WARNING – THIS POST HAS MANY MORE PICTURES THAN NORMAL! AND THEY’RE AWESOME!
First of all, yes, I missed last week’s blog post. But I have an excellent excuse this time. I flew to New Mexico to help Baby Bird move from Santa Fe to her new apartment in Albuquerque. Of course, flying during the holidays can be all sorts of fun, as you can see in the picture here. That was the scene at a bit before 5 AM last Thursday at Tulsa International. I can only imagine how wild it was later in the day, and TIA is a small airport compared to some of the larger cities. Places like Houston, Chicago, or New York must be truly nightmarish during the holidays.
But it all went smoothly, and I arrived the morning after the first snow of the season in Albuquerque. And while the snow was beautiful, the ice on the roads was most definitely not. Still, we made it all right, and there’s that whole, “all’s well that ends well” thing, right? And the view was really nice once we were safely at the apartment. I mean, isn’t that beautimous? (Well, other than the chain-link fence, that is.)
She had a few friends to help, so I got to meet some of her cohorts. They were really nice… wow, I almost called them kids. And when I think about it, they’re all around the age MBH & I were when we got married. (And here’s where I insert the obligatory “where did the time go?” comment… Oy!)
Over the next few days, we finished packing her life into boxes, (though she had honestly already done most of the packing), got one of those big, orange, moving trucks, packed it up, moved her from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, unpacked her life at the new location, and organized things in such a manner that she could function in the new apartment. And for an artist, that includes setting up the improvised painting studio in the breakfast nook, and hanging lots of artwork.
And I LOVED being able to see how she does that, and to help with it. There is painter’s canvas on the floor, plastic sheeting on the walls, flaps cut in the plastic for air vents and thermostats… it was a pretty intricate setup. But it’s necessary for a college student who would like to one day get back her security deposit. LOL
MBH and I worry about her commute now. She’ll have classes in Santa Fe, so there’s about an hour commute each way. But in truth, it’s not the distance or the time that concerns us. It’s the fact that there’s the potential for her to be driving it in snowy, icy conditions. And for someone used to living in Houston and San Antonio, those are some seriously different driving conditions than she’s used to.
But Baby Bird isn’t really a baby anymore, so we’ll just have to worry in relative silence. RELATIVE silence…
The Ladies – six panels, oil on canvas
Now, I’m going to move on to my writing progress synopsis, but since we’re talking about Baby Bird and her art work (yeah, I’m a proud papa, so sue me ), I’ll be sprinkling some pictures of some of her paintings throughout the rest of this post.
Writing Progress –
Animorph – Acrylic on paper
AP2 – . Between the holidays and travel, I haven’t made a whole lot of progress on The Payne Before The Storm. It’s currently sitting at just over 99k words after the third major revision, but that isn’t counting about 20k that I excised as part of the beginning of AP3, the third in the series. So once this one is finished, I’ll already have a decent start on yet another Amber Payne novel. No promises on when it will be finished, because I have other books I also need to be writing. Nevertheless, it’s a little bit of a head start.
TBL – I haven’t spoken about The Burning Land in quite some time, have I? The only reason I’m mentioning it now is that I’ve decided to use it as practice for recording my own audiobooks.
Owl – Watercolor on paper
After the problems I ran into with my narrator for Year 12, I’m leaning more and more toward starting to do my own narrations. I think I have a decent enough voice, and I’ve done some minor readings and sound editing for a few podcasts, so I’m familiar with the basics of the process.
But none of that is a guarantee that I can really do what I think I can do. With that in mind, I decided that it made sense to start with something small. And since The Burning Land is the shortest work I’ve published, what could be better?
So I set up and recorded it the day before I left for New Mexico. It’s a 5k word short story, and it took me right at an hour to do a master take. Next step is to make a copy for backup, and then begin the editing process. After that, I hope to be able to submit it to ACX for release on Audible, iTunes, and of course, Amazon. So if things go well with the production of the TBL audiobook, then I can make a more informed decision on whether or not there’s an ROI to doing the audiobook for Y12.
Untitled – Oil on Canvas
Learning to Write –
And finally, in the writing “business” category… the flights back from New Mexico gave me a little time to read. I didn’t get time to read on the way out because I ended up in a fun conversation with a very pleasant gentleman across the aisle on the flight to Albuquerque, and we were back on the ground before I knew it. By the way… Nate, if you actually read this, here’s me saying hello.
Untitled – Oil on Canvas
However, on the way home, I was able to finally make quite a bit of progress on the book I mentioned in WW115, way back in August… (Newsletter Ninja: How to Become an Author Mailing List Expert). I’m about 90% through it now, and am amazed at just how much sense the book is making… and in just how badly I’ve missed the mark in what I should be trying to do with my mailing list. In fact, a LOT of what I always considered “conventional wisdom” with mailing lists and newsletters really doesn’t make sense when you examine it closely. So yeah, another project to tackle at some point in the future. What’s more, some of what I’ve read might actually affect this blog, as well. But more on that whenever the changes get closer. For now, there are too many other irons in the fire.
Don’t Be an Ass – Watercolor on paper
And finally, I’ve been studying a bit on Amazon ads, keywords, book categories, and the like, in an effort to (hopefully) learn how to gain more visibility for my books. The more I learn, the more I’m reminded that writing is a business… and that business is always shifting. When you try to settle on a working model, the industry has a tendency to shift and leave you in the dust. I need to be more vigilant on that side of things.
All right, I suppose I’ve meandered on for long enough. However, in reading back through this post I realized that with all of Baby Bird’s paintings, I didn’t show anything to give the scale. She doesn’t do much in the way of small paintings, so these last few pictures will give you an idea of what kind of size we’re looking at. Enjoy, and stay safe.