To Return to the Half-Elven Website, click picture. -- (Artwork: Igor Glushkin)

Monday, January 31, 2011

New Free Half-Elven Story Up

Guess I was having so much trouble writing something presentable was -- I didn't know what I was doing with the words I had written ... and they were many words.  Oh, I had a outline that sort of told a story ... but had no drama.  No action.  No investment on the part of the characters.

Hope "Catching the Dragon's Fire" puts those problems to rest, and I'll be able to get the next installment written sooner.  The biggest problem?  Renna is a side character with the drama focused on the conflict of the Half-Elven Triad -- Mariah, Ashton, and Linden -- against the Feld dynasty.  

I sort of already knew that.  [Think of "The Foiling of Gorsfeld].  But, the relationship swam around in the back of my mind.  Now, maybe it'll stick in the frontal lobes instead of the reptilian brain.

Actually, the story didn't take off until I realized that Martonsfeld, Gorsfeld's father, couldn't be the villain because, being human, he would have been dead by the time Renna started having problems with the Felds' pigs.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Slogging 'Round My Website

Thought I'd have a new short story up by last night.  I wasn't looking forward to all the formatting etc., but formating didn't delay me.  Revisions did.  All in all, the Half-Elven are taking entirely too much of my time.  Mostly because I don't know what I'm doing.

I put myself between a rock and a hard spot.  I need to promote and have a website since I have an e-publication coming out in 2011.  I need new material to keep my website interesting.  Since I'm not a sales machine, I decided on the free short story bit to create new content.  Only problem.  I'm lousy at writing short stories.  My ideas always have a long back story ... plus a forward story about what happens afterwards.  I think my anthropological background has doomed me to getting mired down in context.

So, I'm trying to give my stories a context.  I started out thinking that I'd do a few short "Renna's Tales" based on an old lady gossiping. ... Only the background events and people are complex ... and get more complex as my main Half-Elven characters live out their 400+ year lives.  My solution?  Renna's Tale is now the story of the days immediately after the Rebellion created the Marches, and the Half-Elven fought among themselves over who would rule.

Now, all I have to do is revise ... revise ..., and probably revise again.  Ugh.  Maybe next week?

An illustration note.  Mr. Glushkin is in the process of creating the last illustration for the site ... in between taking care of a new baby.  Would you believe babies take a lot of work?

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Taking Vengeance" Trailer Copy

Next promotion step: writing a trailer for the WolfSinger Half-Elven novelette, Taking Vengeance.  Pulling it out of my head turned out to be more laborious than pulling a boat along the Volga River.  [Yo. Ho. Heave. Ho.]  You don't want to know how many hours I've spent to come up with the words below. [ I spent less time editing/revising two 10 page short stories. ]

As things stand at the moment, here's the copy I've come up with:

Once, Mariah was a warrior hero who saved her Half-Elven people.
Now, she’s shunned … by the ruler, who was once her comrade-in-arms.
Abandoned … by her ring-mate, who disappears to spy on their southern enemies.
Alone … when pirates leave her daughter at death’s door.
Now, is the time for Mariah to belt on her sword again and seek vengeance.

Taking Vengeance by M. K. Theodoratus []
Available from WolfSinger Publications in May (?) 2011.
[list of where available to come later]

I'm sure the script is too long, but I could drop the first sentence.  Still, it's the best I can do from all the tips I've gleaned from the 1st Turning Point blog site, always your site for lots of tips on promoting your books.  I'm just glad my NYC daughter's Christmas present was doing the trailer for YouTube.

Hey.  If you have any suggestions on how I might improve the script, I'd appreciate hearing them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Platform Building for the Reluctant

The Far Isle Half-Elven just got another plank in their networking platform -- Facebook , thanks to the helpful people at writer site:  AW Water Cooler.  They have all sorts of information for writers on promoting their work, including ideas and technical.  In this case, one of the thread responses not only told me where to create a fan page, but the fan page told me how to link the Far Isle Half-Elven fan site to Twitter when WolfSinger Publications publishes my Half-Elven novelette: "Taking Vengeance".

Before you think this is going to do me a lot of good, remember I must promote the thing ... only I'm not going to bother all the people on my mailing lists with the news.  I'm just old enough to consider that spam.  Don't think it's a Pyrrhic victory though.  I do plan to do a little "pay per click" advertising on Facebook.

Traffic is something of a mystery to me.  I know the counters include the Search Engine bots, but I can't believe the search engines and I have visited the site over 400 times since November.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Them Dern Meta Tags

and other search engine optimization problems.

In the course of building a writer's website for my Half-Elven fantasy world -- because I sold something [ Taking Vengeance to WolfSinger Publications ] -- I learned why novices need expert help in building a website.  Bottom line:  If the search engines can't find you, you loose a great share of your potential audience.  Granted some search criteria [keywords people use] that show up in your statistics are just plain weird, but you need to have words that match your subject matter in both your blog ... and your url.

I didn't when I set of the Half-Elven website blog,
but hope I've now corrected it.

Writer's websites offer another unique search engine problem, though.  Meta tag word density.  I don't think I'll be able to correct my lack of meta tag density/frequency.  It's just not good style to mention your keyword in every sentence. 

On a happier note:
Have a joyous and productive 2011, all.
Also, congratulations to artist Igor Glushkin and his wife's on their first child -- Sasha.

So, what else is going on since I last blogged?  I've been writing in and out of the Half-Elven world, but have nothing to show yet.  I'm still struggling to get a new Renna tale up.  My first crit readers put their finger on my problem.  I introduce too much information in the first few pages.

Then, an editor, who recently rejected another Half-Elven story, validated their comments.  Too many characters make a short story too confusing and hard to follow.

Blech.  Guess I get the fun of trying to cure the problem.   So, back to the drawing board ... sorry, computer.  The editor suggest I lengthen the story -- which is what I have been doing for the non-Half-Elven story.  My critiquers wanted more back story.  Can you believe that?