Tag Archives: Port Gallatan

What’s New in 2019!

imageHappy 2019!

Listening to Above and Beyond by Bassnectar & Seth Drake from Divergent Spectrum and getting Bind:  Book 9 in the Metatron’s Army Series ready for a February release.

I’ve got a lot of exciting projects this year!

Port Gallatan.  After stepping away from the Port Gallatan project for several months I’ve figured out what needs to happen.

Read:  Where to take this project.

Due to factors beyond my control, I hit a wall immediately prior to the release of Soothsayer, the follow on to Port in a Storm.  Knowing I wasn’t going to be able to progress until I resolved the issue, I stepped away from the novel.

It was more than not liking the plot.  I needed to understand how I got so off course to begin with.  I refused to go back to the project until I had a resolution to both of those issues.

I am happy to say that as of this morning both issues have been resolved.

If you can believe, I was left with the opening music to The Waltons playing in my head for over an hour after!  It is so inconvenient at times to have imagery serve as a metaphor, even if it’s helpful.

Metatron’s Army.  I continue to work on the End Game of the series and prepare novels for periodic release. Diagonals:  Book Ten in the series is scheduled for an April 2019 release.

Something New.  In addition to new releases in quirky Port Gallatan, I’m looking forward to an exciting new project that will follow Metatron’s Army.  I’ll be releasing additional information as it becomes available.

Starting Spring 2019.

Odds and Ends.  I continue to update Elizabethmaxim.com as appropriate.

Stay Tuned!

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Bringing a Story to Life: Single Title V Series

book_series-300x200As an author, I think one of my favorite stories comes from Dianna Gabaldon and since I heard it second hand I won’t quote her.

The story was related several years ago during an Oakland, CA RWA Chapter meeting – told by a NY Times Best Selling author who was trying to make a point as she shared nuggets of wisdom with us.  This author was (and is) the epitome of grace with a no-nonsense down to earth style.

Apparently, Diana was surprised – perhaps flummoxed – to find her Outlander novel filed under Romance.

It was fiction in her eyes.

The lesson that came out of it from the wonderful author talking to our group that Saturday morning was, “To sell your work to a publisher, they have to know where to put it on the shelf.”

In other words, you have to do most of the work for them before you even get a contract.

The story reminded me of when Bill Gates tried to sell the PC to Hewlett and Packard, who apparently asked, “…but what is it good for?”

In other words, how do we sell it – and to who?

The other two take-aways from that session were:

  • Get control of your covers. No bodice rippers as it makes us all seem like air-heads

I was always fascinated by the disgust the female authors had over how they were stereotyped and perhaps lessened by the marketing done to get their stuff off the shelf.

  • If you love something, you’ll find the time to do it

 One of the participants went off on how “it must be nice to be married to a rich doctor so you have time to be a novelist” to which the author smiled and replied, “I got up at 4am every morning to put in two hours of writing time before going to work so I could put my husband through Med School and now he is a surgeon and I’m a writer whose hard work paid off.”

So, where to put something on a shelf – how do you describe your work – that’s a big part of selling it.

I always tell people I do paranormal fiction and I will occasionally mention “romantic elements” but I don’t say “I write romance” because I don’t.  Nothing against romance but my stuff is spy or action adventure or sci-fi but always time travel, ghosts, parallel universes – with people who have sex – yeah – but that isn’t romance – that’s … being an adult? 

Another consideration is whether the story is a single title or part of a series.

This is a hell of a lot harder than one might think.

First of all, there is no wrong way with this.  Whatever the story is – it is.  But it can be easy to get sucked into a series if you aren’t careful.

This is especially true when you start falling in love with characters other than your main characters.

Sometimes, it’s a no-brainer.

I always knew the Kerry’s Game Series was going to be a series.  Each of the characters who work for the paranormal investigation company HQ’d in San Francisco were going to have their own stories.

Metatron’s Army was also a no-brainer though I did spend almost a year deciding on the format for that one.  I realized that having each book being like a chapter in the main character’s life was the best way to go.  To try to short cut the back story would not serve the reader and it would not serve me as the writer.

Other books started as a single title and became part of a series.

Ocracoke.

And I also have Port Gallatan.

This one is different.  The “series” which I’m not sure I’m even going to do because it was never intended to be one – is around a small town rather than a group of characters.

Interestingly, this conundrum is part of an author’s identity.

Something I’m just coming to understand.

I had two different male colleagues misinterpret the scope of books I’d written.

  • In one case, he thought Kerry’s Game was going to be a series about Kerry rather than one for each investigator.
  • In the Port Gallatan situation, he thought everything would be about Clint.

Neither was the case, nor was it ever meant to be the case.

This would be another consideration for a traditional contract – how do we position the author – series or single title?

Where’d They GOOOOOOoooo?  I have a couple of authors I love to read who started a series and then, for whatever reason, quit before it made sense.

Talk about leaving people hanging.

I keep checking back on Amazon to see if they have released anything and to my continued disappointment, no.

In one instance, the author’s adult daughter posted an explanation – her mom took time off to be a mom and though she is still around, she isn’t writing so no – don’t look for any more in her wonderful historical romance series.

Which was actually paranormal fiction but again – it’s about where a publisher thinks they can sell it. 

The attitude.  I have been lucky enough to attend two different RWA conferences.  One when I was a fledgling fiction writer and another later when I was the veteran indie writer.

In the earlier one – 2003 – I had just earned my doctorate – my company was going through merger hell – I walked.

Did the Titanic.  Not interested in the sequel.  Btw:  I’m not kidding.  We had a sandwich board at that company that said, “The difference between us and the Titanic – at least the Titanic had a band.”

A newbie, I sat at tables and watched and listened.  What I saw was an industry – if not a nation – in transition.

  • New York Times Best Selling Writers who’d never been employed out of the home and had no college education versus Harvard graduate authors who were employed full-time and also NY Best Selling Writers.
  • Older authors who referred to their male agents and editors as their spouses – when they weren’t – and younger authors who basically said “Screw that”
  • Older authors who talked about completing a manuscript as being as difficult as birthing a baby (um – no) and younger authors who looked at them like “Seriously?”  I plead the fifth but vomit comes to mind.  Especially with the whole agent/editor as a spouse thing.  Do their spouses know this?  Do the spouses of the agents/editors?!
  • Older authors who said “Chocolate and hugs and crying with your editor solves everything” and younger authors who said “When the going gets tough the tough get going.”

I literally sat there and listened to the fireworks.

Fascinating.

Honestly, each side had a lot of wisdom and a lot of right but they were too busy being threatened by each other I guess.  Or rather not understanding that it was a Brave New World for authors – just as it is now because – for better or for worse – Smashwords brought the Publishing world to its knees.

So a lot of burden goes on an indie writer.

Even one with a lot of corporate experience.

And at the end of the day I find one of my biggest struggles isn’t marketing or what search words to use but whether or not to make a story part of a series.

Each author needs to do what works for them for each project.

Spooky Fun – The Paranormal In Action

done  HALLOWEEN /// halloween night

Tis the Season for Spooky Fun.  To celebrate, I have done a series of videos in which I talk about what it’s like to have ghosts and angels in my life.  I’ll be posting these videos throughout the remainder of October

Teaser:  Though I discuss the difference between angels and ghosts, my very first encounter with a spirit – which happened when I was five – remains a mystery of the two.

To this day I don’t know if the girl was an angel or a spirit.

We were at my maternal grandmother’s house in Farmington Hills and I was outside playing before dinner.  I heard crying.  I followed the sound and found a little girl all dressed in white – blonde hair with a light blue ribbon in her long hair – sitting on the back steps of the house next door to my grandmother’s.

The one on the corner.

Feeling bad for the little girl, I went up and talked to her for quite some time. When I heard my name being called I told her I had to go but I invited her to dinner with us.

Being a descendant of Scottish Highlanders, I was taught there’s always room for one more at the dinner table.

She told me she couldn’t and I went back – regretting leaving her behind.  I asked my grandmother who the little girl next door was.  As you may have guessed, my grandmother had no idea who I was talking about.  She said, “There is no little girl next door.”

I said, “Well, maybe she’s visiting her grandparents.”

My grandmother said, “Bethy, my neighbors aren’t even home.  They’re on vacation.  There’s no one there.”

I ran back out and the little girl was no longer sitting there.

I looked for her everywhere, called out for her – though she never gave me her name.

I returned and was very upset.  So was my grandmother but not because she thought I was lying.  You see, being psychic runs in our family.  It often skips a generation for some reason but regardless, it was a sobering moment for my grandmother.

She understood the burden of it – and I was only five.

She hugged me and told me not to worry about it.

Twenty years later, the ghost of my grandmother appeared at my Farmington Hills apartment to comfort me at a time of need.  It was one of the more startling moments of my paranormal life.

I hope you enjoy hearing about the more memorable – and often humorous – paranormal events in my life.

Bringing a Story to Life – The Paranormal in Action

rose-trellis-cj-mckendryI recently filmed several vlogs for the Metatron’s Army and Port Gallatan series.  In one of the videos, I share a bit about how paranormal events inspired the upcoming Soothsayer.  A lot of work went into the videos and as I lay in bed Friday night, I pondered one of the stories which could be interpreted more or less as a vision.

It isn’t exactly – it was more like looking through an open doorway and seeing into another … place.

I considered whether or not I should reshoot the vlog, decided to give it a couple more days to decide.

On Saturday, I attended a Native American ceremony.  One of the tribal women shared a story of sitting by a lake and having a vision. She went on to talk about the importance of visions and the helpful information that can be gained from such an experience.  As I drove home, I thought how nice it was to hear someone else talk about visions.

Visions are part of the tribal culture and so no one thought anything odd about her story.

On Sunday, we were driving to church, and I thought of the woman’s story and how it was a bit of a coincidence that after waking up feeling uncertain about telling my own story, I heard someone tell theirs – with confidence and to complete approval and understanding.

I again considered that it was a part of her culture and how fortunate she was that this was true.  I lamented that in spite of stories in the Bible, there were few current stories of visions in Christian circles.

At least not the ones I’ve been hanging out in.

I continued to think on this as I stared out at the water and listened to the service.  After the gospel, our priest shared her thoughts about its meaning and went on to tell a personal story.

She’d recently lost her mom and was feeling lonely and sad.  She visited a beautiful rose garden and prayed about her feelings.  As she sat there, a vision of Jesus appeared next to her.  Though she spoke of the comfort from the experience, my mind was on the fact she’d shared a story about a vision.

It was as if an angel tapped me on the shoulder and said, “We’re listening.”

Needless to say, I felt a lot better about the story I share on the vlog.

I will be posting the vlogs soon.

Soothsayer is slated for an October 2018 release.

Bringing a Story to Life – Integrating the Paranormal

1*sii-ojjjlh2f-NMBH3o99gI recently attended a presentation by a group of Middle School students.  As sometimes happens, a student froze up, her nervousness making it difficult to get more than a sentence out.

It was truly a deer in the headlight’s moment for her.

Her team was completely supportive and there wasn’t an adult in the room who wasn’t sympathetic.

The young woman and her parents were at my table.  I found an opportune moment to congratulate her on the wonderful job she and her team did,  and when she told me she got nervous I said, “Everyone does.  Even grown-ups.”

I went on to tell her about how – very recently – my husband was doing a remote presentation to customers when we lost Internet connectivity to our house.  I explained that it just dropped right in the middle of the presentation –that such things are a part of life.  Stuff happens.

The story made an impact and she totally relaxed.

I could see the gears turning as she realized she wasn’t so unique – she was part of a much larger group of people – a group that includes successful people. 

That conversation came home this evening as I was filming vlogs for Metatron’s Army and Soothsayer, the upcoming Port Gallatan story.  A lot of preparation goes into creating these vlogs, but this last batch merited more thought than usual… because of the subject.

The paranormal and how I integrate my paranormal abilities/experiences into my work.

After filming two of the vlogs, I realized that I was shaking.

I was nervous.

I couldn’t help thinking of the irony –  my recent conversation with the young woman intended to bolster her confidence and there I was shaking.

It was particularly ironic given the number of times in my corporate career I got up in front of hundreds of strangers and was totally fine/totally confident.

I can tell you this much – it’s a hell of a lot easier when you’re representing a large corporation than putting yourself out there on your own merit.

A false sense of confidence but there it is.

I’m proud of the work I did tonight – of the work I do – but that doesn’t mean I don’t get nervous.

And that puts me in a larger crowd