laramie: (Default)
2017-07-10 09:13 am

I'm worried now, but I won't be worried long...

Week of Jul 3 - 10

Last night Rajesh broke a month long streak of NOT attacking me in the middle of the night. I'm left with a big scratch on my knee, a smaller one on my foot and a tiny one on my wrist. I think it's the weather. It was oppressive with the tension of a storm that never really broke in our area, despite hail in other quarters. It's been hot and humid for the past week and his appetite has been off. I gave him some catnip this morning and he's curled up asleep now.

Just briefly: in the past few days since my last report, at MFW I attended an interesting workshop on marketing, basically about analyzing my 'brand' to distinguish my work from that of every other writer out there.

I realized I'll have to do all the exercises twice, since Naomi Stone's books also need to be distinguished from Laramie Sasseville's books. This led me to update the web page for my Laramie fiction in prep for the promos that are going out this week for 'One of Me is Missing.' (Available at $0.99 for a limited time only!)

After some research into formatting mobi & epub with Scrivener, I redid 'Wedding the Wind' and have a nicer version up on Instafreebie as an offering for my newsletter subscribers during this promo week.

This week I need to get back in the writing groove and not obsess about the promos.

Coming up:
Write: Yuletide
Start audio recording, with 'Fair Play' ?
Friday: dentist
Saturday: Mnstf picnic

laramie: (Default)
2017-06-28 11:42 am

I love my books and stories more than I love things clean,

Because you've been so good:
Sometime Soon
– tto 'Someday Soon'  Lyrics by Laramie Sasseville


Dishes stacked up in the sink, utensils, pots and pans,

From meals in which I have partaken,

Some just in from supper and some from who knows when,

Sometime soon, gonna wash  ‘em, sometime soon.

 

I really do not like to see that grungy bathtub ring,

Scale build-up on fixtures leaves me cryin’

I would take a scrub brush to the whole dang thing -

Sometime soon, gonna scrub it sometime soon.

 

But there’s no time to clean,

I’ve got more urgent chores to do,

Guess it’s cause I’m a writer with a day job too…

 

So grow, you dirty dish stack, grow you dust piles, too

My next book launches in just eighteen days -

I love my books and stories more than I love things clean,

Sometime soon, gonna scrub it, sometime soon.

 

But there’s no time to clean, I’ve got more urgent chores to do,

Guess it’s cause I’m a writer with a day job too…

 

So grow, you dirty dish stack, grow you dust piles, too

My next book launches in just fourteen days -

I love my books and stories more than I love things clean,

Sometime soon, gonna wash 'em, sometime soon.

Sometime soon, gonna scrub it, sometime soon.

 

laramie: (Default)
2017-06-23 11:23 am

In the works...

I've been putting together a collection of my non-romance fantasy short stories. Three of these were previously published. My plan is to make the collection a freebie with a Creative Commons license, and offer it as a bonus to people who sign up for the mailing list I use to share news of my fantasy stories for young readers. These aren't necessarily children's stories, but the first two have child protagonists, one employs fairy tale motifs and they are all certainly odd.

Wedding the Wind; Four Odd Tales

* The title story, Wedding the Wind, turns out to be an origin story for Mary Poppins, as a new Mary takes up the mantle, er, umbrella of her predecessor.

* Tess on the Stairs is an ultra-short ghost story that will make sense only to those familiar with the oeuvre of the Grateful Dead. (Originally published in Spinning Free)

* Survival, in which one monster relates to another, placed in the Minneapolis City Pages' Annual Fiction Contest some years ago and was originally published in that periodical.

* Without the Wicked Witch consists of a speculation in which psychological health makes everyone happier and fairy tales pathetic. (Originally published in Daughters of Nyx).

laramie: (Default)
2017-01-03 11:24 am

Dreaming my life away

I had a dream the other night in which my late brother, David played a part. He was in another room, out of sight, but still singing with me, our voices sounding together.
laramie: (Default)
2014-10-02 02:14 pm

At Last!

I learned today that Kensington will be offering 'Wonder Guy' on a Print On Demand basis! It will be so nice to have an option for people who 'don't do' digital books.



Not sure when. They've just finished formatting the books whose authors' last names start with 'A' and even my pseudonym starts with 'S.'

I'll keep you updated!
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laramie: (Default)
2014-10-02 02:13 pm

Kindle Freebie!


Kindle Freebie: Clockwork Whalers, a Steampunk short story:
What if the whalers of the late 19th Century had a steampunk version of skyping? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NRWJ4QY

Free October 1-5, to celebrate the October 6th release of 'Shining Hope!'
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laramie: (Default)
2014-08-13 09:34 am

State of the Writing Career



Today I've been updating my website with the new cover art. Above are the covers for my novels, novellas, and short story collections to date. (I only have one story in 'Love in the Land of Lakes,' a joint effort by the members of MFW, our local chapter of RWA).
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laramie: (Default)
2014-07-30 08:48 am

Game Development

After last night's play testing at the game developers' meetup, I came home with a couple great suggestions for making the wild cards that are new to BUZZ a bit more intuitive - all to keep play moving along quickly.

The wilds I've been calling 'Color Shifts' will be Chameleons and will have new art, making it more obvious that their function is to mimic whatever they're played atop, in their own color. The 'Jokers' will become 'Nullify' cards capable of squashing the effect of any action cards and negating any other Wild, while allowing the player to substitute his/her own value.

This is slightly different from the original intent of the card, but makes for more intuitive play and fills a valuable role - offering at least some hope of escape from those dreaded conga chains of scorpions that may demand you 'Draw 12' - or more!

In the final week of this Kickstarter, it's now more important than ever to spread the word to anyone who may be interested in this fun-for-the-whole-family game!
laramie: (Default)
2014-07-21 10:13 am

Still crazy after all these years

(cross-posted from WonderbySometime at Wordpress)

Oh no! I’m late! I feel like the white rabbit with his pocket-watch, rushing from one thing to another, and can only ask myself how I can be so busy and still so short in funds.

The short answer is that I’m busy with much work entailing only delayed rewards, and much on-spec work, like books I can’t sell until they are written, and currently a Kickstarter project for a new card game, Buzz.* Wearing my artist-hat, I put in many hours’ work creating the cards and readying them for print (and a download version), and will only be paid for that time if the Kickstarter succeeds. This is the first time I’ve tried running this sort of fund-raiser and I can tell you it’s raising more anxiety than funds.

The anxiety, like many unpleasant sensations, at least counts as fodder for the writer’s mill. It leads me to examine my underlying feelings: am I even worthy of success? Maybe all I deserve is to eke out my existence like a dog under the table at the feast of love everyone else in the world enjoys. Can I only be successful if enough people like me? Why don’t people like me?

I’m not claiming that these feelings are based on anything realistic – indeed, I’m warmed to the point of getting misty-eyed by how supportive some of my friends have been – that doesn’t mean the anxieties won’t go ahead and creep in, twisting the view to show off all the worst angles.

Why doesn’t everyone like me? Why am I not the sole and central focus of everyone’s lives? Didn’t it used to be that way once? (Obviously a first-born child). Don’t I deserve to be as celebrated as anyone else in the world (more than any Kardassian at least) or anyone who’s accomplished as much as I have? Why can’t all the authors be best-selling authors? (Again, no claims for logic or consistency here.)

Okay, having taken due note of my rich crop of anxieties, like a good writer, I can scramble into a position of some perspective. Hey, look at that: feelings of inferiority and superiority all mixed up together with helplessness, and fear, and longing, and an egocentricity capable of overlooking billions of others who have suffered and struggled, feared and longed throughout human history. Amazing really.

I can’t say gaining some perspective has solved any of my problems, but I do feel better armed to write believably about characters going through any similar circumstance – and hey, when I’m writing it, I can give it the happy ending I can never be sure of for myself.

* Fun for the whole family! Deets here: http://kck.st/1oF3yRs
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laramie: (Default)
2014-06-23 05:00 pm

Let's do this Kickstarter thing

I'm now wondering about art styles. This is an opportunity to do a set of completely new, fun art.

/ / / / / / / /

I've experimented with a number of different styles over the years, from fairly realistic and representational to more abstract-expressionist to cartoony. (Feel free to take a look at what's on my portfolio site: http://www.dreamspell.net)

What do y'all think might be most appealing in this kind of card game format?

Sent out an inquiry to three different companies that print custom game cards:

"Hi, I'm asking about a custom deck of 126 cards, sized 2.25 x 3.5" (Bridge size), Custom artwork on front and back; some cards could be two-color; some are four-color, full bleed on fronts. I'd provide all artwork to your specs. What would you charge per deck for 100 decks? for 250 decks, etc.? What packaging options do you offer?"

Also: reading up on Kickstarter FAQs and advice.
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laramie: (Default)
2014-06-05 08:09 am

One door closes...

I posted on FB yesterday that Friday's job interview came to naught. They hired someone else.

Now I am looking into Kickstarter - the online service that helps creative people raise money from backers to fund specific projects. I have a couple projects in mind that I'd like to work on and dozens on the back burners of my mind.

The couple closest to being ready for proposals are a card game and a picture book.

I've already got some sample art and a manuscript for this picture book and think I could complete the rest of the art readily given the funded time.
Picture Book: Would You Be a Baby )

I'm not sure I know enough people who'd be interested in a picture book to want to help fund the project, though. My niece just had a baby, but there aren't a lot of very young tots in my circles.

The other project is a card game I call BiZar, in the Uno family, inspired by Zar. Like the latter, it would have similar special effect cards, but rather than three suits of colors it would have six, and maybe a couple fewer symbol suits, to keep the size from growing unwieldy. I already came up with a working deck with the three alternate colors and think I could produce alternate symbols and a full set of the rules fairly easily. And I DO know a lot of gamesters.

Meanwhile, I continue to work on the latest novel, but working on my own artistic projects - with funding! - would beat a supplemental day job hands down.
laramie: (Default)
2014-04-24 06:10 pm

Boosting the Signal

Via [personal profile] cakmpls: If you are friends or fans of Becca Leathers and Graham Leathers: they could use a bit of help right now. Their PayPal address is knitnax@gmail.com. Every little bit will help at the moment.
laramie: (Default)
2014-02-02 07:47 am

Unpacking

Cross-posted to my blog

Three months after moving house, I’m still unpacking. I’m down to far fewer boxes, but far fewer places to put things once they’re unpacked.

I’m now using one of the emptied boxes to collect things I feel I can do without.
Reluctantly, I’m forced to admit to myself that I’ll probably never open that mind-soul-healing book again – not with several others in a similar vein already on the shelves. Amazingly, now that I have two novels, two novellas and two collections of short stories published, I can do without the book telling me how to get published. How many instruction books do I need for a musical instrument I seldom play? Or for software no longer installed on my computer? It’s time to go through my shelves and make some decisions. Will I ever read this again, or that to begin with? Which of the non-fiction books are outdated? Which will actually be useful?

Why do I keep those I keep? With many of my fiction books, I keep them as reminders of the adventures I experienced and the people I’ve come to know and care about between their pages. A book on a shelf is like a photo in a family album.

Picking up a book, one can open the pages at any time and slip back into its world of people and adventures once again. That world is always there in potential, and I find it reassuring to see all those potential worlds racked on the shelves around me. I love my Nook – mostly because I can have my books and lift them, too – but the presence of a solid book is a magical thing.

Still, when I have to pile some books in front of others, it takes away the virtue of being able to see those reminders arrayed before me.

A book on a shelf is like a photo in a family album. A person doesn’t get rid of any of the photos of people and times that are truly meaningful. Every single shot holds a precious memory. But, say you only have room to keep one or two photo albums out for display. You can look through all the photos from a special event and keep one or two that are representative, and file the rest in a box (neatly labeled of course, to make future access easy) and store the box away.

Maybe I need every single volume of the Harry Potter series available – I may well want to read them again – but I might keep only the first volume of another series handy, if I knew where to find the rest when I needed them. Maybe I only need the first volume in hard copy if I have the others on my Nook… And maybe there are some stories that don’t mean as much to me as others, which may yet be enjoyable enough to make it worth sharing them with other readers by donating to a library, prison reading program, or even selling off to a used book store. Let the sorting begin!
laramie: (Default)
2013-12-30 11:34 am

Week of December 23 - 30

Happy New Year! May 2014 be blest, fulfilling and filled with warmth and love for all of us!

This last week was a good one as far as social activities go, but so-so for keeping up with writing and unpacking goals. I did make some progress in revising the scenes my CPs found problematic, and I did go through a lot of my officey stuff on Christmas Eve, sorting out a lot of pens, pencils, and some fancy papers to give to my cousin’s kids for arts & crafts projects. I also started again running the craigslist ads offering my freelance services, which had been in suspension while working my temp assignment.

I did seek out tax forms, and have been gathering related info. I’m glad I’d already assembled all the email correspondence between myself and Ron Gallati, (with our court date set for Jan 28) because this morning my email inbox was missing the 1000 past emails that I had saved there yesterday. Update: whew! They automatically created an archive folder for me; past correspondence is safe.

Socially, I attended a handful of holiday gatherings, got together with old friends and went with another friend to see ‘Frozen.’ This is good because I’m doubtful of getting out on New Year’s Eve. It’s too cold, especially at night, and the bus service on holidays is too scanty. I’ll be content with having wished many people a happy new year already.

I concluded my Jane Austen re-read with Northanger Abbey. I think that and ‘Emma’ are my favorites.

Meanwhile, I’ve been looking back over the past year and assessing my goals for the future. My 2013 review: http://skylarker.livejournal.com/912632.html

For Next Time: )
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laramie: (Default)
2013-12-29 03:14 pm

The Year in Review: 2013

January 2013: I started out the new year living at the Grand House, behind on rent, with the hot water heater out of commission, and worried about work and income. (Although a Jewelmark order and formatting gig (for an options trading book) were in the works.) ‘Sweet Mercy,’ my very first publication from Champagne Books, had been out for a month and I was polishing ‘Safe Haven.’ I received cover art for ‘Spirited!’ – from which they’d dropped my exclamation point, experimented with ‘free download day’ promotions, worked on Line Edits for ‘Wonder Guy.’ I formatted the MFW Anthology, ‘Love in the Land of Lakes,’ for print and digital versions and saw the first Hobbit movie!

Compare and Contrast: Nearly a year later, I’m living in my own small apartment in New Brighton, rent is current and I’ve just fulfilled a successful temp assignment. My arts & craft facilities are in disarray after moving, though not total chaos. A new Hobbit movie is out, but I’m not liking the reviews. ‘Safe Haven’ has been out for a couple months and I’m working on its sequel, ‘Shining Hope.’

Having learned my lesson last year, when a check went astray because the contact info on my website was out of date, I’ve just updated the site with my new address.
The ups and downs of 2013 )

Looking forward to 2014, my plans for the near future include:
  • a renewed job hunt,
  • preparing my taxes, and
  • preparing for my court date on January 28th.
Long term:
  • More writing: completing ‘Shining Hope’ and submitting it to my editor at Champagne, along with a suggestion that all three Team Guardian novellas be compiled into a single volume.
  • I also aim to produce POD versions of ‘Wonder Guy’ and ‘More Wishes’ for Lulu, and a digital version of ‘More Wishes’ for Smashwords.
  • Additionally, I’m slated to take over production of ‘The Muse’ for MFW and to keep the club website updated.

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laramie: (Default)
2013-08-13 10:29 am

Moving Week

Since Sunday's debacle (details in earlier post) I've sent Ron an email asking politely to be reimbursed for my moving expenses (approx $830) and have not heard back from him. My brother Dave, the lawyer, is on standby.

Yesterday I caught up with my transcription and sent my monthly mss to my critique partners for our meeting on Sunday, and have started the reading and wrote my responses for a blog interview that will go live on Monday.

Before fate took the abrupt plot twist, I'd already started setting up the other two books I'm formatting for 40Press; I want to finish those this week, and start on the edits for the novella scheduled for October release. I had put these projects on hold while moving, and they need to be completed asap now.

This week's goals:
- Reorient myself (start looking into housing options)
- Edits for 'Safe Haven' - other writing
- Read for CPs
- format 40Press books

Friday: Gamesday
Sunday: CP Meeting

I hope life is much quieter for you this week than it's been for me and Tigger, who is handling things very well, considering that my brother's house has two other cats AND two DOGS!
laramie: (Default)
2013-08-03 07:11 am

(no subject)

I wrote on the day after reaching my latest Day 100, but have since been focused almost entirely on packing for my upcoming move and decided I need the hiatus for a few days at least.

I now face a new chapter of my life, and sympathize greatly with the poor characters in our books who don't know what the author has in mind for them but must face each day as it comes.
laramie: (Default)
2013-06-29 11:04 am

Week of June 23 - 30

During the past week's writers' retreat I completed the drafts of the two inter-related short stories on which I've been working for some time. Yay! They are very rough and part of this week's goal is to apply critique partner feedback and polish them so they'll be ready for publication. I also started making notes for another story in the Team Guardian series.

At this point, it's now only a handful of days before Convergence where I'm scheduled to appear on several panels, so I will need to prepare for that and prepare some artwork to show there.

Due to infelicitous timing of a couple panels, I've arranged crash space for Thursday and Friday nights. I'll have to abandon Tigger overnight again so soon following my trip, and plan to commute home again during the days to make sure the kitties are all cared for.

In the meanwhile, I've only got to the end of the month now to find a job, enabling me to find new place to stay, then to pack all my stuff and make arrangements for moving. I'm trying not to panic, but that's a tough task in itself.

My mother's memorial service is planned for July 16, which will undoubtedly take some time away from dealing with my own situation. I'll have to travel to Fergus and help my brothers and sisters deal with the large household full of stuff Mom left behind. (Plus side: I may get a nearly-new computer out of the deal.)

This all seems overwhelming, but I'll do what I can do, one step at a time.

For Next Time: )
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laramie: (Default)
2013-06-28 05:30 pm

Everybody's Talkin'

Returned today from the writers' retreat at Jewett Lake to find this wonderful review posted on Amazon and Goodreads:
"I'll state this right up front. I loved Wonder Guy. This is a charming story with likable, real people interspersed among characters that aren't, well, precisely real. Think adorable fairy godmothers and nasty, shape shifting creatures from another world.
Bookish grad student, Greg Roberts, is a wonderful, caring guy but overlooked and unappreciated by the girl of his dreams, his next door neighbor, Gloria. Desperate to impress her, he agrees to take on extraordinary powers. In doing so, he manages to catch her eye and do some good for the citizens of his home town, Minneapolis. But he really wants to be noticed and loved for who he is and not some masked superhero.
Wonder Guy is whimsical, humorous, lyrical and beautifully written. Ms. Stone does a great job with balance as the story is light and dark, good and evil and most of all, very touching. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.
laramie: (Default)
2013-06-22 02:45 pm

Inspiration

You see it here first: this blog entry will be posted on The Writers' Vineyard on Monday, while I'm on my way to join my critique partners for a writing retreat at the family cabin near Fergus Falls, MN:

Where do stories come from? I imagine that every tale, like every super hero, comes with its own origin story.

My stories tend to arise from particularly strong and troubling feelings. And that makes sense when you consider the importance of giving the characters in a story some strong and driving motivations with which readers can identify.

One of my earliest published short stories was inspired when I noticed signs stapled to telephone poles in my neighborhood, signs alerting people to a rash of local break-ins during which several people had been murdered. My fears got me speculating about how I might respond if I came home to confront an intruder. Being me, what I came up with is probably not an approach I'd recommend (don't try this at home), but it worked for the story in which a young woman who comes home to an intruder tells him about her experience as a were-tiger..

My first middle-grade dark fantasy was inspired by very strong and conflicting feelings of wanting to belong, and at the same time, wanting to lash out at the people whose acceptance I sought. I was, putatively, an adult at the time the inspiration struck, but I eventually recognized the feelings as rising from issues that had been with me since middle school - and middle school was really the right place for them. My 14-year-old heroine, Haley, has an empathic bond with a wasset - a creature out of north woods logger lore, that travels under the snow to attack its prey from below.

My romances are all inspired by the obvious human longing for acceptance and a fulfilling love life, but each romance also comes with issues that need to be resolved for love and acceptance to flourish. In the context of a story, I gain a new perspective on the misunderstandings and hurt feelings I've encountered in life.

I can re-imagine the issues in a story context that allows for resolutions that may not be part of my own experience. As a writer I can give happy endings to my characters if to no one else, and play the part of a fairy godmother. (Thus the origins of my Fairy Godmothers' Union, True Love Local stories, of which 'Wonder Guy' is the latest, full-length novel contribution.)

A sense of isolation and profound discouragement in life acted as one of the driving influences behind my first published full-length novel, 'Spirited!' The story provided a means, in the guise of a magical genie, to show my isolated and discouraged heroine vast worlds of possibility and the limitations of her beliefs about how the universe worked.

The story also reminded her of the importance of her friends and community as she became caught up in an urgent quest to save them all from the influence of an ancient succubus demon.

The old saying, 'tis an ill wind that blows no good' applies here. The darkest and most difficult feelings can serve to inspire a story, perhaps as a challenge to be overcome, perhaps as an underlying wound shaping the life of a hero or heroine, perhaps calling on the world of imagination to offer up distraction or comfort to see us through to the other side of the darkness. Stories are the dreams we choose to dream.
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