It’s 2013, now what? Less blogging and a monthly newsletter

January 5th, 2013

Sometimes decisions are hard and sometimes you just need to wake up from a good nap and have an epiphany. That’s what happened to me today.

After what feels like forever, I’ve finally decided that I’m going to throw myself into producing books and put this blogging thing on the shelf. So from here out, I’ll be using this web site as just that: a web site.

I’ll be keeping my promise to the other indies I have scheduled to do book reviews, and if you have a book you’d like to have me review, then by all means check out my Request a Review page, but those reviews won’t be coming on any regular schedule. If you’re an author, I’m sure you can understand my reasoning behind cutting back.

Occasionally I’ll post updates or news or other interesting things, so don’t despair. 🙂 It’s just not going to be every other day or even every week.

For everything else, like my fan page or follow me on twitter.

Here’s the great news for you, the fan/reader:

I have so many exciting things going on now that I can’t wait to tell you all about it, but there is a catch. You’ll need to sign up for my monthly newsletter if you want access to all the sneak peeks and juicy special prices for new releases.

To that end, let me start this first month of 2013 with an update of some of the exciting things you can look forward to if you sign up for the newsletter:

  1. I’ve contracted with someone through ACX to produce Apprentice Cat as an audio book. I’ll announce when it will be available in the newsletter first.
  2. The cover for Journeyman Cat is finished. I’ll be releasing a sneak peek later this year.
  3. I’m working on a novella set in the Apprentice Cat world called The Malkin, featuring a character from the first book. Subscribers will be the first to know when the ebook is available and receive a special subscriber price.
  4. I’ll be releasing sneak peeks at first chapters and other goodies, including special reduced prices from time to time, but only to anyone who signs up to the newsletter.

Get in on the great deals now by entering your email address in the “Subscribe to my monthly newsletter” in the column to the right. Remember to click the subscribe button, too. 🙂

Can’t wait to let you in on the excitement!

And The NaNoWriMo Craziness Continues…

November 6th, 2012

It hasn’t been easy, but I’m managing to stay up on my NaNoWriMo goals of 1,667 words per day. I don’t think I could do it if I didn’t have this nifty little gadget. (Yes that is an Apprentice Cat ceramic travel mug.) Of course, there have been some issues with it.

Modern technology is a wonder — when it works.

The first hurdle was figuring out how to keep the virtual keyboard from popping up. After some research I discovered an app called Null Keyboard. Of course, it doesn’t work unless you remember to select it from the shortcut menu. 😉

The second initial hurdle was figuring out where to save my documents. For some reason I wasn’t able to save directly to the folder I have in my Dropbox for this book. *shrug* It’s an irritation, but I decided to save my work to the external microSD card, then move it to Dropbox later. From there everything seemed to be working just fine, so I thought I was ready.

On the first day of NaNoWriMo I decided to give my new tablet with bluetooth keyboard a try. Thank God I only typed a couple paragraphs on it because when I plugged the tablet into my laptop to move the document over, I discovered 195 words were missing. Not a huge deal, but still irritating because I had to try to remember what they were.

I should have taken more time to figure out what had happened because the next day I lost about 400 words. When I opened the document on my laptop my entire day’s work was gone. The document was blank.

After some hysterics, which my poor husband had to endure, I discovered the preview on the tablet still showed all those words. At least I could re-type what I’d already done. Time consuming, but not impossible.

You would think I’d give it up after that, but this is not a cheap piece of equipment and I bought it specifically for this purpose. I was determined to make it work the way I wanted it to. (Hubby calls it stubbornness. :D)

So the next day I spent over an hour checking and re-checking ways to save my work and move it to my laptop without losing even a single period. What I discovered was that the microSD card was bad. 😛 Thankfully I had another tucked away at the back of a desk drawer.

I think I’ve got the bugs worked out at this point, though I’m saving to both the tablet documents folder and the microSD card, then emailing everything to myself as soon as I get to a wifi hotspot just in case.

What craziness have you run into during NaNoWriMo? How did you figure out a work around?

Taking a Break

October 10th, 2012

Once again I find myself wondering what to do with this blog. I’ve done quite a few posts on writing related subjects. I’ve written a few things on family life and our personal spirituality. I was posting a weekly Wordless Wednesday post for awhile. About once a month I post a book review.

Nothing has really sparked for me… at least not yet.

To continue doing anything for an extended period of time, one must have a passion for it or it becomes so much drudgery. When something becomes “just another job to do” then your clients (in this case readers) can tell.

I must apologize to you all because this seems to have become the case with this blog. I’m still looking for my way in the blogosphere, which means finding not only something worthy of your time, but also finding a balance between spending time here and spending time writing my next book.

(By the way, the official release date of Apprentice Cat is Oct. 29.)

Having said that, let me assure you that I’m not abandoning my blog. I am, however, going to be rather sporadic in my posts for a while. Here’s my plan for the rest of the year:

  • October — I will be updating everyone on Apprentice Cat, as well as sharing a fantastic interview with author Angela Wallace whose new release, Earth Tones, will be out later this month.
  • November — I’ll be in the writer’s cave participating in National Novel Writing Month, but I plan to have at least one book review to post.
  • December — I hope to have a new direction for this blog and I’ll let you all know what new adventure we’ll be taking then.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy each new post even if it’s not on a consistent schedule, and remember, life doesn’t have to be a chore if you find your passion.

Poll And Giveaway: Which Apprentice Cat Cover Do You Like Best?

September 3rd, 2012

I’m so excited. Apprentice Cat, the book I’ve been working on for over two years now, finally has two cover designs to choose from.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the book’s concept, here is the back cover blurb:

Toby is a young tom who dreams of becoming an apprentice cat, a feline partnered with an apprentice human mage, at the King’s Academy of Mages.

When he is partnered with Lorn Ribaldy, the nephew of known traitor Master Hecktor Ribaldy, he learns his dreams are in jeopardy. There are those who want to keep undesirables out, and that includes Lorn and anyone associated with him. In a meeting with Head Master Cat Meredith and Head Master Mage Jalen, Toby and Lorn are offered a way to change their status from provisional to permanent: find out why Toby’s father disappeared during a standard recon mission for the High Council.

Now all they have to do is keep up with their homework and survive a little espionage.

As I said earlier, I now have two covers to choose from. I need your help because I just can’t decide which one I like better. Here are the choices:

Apprentice Cat by Virginia Ripple         Apprentice Cat by Virginia Ripple

The poll is now closed. Check back tomorrow, Sept. 17, 2012, to find out which cover won and who will receive the $25 Amazon gift card and signed paperback edition of Apprentice Cat.

Tag! A “First Look Meme” With Apprentice Cat

August 20th, 2012

I was in the midst of basking in beta reader praise when, Tameri Etherton tagged me in a new meme that’s making its way around the blogosphere. It’s called the Look game.

I suppose that’s because the rules say something like, you’re supposed to run a search in your work in progress for the word “look” and then paste the surrounding paragraph(s), followed by tagging as many people as possible.

Simple enough. I decided to share a bit from Apprentice Cat, since it’s coming out later this year. So here goes:

“What of his companion? Do we know where he is?”

“As a matter of fact, I do.” He heard the soft sound of paws pacing toward the door. The mage sucked in a breath, his heart beat loudly in his ears.

“Right here.”

The door scraped loudly as it opened, spilling the old mage onto the floor. He looked into the yellow eyes of a large gray tom. Turning his head he saw the misshapen lump of fur the two had been discussing. He crawled to his old friend’s side, the mottled black and brown fur unmistakable. He reached to touch the once silken body.

“I wouldn’t if I were you.”

The old mage stared hard at the gray tom whose whiskers were splayed wide. He could feel the strain of the muscles in his jaw as he clenched his teeth. His vision dimmed to pinpoints, centering on the yellow-eyed cat.

“A single feather touch can rupture the victim’s skin and cause it to expel an acidic fluid.”

Ooo ~ ~ ~ ooO

Now it’s my turn. I get to tag some of you in this meme to share a bit of your work in progress. If I tag you and you aren’t up for it, no worries. If I didn’t tag you, but you’d like to participate, that’s awesome. Just let us know in the comments so we can pop over to your blog and check you out.

Angela Wallace ** Michael R. Hicks ** Jordyn Redwood ** Jami Gold

I look forward to reading all your excerpts.

7 Links To Understanding (And Finding) Beta Readers

April 14th, 2012

3997687488_05f3e2de10_m_editingPerhaps one of the most daunting things I have yet to accomplish with my current WIP, Apprentice Cat, is finding enough beta readers. I imagine its a problem many of you have or will face, too. I’ve put together 7 links to understanding (and finding) beta readers, as well as critique partners and editors, in this post in hopes that it will be helpful to us all.

  1. Finally, an answer! Here’s the difference between line, copy, and content editing by Pavarti K. Tyler: Besides giving a quick idea to what beta readers and critique partners are, Pavarti shares gives us the inside scoop on what each type of editor does and why you might want one.
  2. 3 Ways to Determine if Your Writing is Crap by Jody Hedlund: In this post Jody breaks down the different levels of readers an author might use from “unskilled” beta readers (those who aren’t writers) to fellow writers to professional editors.
  3. Does my manuscript look fat in this? 7 reasons why writers need critique partners by Laura Pepper Wu: Laura explains what makes a great critique partner and why having one is so important.
  4. Ask Jami: How Do We Find Beta Readers? by Jami Gold: In this post, Jami goes into detail what a beta reader does and some ways we can find them, including offering ourselves as beta readers.
  5. The Art of Critiquing: I explain what makes a good critique and give some suggestions of what to do before handing over your manuscript to a beta reader or critique partner in this post.
  6. Critters Makes for Better Writing: In this post I give a more in-depth look at one online resource for critiques.
  7. Bad Critique Groups—8 Things That Can Push a Group Over to the Dark Side by Anne R. Allen: No one wants to be in a bad critique group, so Ruth gives us 8 things from having no rules to dogmatic PC/Religious policepersons to watch out for when choosing a crit group.

Do you know of other resources for finding a beta reader?

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Memed by the Lucky 7…

March 27th, 2012

 

I’ve been memed!

The Lucky 7 Meme isn’t really an award but it’s more fun than being tagged for random bits of information. Why is this better, you ask? Well…because it involves sharing seven lines of your latest work in progress, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but never really got around to. Here’s my excuse to strut my stuff and I’m so excited.

Here’s the deal: whip out the WIP, flip to page 77, count down seven lines and then cut-and-paste the next seven into a document and share those beauteous words.

You’ve been memed, baby!

 

I’m not sure if seven lines is actually lines or seven sentences and the original Lucky 7 Memer got sloppy and inferred the meaning. Either way, 7 is the lucky number I have to work with.

Without further ado here are my seven from Apprentice Cat:

“Some of these quatrains remind me of old prophecies I read as a kit.”

“That may work,” mused Master Jalen. He stared into space, eyes unfocused.

“The question is, how do we go about getting the information we need?” he continued. “We can’t simply ask the Brothers to search their library for vague references. I hesitate to share any of this information with even them.”

“One of us could go,” suggested the Head Master Cat.

“That may call too much attention to what we’re trying to find out.”

The beginning of my seventh line began in the middle of a sentence, so I included the whole sentence so it would make sense.

Don’t forget to check out Lesann Barry’s Lucky 7 lines. I get to thank her for this special sort of torture. I lurk, read and wait. Publish faster, people!

In the meantime I’m about to lure more unsuspecting victims swimmers into the meme pool. I’ve tagged these writers to offer up a sampling of their wordy goodness:

Angela Wallace

Barbara McDowell

Jillian Dodd

Natalie Hartford

~ Patricia Sands

Steena Holmes

Tameri Etherton

 

The regular caveats apply. Should you choose not to participate nothing wobbly awful, amazingly stupid, or terrifyingly insipid shall happen.

But, I will be sad. *sniff sniff*

Don’t have 77 pages of a WIP ready to go? Fear not! No worries! My solution is that you offer up seven lines of whatever you’ve got. If you’ve already been memed, sorry…but you have to get these out there quick!

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If Cats Could Talk…

February 27th, 2012

I’m so excited this week because Natalie Hartford of Life Out Loud is spotlighting me on her blog. Natalie calls herself an urban redneck who loves all things pink and she’s a real firecracker. Take a moment to hop on over to her blog and enter her contest for a special edition signed Simply Prayer ebook (open internationally) or a signed copy of the paperback version (open to US/Canada).

In the meantime, I’m getting ready to re-vision my blog. By that I mean I’m going to take a short break to brainstorm some great ideas for future posts. I want to make this a place you can stop by to pick up handy tips and inspirational messages to help you in your day-to-day life, as well as catch a weekly laugh.

That being said, I don’t want to just leave you high and dry while I work up a new plan, so I’ll be re-posting some of the best from the last year. Enjoy!

If Cats Could Talk…

I’ve started editing and revising my work in progress, Apprentice Cat. It’s been tough, but rewarding. In the spirit of my main character’s nemesis, I’ve chosen a video about what cats really talk about.

What do you think your pets are really saying?

Dancing Cats, Talking Dogs and Laughing Babies… Oh My!

January 9th, 2012

I just realized I didn’t post a funny video last Monday, so today’s a two-fer.

In honor of finishing my first draft of Apprentice Cat, here’s a cat that thinks he’s in a Michael Jackson video:

And just because I love to hear babies (and little kids) laugh…

http://youtu.be/m5ZLnmHEWRA

Have a great Monday!

NaNoWriMo: When Writers Disappear

November 2nd, 2011

desk photoIt’s that time of year again. It’s the month when writers disappear into their caves only to be glimpsed during brief moments of foraging and a quick run for a caffeinated beverage.

What’s the deal?

That’s right, folks, it’s time for NaNoWriMo and yours truly will be joining the hibernation this time. While I’m not actually participating in the event, I will be using this time to make a big push toward finishing my WIP.

What that means…

For the rest of November I’ll only be posting on Toolbox Saturday. Come December, I’ll get back to our regularly scheduled program.

Important upcoming giveaway…

I believe prayer is an important part of life, especially during Advent and Lent. I also know that sometimes we get stuck in the details and make having a conversation with our loving Creator more difficult than it needs to be. That’s why I wrote Simply Prayer, to give you some tools to break through what’s holding you back.

With that in mind, I’m giving away a free copy of the Simply Prayer ebook during Advent (Nov. 27-Dec. 26) and during Lent (Feb. 22-Apr. 9).

Watch here for more details or follow me on twitter (@virginiaripple)

Photo by gudmd.haralds