A blog post about my blog posts

My author website started getting a ton of re-directs from my old blog address recently, so I of course looked into it. Bots, I thought, or maybe someone following up on old contact information.

Nope! The activity on all come from search term hits that once led to writing process posts.

What a total blast from the past.

Back in the day, I wrote a lot of process posts, sharing discoveries I made while writing  books and then about all the work that came after writing them.  I wrote a LOT about all the issues that have to be tackled before and after hitting “publish.” Book design. Marketing. Merchandising. Publicity. Finances. Distribution channels. ALL THE THINGS.

Basically I wrote little guides to all the different facets of working as an independent author as I came across them. 

Here’s one I re-read and updated Monday: Little Details: font choice

Another of my favorites: Books are pyramids

I wrote process posts like those because writing things down is how I process everything. When I need to learn new skills, methodologies and systems, I researching how other people do them, then test by trial and error (and error and error) then analyze the successes and failures until I know exactly how and why I ended up choosing one over all others.

Even if I’m only explaining things to myself, writing out the facts helps me codify, clarify, and set in practice whatever personal system I’ve cobbled together.  And it made sense to me, back then, to share what i was learning in case it might help someone else.

Somewhere along the line I stopped writing those posts. Not because I stopped learning, no. Life got complicated, and I ran out of energy needed to put private thoughts into a sharable, coherent public format. When that little voice in my head convinced me I wasn’t saying anything other people couldn’t say better, well, it was easy to drop writing about writing.

(I know,  it’s a liar, that voice, but it was loud, and I was tired, and it was easier to curl up in my shell and cling to story writing instead.)

I want to get back into sharing opinions about this indie authoring gig. Recent experiences have convinced me anew that I have plenty to contribute. First I’ll do some posts with links to updated older posts on perennial topics. (There’s one earlier in this post, even!)  And when I think of a new interesting topic, or someone suggests one, I’ll write about that.

It’s a start, and that brings us to the end of this post. In a way I suppose this was a process post about process posts.  A very meta way to begin.

Until later.

And that’s a wrap on ConCoction 2019

The sequel did not disappoint. I had even more fun this year than last.

All my panels were a blast. So MANY great conversations on the role of creatures in stories, types of relationships besides romance and protagonists beyond the badass…wow. Excellent audience participation, and I met many cool new authors, too, which means of course  I have a huge list of titles to grab for my e-reader. And others to bump to the top of the To Be Read list.

I will attempt a list of all the cool authors who returned from last year and the new ones who joined in…but it will be later, when my brain is less mushy. If I try now, I would forget someone and feel horrible about it forever.

There was even an epic cool event called Prompt Joust, which is basically competitive impromptu storytelling. Two storytellers, one-minute time limit, story prompt/prop revealed just before the first person begins. It’s a web series by Story Medics (link here)  but this was a Special ConCoction edition RECORDED LIVE in front of the convention audience.

<gulp> I did it because the idea terrified me and I love doing scary things, and IT WAS A HOOT! I want to do it again! At some point the recordings will be posted on the Youtube Channel. Yes, I will let people know when mine is on. But I’ll also let you know about everyone else’s, because they were ALL great fun.

Other firsts. I did my first-ever reading from Controlled Descent! To my surprise and glee, it found some immediate fans. Readers grabbed all 5 copies I brought, and also some of Flight Plan, since it’s designed to be readable first. I found homes for a few copies of Rough Passages too. (That phrasing always makes me feel like I’m talking about orphaned kittens or something.)

ANYway.

Stickers were a hit again, people said complimentary things about the Unity Movement & Mercury Battalion support patches, and I even sent a couple of patches home with readers. Also, thanks to the great con organizers, I even had NEW bling to pass along!  I ordered a TON of awesome ribbons with Rough Passages-related messages on them. IT was a huge thrill to see people walking around wearing my ribbons.

(I may love book bling a whole lot.)

Post-con there was a scrumptious pub lunch with great friends I made last year and this one, and Sunday evening I hung out w/the ever-amazing Shannon Eichorn & new friend Abigail Delk for a post-con viewing of How to Train Your Dragon 2.

ON the emotions side, con crash came early with a minor anxiety freakout Saturday afternoon and other twitch sessions thereafter.  I’m getting better about spotting the symptoms early and fending off the worst effects. The most successful defense tactic appears to be regularly admitting to everyone I meet that I’ve gone fragile.

Now that I am fully in post-mode, I am certain I was accidentally rude to people, made someone feel left out, BORED them, or, y’know, just plain screwed up somehow.

But throughout the whole con, I felt included and welcomed and valued. So I’m clinging to those happy snapshots and can only hope I succeeded in my clumsy attempts to be socially supportive to others.

Next up in my life: laundry. Then it’s offline and back to revisions and drafting.

Lockdown’s first reviews. Hey Mikey! They like it!

A writer always worries. When I publish, I wonder if anyone could possibly love the babies of my imagination as much as I do. I’m a more like a sea turtle who abandons her offspring to stagger into the ocean on their own than a watchful protective mother duck, but I am a book mama.
I do care. A lot.
Yesterday I tossed my latest story into the cold waters of the world. Not many survived the hatch (by which I mean “not many sales,” I do love to stretch an analogy) but at least a few babies have found loving, happy homes. Here are the first four reviews for Lockdown, in order received.

4.0 out of 5 starsAn emotional roller coaster ride

There are three things that will push me to give a written work a high rating; outstanding and original use of language (think William Shakespeare), painting vivid imagery with words (H. P. Lovecraft), and most commonly, bringing to life believable characters and provoking emotional responses. This story does the later. Right out of the gate I sympathized with Elena, the story’s heroine, and felt real anger toward her father. But wait, as the story unfolds, that reaction reverses. Elena shows real human flaws and grows up over the course of the tale, partly due to sergeant Cody. Now Cody provoked a very strong emotional response from me. I’m a Marine Corps veteran, and Cody personifies what it really means to be a Marine, and that always surprises me when I see it in fiction by authors that have never been Marines. This author nailed it on the head. I’m a big fan of KM Herkes’ work, and the Rough Passages stories are my favorites (Oi! Novel!), and this is an excellent addition. Highly recommended.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1JQ922Q99G1YH

4.0 out of 5 stars

In this comparatively short story KM Herkes has invented a world that is similar to this one, yet believably different. The story draws you in immediately. The author’s expressive way of writing made me want to know more about this strange world that Elena lives in, and the way the girl is portrayed made me care about what will happen to her – and I have read a fair few books where, after the first chapter or so I really haven’t cared about them at all. It’s a knack that some writers have and others strive for.
As the story progresses, the author unveils that Elena has more courage than she has ever realised. She likes the marines she was talking to, so when one of them saves her life without even thinking about it, she realises that, underneath the altered exteriors, humanity still exists in them, so she then does a very brave thing.
This is a story about humanity, friendship and the fears that lie behind mans’ inhumanity to man. I found myself empathising with the main character, and sympathising with the ‘monsters’. I also love the way that the author ties up the ending (which I will not spoil here!)
Do yourself a favour, buy it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R6UD3F4KUSWWF

5.0 out of 5 starsTeen story that adults will enjoy

In Lockdown, Herkes returns to the world where super-hero powers appear in mid-life. What makes this short story so enjoyable to me is that it is told through the eyes of young teens. Experiences and expectations of their parents (whether based on fact, fear, or supposition), and the disruption to home life that parents with powers can create, naturally color the teens’ views. I’ve read a lot of teen fiction, and I would have to say that Herkes’ story ranks up there with the best for reminding us of what it is like to be a teen: navigating friendships, respectfully interacting with parents and other authority figures even when it’s hard, and developing one’s own ideas about the world. It’s a challenging time of life emotionally and psychologically, and not all authors can create teen characters who are true to life while still being people I want to spend time getting to know. The main character here, Elena, is just delightful, and the fully fleshed out supporting cast (teen and adult) are engaging and realistic. I enjoy Herkes’ writing because she does a great job of creating her worlds, and this is one I would like to explore more from Elena’s point of view. And you should explore it, too. Just be ready for it to be over far too quickly and to leave you longing for more.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1P6H52LOHJ73C

Rough Passages is a great series. I love how each story is written to be read independently, but the more you read, the bigger the world becomes. Most of the stories are from the point of view of adults experiencing rollover, the transformation that happens to some when they hit middle age. This one is from the point of view of the young daughter of such an adult, and deals with her fears for her own future. Herkes’s characterization is top notch, and her plots for this series always keep me turning pages. Here’s to many more!

Letters to warm a worried mama’s heart. Lest you think my head is swelling with pride, I can assure you that not all the responses to my stories are positive. Problem is,  I have yet to convince anyone to share those concerns and valid criticisms online. I don’t blindly. I know my stories aren’t for everyone. I drop readers into my worlds much like I drop my story-babies into the publishing seas. Bloop. Immersion with minimal explanation is not a comfortable or enjoyable reading experience for everyone, nor do I expect it to be.

Variety is good. There should be words of all kinds in the world. That’s why I’m committed to continuing this publishing adventure. If I’ve tempted you at all, if you’ve made it this far into my self-congratulatory, back-patting party, here’s a link to Lockdown itself and to my Amazon author page, where you’ll find the rest of the stories in the Rough Passages collection. If you click “follow” on the author page, you even get updates when I put out new stories. Convenient for everyone!

LOCKDOWN: amazon.com/dp/B0164PGADK