week!)

What’s Soul Cavern about?

Soul Cavern is a vampire story without vampires. At least, in the traditional sense. The Visci, a species that subsists on human blood, are not undead. They’re not human. And they never were.

Close kin to humans, the Visci pass within our society easily, and over millennia, have wedged their way into positions of power. Long-lived, they are also very difficult to kill. However, they have an evolutionary flaw. While they do not die easily, they also do not reproduce easily.

But they can mate with humans — and have, giving rise to a population of human-Visci hybrids, called half-bloods by those of pure Visci lineage. For centuries, they lived and worked together, these half-bloods and pure bloods. But tensions have risen and civil war is looming.

We will discover the Visci alongside Mecca Trenow, a seemingly normal Atlanta college student, who is heir to a family Gift which allows her to manipulate human energy. She hates her gift and has refused to learn anything beyond how to control it so she does no harm. That is, until a rogue pure blood attacks her and she reacts instinctively, draining his life — the life he’s stolen from another — out of him in moments.

When word gets back to the Visci of someone who can kill one of their kind with just a touch, the race is on to acquire Mecca as a weapon in the upcoming war. As she learns about this shadowy underground group, she also discovers her father’s dark past and the secret he has kept from her all of her life. Reeling from this discovery and unable to trust the one person she has always counted on, Mecca is isolated from everything she once knew, all the while being hunted by dangerous creatures bent on using her Gift for their own bloody purposes.

How It Works

Interested?

On August 3, I will post the opening scene from Soul Cavern. To get us ramped up and into the story full-swing, I’ll post another scene (possibly two) each day throughout that weekend. But once Monday rolls around, we’ll be on our regular schedule of one or two scenes (depending on length) each and every Friday, until the book is done!

As we go, I will create a Table of Contents so that you can easily catch up if you fall behind.

What About a Real Book?

Everyone wants to be a real boy!

Everyone wants to be a real boy!

The plan is to have both an ebook edition and a print edition of Soul Cavern available for sale by the end of August. I really want to have it ready for Dragon Con!

I’d like to offer a book for sale for those who prefer not to wait for the entire story to be posted (some of us are impatient!). And also for those who are interested in supporting the author (me!).

Supporting Authors

Speaking of supporting authors, you know the best way to support your favorite authors, aside from purchasing their books, is to leave reviews on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, right? Even if you choose not to purchase a copy of Soul Cavern when they’re available and just continue to read for free on the site, leaving a review on Amazon especially would be really appreciated.

It’s a great way to give back to the authors who share their stories with you!

Back to work!

All right, now I’ve got a bunch of work to do, so I’m gonna get back to it! Remember to check in on August 3rd for the first installment of Soul Cavern!

In the meantime, feel free to leave me a comment below telling me what you think about Soul Cavern and/or Free Fiction Friday!

 

 

 

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.
Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂