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October’s over already?

view of Surrey/Vancouver from hotel

Surrey/Vancouver from the 19th floor.

October’s been fun, but super busy. The manuscript for book four in the Men of Steele series is back from the editor with great revision notes that I’ll be working on before a few more eyes take a last-minute look at it.

This is Kurt and Caitlyn’s long-awaited story, and I can’t wait to bring it to you in January.

While my editor had her red pen out, I was getting for my trip to the Surrey International Writers Conference (SiWC) in British Columbia, Canada. As prep for one of my workshops, I updated—and added another small section to—Productivity Tools for Writers. Look for the second edition, free at your favorite online retailer. And if you find it useful, would you consider leaving a review?

Productivity Tools for Writers, 2nd ed cover

For those who’ve asked, I plan to publish a print version soon.

SiWC was fantastic. Friendly, diverse, and full of energy. I was so busy giving my own workshops, giving blue pencil sessions (quick reads with feedback), fitting in an occasional run and some fresh air, and recovering from the crowd that I didn’t make it to many workshops. But the keynote speakers were amazing.

blurry photo of Steven Tyler and others at Vancouver airport

Steven Tyler (red jacket) at the airport. Blurry because I was trying to be discreet, LOL.

A few highlights include meeting Diana Gabaldon of Outlander fame in the elevator, and seeing Steven Tyler of Aerosmith at the Vancouver airport on my way home. I also met or reconnected with many other cool people, some of whom I “knew” in person or through social media, and many more who were new to me. I enjoyed them all.

pic of Gwen Hernandez and Kim Strom

Me with awesome creative coach Kim Strom.

For the most part, writers are just plain nice people, and there’s nothing like being surrounded by hundreds of people who “get” you.

Mary Robinette Kowal and her puppet at lectern

Mary Robinette Kowal–well, actually her puppet–giving a keynote.

By the way, you have to check out Tetsuro Shigematsu. This broadcaster, actor, and playwright gave a tear-jerker of a keynote speech about his father—most of the speakers had us alternating between laughing and crying, especially Liza Palmer and Mary Robinette Kowal—and has the best facial hair and wardrobe ever. (Sorry, my pics didn’t turn out.) I’d listen to him read just about anything, and I hope his play Empire of the Son comes to the U.S. one of these days. I’ll be first in line.

Now, I’m trying to catch up on my work stuff. Today, my latest Scrivener post went up at Writer Unboxed, complete with video. It’s called “4 Ways to Make Notes in Scrivener” and covers annotations, comments, and document/project notes. I hope you’ll check it out.

empty airport terminal

Deserted international terminal connector in Vancouver. Scary.

Happy Halloween!

Self-pub practice (or, I made a book!)

PTFWCover2

I made a book!

Before I gave my “Ebooks Made Easy with Scrivener” workshop at the Romance Writers of America National Conference last month, I figured I’d better actually go through the entire process of creating a book, from writing to publication.

I’m so glad I did! I learned a few helpful tricks about how to set things up that never would have occurred to me had I not gone through it from start to finish. Plus, now I have a bit of street cred. 😉

The hardest part was coming up with something to publish. I figured if I was going to put a book out there, it might as well have value to someone. But my fiction’s not ready, I can’t write anything that competes with Scrivener For Dummies, and I didn’t have time to create something completely from scratch.

Then it hit me. I taught an online course for RWA University in June about writing tools for the PC and Mac, where I talked about free and low-cost software programs and apps that help you reduce distractions, collect research, manage your time better, organize your writing, and back up your work.

The five-day class received a positive response, so I figured that it was useful information. If anyone bothered to pay 99¢ for it, I didn’t want them to feel cheated.

So, I expanded and polished my lessons and compiled them into a short ebook—I’d call it an ebooklet, equivalent to around 30 pages—called Productivity Tools For Writers.

Voila! Instant book, (hopefully) worthwhile content, and good practice for me. And, hey, I’ve even sold a few copies. 🙂

Next stop: fiction.