Tea and Talk!

Feb. 27, 2018

Heck of a decision time! I finished up the manuscript for The Just and The Unjust in the Zoey Wolfe series. Definitely mind-blowing when I saw the page count. It was just shy of 2,000-pages. Same issue I have had with my two other series – large documents that must be broken apart. It is a convenient way for me to write, so I continue to do it this way, although I do admit to some reluctance to divide them. Anyone ordering a print book would have had trouble with it, especially in paperback. I not only dislike the small type size they inevitably have, I hate when the spine breaks on that size book when I’m reading it. Of course, lately, I only order eBooks – they are so convenient. I now carry a library around with me, as long as I have my charger cord.

I’ve noticed people sitting in lobbies and airports, plugged in. First time I saw this was on a layover at the Atlanta airport. I knew then the world of reading was changing. I had long resisted eBooks. I admit I love the sense of a book – the smell of it, the feel of it, skipping around inside of it. There is something magical about them. Chuck purchased my first Kindle for me, and after that, I never looked back. I do still purchase print books, but usually, now, they are all reference books.

I have found that eBooks, in general, are far less expensive than print books. I can easily price my eBooks at a low, affordable price. I simply opt to make fewer royalties on them. I don’t have that option with print books. The cost of those is driven by the cost of production. Back to the latest 2,000-page tome, I was wrestling with – the cost of producing it would likely have priced many readers out of the market. I try to keep my eBooks at $4.99 down to $2.99, a few are even less, but they have low page-counts. Those same books in print are $12.99 and higher, and I get only a fraction of the royalty I do from eBooks. It’s all about the cost of production and handling.

The only exception to this is our book K.I.S.S. Keep Individual Security Simple. The price of it is higher in both print and eBook because it is handled by a publisher. We now handle our own publication through Amazon. It is very convenient to be able to control our price structure and distribution. It is interesting that you can actually choose the countries your book will be distributed in and the price. There is always a minimum price listed, but still, isn’t that cool? Naturally, we choose all countries and select the minimum. But, still...we have the option.

Realizing the 2,000-page book would be unwieldy, at the least, I asked my Facebook friends to help me out again. Another quick poll seemed to be in order. I asked if fiction readers would prefer a 2,000-page novel, two 900-page novels, or three 600-page novels. The poll yielded a surprising answer. I thought perhaps the two 900-page novels would be most popular. I was wrong. Most readers said they preferred three 600-page books. Apparently, they didn’t mind the slightly higher cost of purchasing three books instead of two or one. I took their advice. I have been reordering manuscripts in the Zoey series and have finally come up with a new order of novels, breaking up unpublished manuscripts into new books. Here is the new sequence of novels in this series:

 

The Zoey Wolfe Books:

Blood Moon

The Just and the Unjust

Paragon of Virtue

No Kind of Angel

Slow Day in Hell

 

At present, I am reworking No Kind of Angel to work with the way I have divided the story. Slow Day in Hell is still a work in progress. I think I will wait and release books 2, 3, and 4, together as I recently did in the Theo of Teach Island series. All of the following Theo books are available on Amazon.com as both print and eBooks. Book 4, All the Money, also includes Zoey!

 

Theo of Teach Island series:

Exes and Other Excrement, Prequel

Theo’s Lucky Day, Prequel

Thorns or Roses, Book 1

Best of Intentions, Book 2

Tea Bag in Hot Water, Book 3

All the Money, Book 4

 

Don’t forget my Heart Series. The first three books are available on Amazon.com, also in print and eBook:

 

The Heart series:

Sacred Heart

Bastard Hearts, Part One – Warrior Heart

Bastard Hearts, Part Two – Darkness Descending

Bloody Hearts, Part One – War of the Queens

Bloody Hearts, Part Two – Hearts of Evil

Bloody Hearts, Part Three – Battle Royal

Bound Hearts, Part One — HIM

 

Bloody Hearts and Bound Hearts are in progress. Like my initial manuscript of The Just and the Unjust, they are one huge manuscript that needs much work. Zoey and Theo both appear with Margaret in them. In fact, you will recognize characters from A Taste of Salt and All Things Bright and Beautiful. If you are paying attention while reading in the Theo series, you may recognize characters you have met before, as well!

Good reading!

Jan. 21, 2018

After Hurricane Irma blew out of our lives, I immersed myself in writing. My characters have so many stories to be completed, and at nearly seventy-years old, I realize I must apply myself to the telling. The problem with being a lone troubadour is that only I know the stories they have revealed to me. Something that became even more apparent to me after Sue Grafton died, and her Kinsey Millhone series died with her. It was announced the series would end without the final book of her alphabet series being written. It is a true sign of respect to a talented writer, acknowledging only she could have written the final planned installment, the “Z” book.

I have just completed the second book of the Zoey Wolfe series, The Just and the Unjust and started the sequels, Paragon of Virtue and Slow Day in Hell. What happens in her latest book, and the two following, is as shocking to me as it likely will be to readers. I had no idea until Zoey told me her story, just as it happened. My heart went out to her, but to my credit, I kept typing. I am astounded at her courage and her ability to survive all that has happened. She is a very determined woman. I have faithfully related it, although I assured her we would set it aside for a few weeks while I finish the final editing on the stories her cousin, Theo of Teach Island, shared with me last year.

Zoey was agreeable, still uncertain she wants us to make all public that she has told me. I agreed with her, it is difficult to allow anything so personal to be known. When it comes time to make the final decision, I hope she will agree to share it. It is a part of her story that I believe must be revealed, however painful it may be at first. I am certain she will be surprised – I told her readers wouldn’t condemn her. They would support her and love her even more. I must tell you, she is uncertain about that. It might help if you send her messages of support. At the moment, she isn’t listening to me. I understand, the pain of what she revealed is still too fresh to think logically about it. Time heals though, doesn’t it?

Hopefully, by the end of next week, she will have decided. I am anxious to get back to putting down the remainder of the words of the next two stories she has told me. This week though, I must deal with Theo. She wants to look at her books before they are posted to Amazon. She knows there are readers interested in following her saga, she also knows I am the Queen of Commas. She wants to delete as many of them as possible before the stories become public. Make shorter sentences, she and Zoey both have advised me. Yes, they both read each other stories, Margaret’s, too – you know, the Sacred Heart series. Because of their shared family gifts, they know what people think and are always intruding into each other’s stories. “Leave the computer on,” Theo once said to me, “I want to read what you have written now. You left out the part about Junior Cruz getting his ass kicked again.” (Something I corrected, readers. I promise.) Fortunately, I think I am still a mystery to them both. I have learned to block them and I do not leave personal information on the computer they can delve into when they are tired of reading about themselves and Margaret – who by the way, is very busy down in Melbourne. I haven’t brought the subject up to them yet, but she may need their help. Soon.

Speaking of Margaret, thank you to everyone who voted for Sacred Hearts in the reader’s choice division of the independently published book contest. After the votes were tallied, it didn’t reach first place, but was decently in the middle of many other contestants. I was pleased. It is difficult to publicize independently published books. It is for me. I am seriously lacking in the self-promotion category preferring to write instead of selling. Likely not the way I should do things, but there you have it. At least, I am not starving and have a roof over my head. All good things. And, now, Theo demands I tend to her needs. She swears she plans to delete a minimum of six commas per page. Where did she come up with that random figure? She is so strange at times, but I do like having her for a best friend. Zoey and Margaret, too. Kindred souls, all of us.

Sep. 27, 2017

This month has been awhirl with activity. We waited out Hurricane Irma’s visit without evacuating and were fortunate that little happened to us other than minor inconvenience. Our hearts, both Chuck’s and mine, go out to all the victims of the recent hurricanes. Their misfortune has certainly made us even more aware of our good fortune and blessings.

I am busily editing additions to the Theo of Teach Island Series that I wrote during Camp NaNoWriMo. After having disposed of numerous pages of drafts of other novels, I am attempting to edit it without committing any of it to paper before I produce the final version. Time will only tell if this is a workable solution to the wasteful use of paper product.

I NEED YOUR HELP! My book Sacred Hearts from The Heart Series is in a contest for independently published books, i.e. – books not published by a publishing house. Please follow the link below to vote for the People’s Choice Award for Best Independently Published THRILLER of 2017. If you are looking for it on Amazon you will see two cover versions. The eBook version has a black cover that is the same as the one in the contest. The print book has a pink cover but you will note the artwork is the same. The talented artist Billy Haydock produced the cover art for the entire series.

The contest voting takes place over the next few months. If you would vote for the book and ask all your friends to vote for it, I would be very grateful. I have won awards in the past for non-fiction but this would be my first fiction award – one I would treasure. Writing these books is my obsession and passion. Is it possible to be obsessed by something without being passionate about it? For me? No. Your support is greatly appreciated.

In order to vote, follow the link to the contest then follow the menu prompt on the black bar to the THRILLER page (it is page nine). Find Sacred Hearts and click on it. It is that easy to vote. One click. That is all I am asking. No, it’s not -- please ask all your friends to vote for it as well and if they would ask their friends to do the same, it would be amazing and brilliant. There is only a short time for voting so don’t stop to think about it, you may forget about it until it is too late! I know, I can be pushy. I have been told.

Voting link:

https://www.tckpublishing.com/readers-choice-voting

If you are interested in seeing the books that Chuck and I have available on Amazon, follow this link to our Author’s Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Charlotte-Guttenberg/e/B01DR4WEAO

Note that the price of the eBook version of Sacred Hearts has been lowered to 99 cents until after the voting.

Happy reading all!

Aug. 2, 2017

 Wow! I just completed a month of writing in Camp NaNoWriMo, the July virtual summer camp. I should say Chuck and I did it together. He hasn’t complained about skimpy meals, laundry down to the last clean shirt, and no evening conversation. He has been supportive every keyboard stroke along the way.

I decided that this would be my last NaNoWriMo event and wanted to do something really amazing. As many of you know, I am working on a writing schedule. I have books in our Situational Awareness series planned with Chuck. In addition to that, I have books plotted, some of them started, in the three fiction series I am writing. I like working back and forth between the series stories as they are all related. It sounds a little crazy and chaotic but it works for me.

The camp is a little different than the novel writing event in November where participants are challenged by the organization to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. I have participated for the past three years. This was my first virtual camp experience. For the camp, each camper chose their own goal. Mine? To write the first drafts of three novels. It sounds crazy. Maybe. Maybe not. Isn’t it better to try to climb Everest instead of walking across the street because you know you can successfully do one and you have no idea if you can do the other – not unless you try?

I tried and did it. Never again, though. Although I am busily catching-up the laundry, I may never catch-up on sleep again. Did I mention that the month before, I revised a book into a second edition and wrote another one? My arms feel boneless – like those bricks of gelatin they use for ballistics-testing, only more colorful.

I revised my initial goal, not the number of books, but the sequence I was writing them in. I delayed a Zoey Wolfe book and kept writing in the Theo series. It just seemed to be a natural progression, so I went with it.

Earlier, while writing Bastard Hearts: Part Two – Darkness Descending, (didn't that sound like, 'Meanwhile, back at the ranch'?) I began considering how much of a back story all my characters have. They have stories that precede the ones I am now revealing to readers. Chuck pointed out how confusing it is as there are so many characters crisscrossing the series. Two ideas came from that. At Chuck’s suggestion, we are going to publish a book of names for the series with a little bio for the ones that are more than minor characters or who keep reappearing. I know them all, so I didn’t realize it was confusing – although, if you don’t know their backstories, it doesn’t matter. You just won’t realize they appeared anywhere else before. We are trying to figure out how to make this a free bonus book to people who have purchased books out of the series.

The two books that were revised, written in June are part of backstories in the Theo of Teach Island Series. Exes and Other Excrement, a prequel short story was revised into a second edition. If you have purchased the eBook from Amazon, you can request a free update be sent to your Kindle or eBook reader. Tell them you heard it was revised. It works. I know. I tried it. You have to contact them through your Amazon account, tell them you want the second edition. It will replace your old one. The new book, also a prequel in the same series, is a novella, Theo’s Lucky Day. Both books are available in print and as eBooks. You can access them from our Amazon Author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/Charlotte-Guttenberg/e/B01DR4WEAO

The three first drafts I completed at camp are in the same series: Book Two, Best of Intentions; Book Three, Tea Bag in Hot Water; Book Four, All The Money. Still, with that Everest-climbing attitude, I may publish them soon to Amazon, it depends upon how clean the writing is. I have no idea. I was typing as fast as these bony fingers would move not rereading anything.

I have plotted out the next two books in the Theo series, No Kind of Angel,  and one of the prequels, Billy the Kid, Reno, and Hole-In-The-Wall. Also waiting in the line-up, parts of them started are Just and the Unjust from the Zoey Wolfe series and Bloody Hearts, Book One: War of the Queens. It should be a busy fall and winter. Stand by. No, you don’t have to do that, you can be reading. Catch-up!

Jun. 25, 2017

I am prepping for summer camp for a totally different writing experience. Virtual camp, CampNaNo, runs during the month of July. I already have my cabin assignment, housed with nineteen other writers from all over the world. We are all writing in the thriller/suspense genre. Actually, of the twenty of us campers, nineteen of us are. The twentieth writer is in the fantasy genre, but it appears the project to be worked, may also be thriller/suspense.

Campers set their own goals and I decided to aim high for my first virtual camp experience. Why not? I have entered fiction writing late in life and feel the need to get these stories told. I am fortunate to have a supportive partner and researcher, Chuck. His encouragement makes what might appear to be a daunting task, doable. His comment whenever I am looking longingly over to the keyboard, "Get writing!"

I am plotting and massaging three manuscripts for two of my series, hopefully, into something far beyond a first draft stage. Time will tell in accomplishing this ambition. I did say I am aiming high, didn't I?

Theo of Teach Island:

      All The Money Or The Man? (tentative title)

      Best of Intentions (Prequel to the series)

Zoey Wolfe books:

      Just and the Unjust

Last week I completed a short read clearing the way to work this July project. The yet unpublished story is in the Theo series. It is a bridge to the prequel included in the bundle I am working at camp:

      Theo's Lucky Day

I hope to publish it sometime in August or September along with the other short read I am currently writing. The other short read crosses over both series:

       Billy the Kid & Reno & Hole-In-The-Wall

As you may know from previous posts and comments, I am a plotter. I have the need to control not only the story but the characters and settings. I have written a few books panster-style (no planning, allowing the story to simply unfold) but I, not the books, have suffered from my lack of control of the situation. Yes, I am a micro-manager. I admit it. Some of my characters hate me for it. I have been known to delete whole passages of their thoughts and relegate them to a lesser part OR no part at all in the book being written.

I have decided these three must-writes, will be in my Pre-Pub folder this summer along with the two short reads, in time to get back to Bloody Hearts: War of the Queens. That is another story clamoring for my attention -- so loudly, I am having a difficult time ignoring it. Some things simply cannot be ignored nor should they.

Wish me luck! First-word-to-paper-day is July 1! Do you find it odd, although I now extensively use a computer to write, I still think in terms of typewriter and paper? Somewhere, I have a copy of a manuscript I wrote in the 1980s, typed on newsprint cut roughly to 8 1/2x 11 inch size.