A Truant Disposition

"I must be idle."

New Short Stories and Why Wattpad

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Oct• 03•16

I’m going to be posting ghost stories on Wattpad this month, some old, some new, some private (followers only), some public. Friday I posted a brand new science fiction story (public) on Wattpad, “Etiquette For the End of the World”. Below is the publication schedule for the month, and also thoughts on why Wattpad is a good venue for my stories.

Ghost Stories for October! Here’s the publication schedule for short stories this month. The first 2 stories will be private, so only followers will have access to them. (Something I’m experimenting with.) The others will be public. Follow if you want to read all of them!

Oct 7: Ashes

Oct 14: Doug’s Night Out

Oct 17-21: Ice Cream Castle
(Divided into 5 parts, one part daily Mon-Fri of that week.)

Oct 28-31? I’ve started brainstorming a new ghost story which I hope to have finished by the 28th, or Halloween at the latest.

So, what’s the deal with Wattpad, anyway? I know it’s annoying for people who aren’t on Wattpad to maneuver around their sign-up pop-up (I did it for a while before joining). How can that possibly be good? Weeellllll….let’s be brutally honest here: my author site and this blog typically get zero traffic, which ticks up to a few people when I post. This is one of the reasons I don’t post much here. Why write long thoughtful posts that almost no one reads? I get more hits for short random not-terribly-great posts on my Mighty Microblog than here. As for short stories…I’m not primarily a short story writer. I like long. Short is difficult for me, so I don’t write many short stories. I’m not one of those authors who can build a following on short stories, and because of that I don’t go through the trouble of submitting stories to an assortment of magazines because it’s literally more trouble than it’s worth given my low output. My time and energy is better spent writing and marketing novels, which is what I primarily write and which pays better than an occasional short story. So I’ve been posting new short stories here on my author blog. No one is reading the stories I post here. I mean that almost literally no one. Compare the stats for the first story I posted on Wattpad to the same story which I posted here on my blog. In the first 48 hours after posting on Wattpad “The Shepherd of the Uncanny Valley” had 17 views, 3 likes, and 6 comments, which is not bad for 2 days considering that I’m new to Wattpad, this was my first story there, and I only had 4 followers (at that time; I pick up more followers with each story I post). In contrast, the same story posted on my blog 3.5 years ago has gotten a total of 4 views, no likes, no comments. So, yeah, I’m pretty happy with Wattpad. The idea of joining Wattpad is to expose my work to more people in order to increase the audience for my work. I have no idea if Wattpad activity will translate into increased book sales, but increased visibility has to be good. After all, it’s much harder to sell a book to someone if they’ve never heard of you and haven’t read anything you’ve written, than if you’re someone they interact with online whose stories they read and like. Posting short stories to this blog is just throwing them away. Based on the stats, it’s clear that not even my real life close friends are reading them (I’ve got more than 4 friends! LOL), liking them or commenting. The stats for the few other stories I’ve posted here are about the same: few views, no likes, and usually no comments.

But, I can hear some other authors exclaim, “You’re just giving your stories away!” Well, yeah. Short story markets don’t pay well, so even if I went with traditional publication, I’d get a pittance and since short stories are more difficult for me to write than novels (and some, sad to say, have taken almost as long to write), there’s no way a paying publication would give me anything remotely like adequate compensation for my effort. I’m not one of those people who can knock out a brilliant story often, and on a regular basis. So giving away short stories means that I lose a very small amount of income—assuming that I can sell them—and I save myself the hassle of submission. It also means that more people have access to my short stories. Potentially millions of people online. Who are potentially buyers of my books. And it’s that potential that’s the real nub of the situation. If 4 friends read my story on the blog (or no friends, and 4 strangers) over the course three and a half years, then that story is just being wasted. For all intents and purposes, it has no audience, no one who likes (or Likes) it; a few people encounter it ever so briefly, and the only comments it’s likely to garner are from spammers (which my spam filter and moderation catch). I have zero interaction with readers, zero conversations about the story. As many people have said, the biggest problem for authors who aren’t well known is getting attention, standing out in all the noise of the internet, finding a way for their potential audience to find them and become their readers, their fans. That is not happening at all on this blog. No one is finding me, no one is becoming a fan, no one is reading most of the posts I write here (which is why I don’t write more; the time and words are better spend on novels, which people do read).

So I’ve got a choice. 1. I can write occasional short stories and tuck them away in the archive and no one reads them (which just strikes me as idiotic: the act of writing presupposes readers). 2. I can go through the hassle of submission, taking time and energy away from working on other things, perhaps get a story published somewhere and maybe get paid something and have a very few people read a very few short things I’ve written. 3. I can post the occasional story I write to my blog and have a very few people read a very few short things I’ve written and not get paid anything, but perhaps gain one new reader, maybe, if it’s some kind of fantastically extraordinary day. 4. I can post my story to Wattpad which is a community of avid readers and writers and get more readers every day, more likes, more comments and discussions with my readers, and build a following.

So, no, I’m not getting paid from Wattpad publication, but unlike everywhere else there’s a very good chance of building a fanbase of regular readers. Will that translate into book sales? I don’t know, but anything that raises the profile of an obscure writer is a good thing. If I build a good following there over time, and even a small percentage buy my novels, then that’s a net gain that, clearly, I am not getting from posting the stories here, where there’s almost no traffic. It will be interesting to see what the numbers for my stories on Wattpad look like after a year, or two, or three. Perhaps I’ll reevaluate things after that, but right now—with me still being a newbie with not a lot of followers yet—I’m already getting both new readers and more readers. I don’t expect my numbers to rise fast, but they are rising.

No one writes stories hoping that no one will ever read them. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write more stories now that I know there is an audience for them, people out there who are waiting for my next stories to appear…on Wattpad.

I’m on Wattpad!

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Sep• 20•16

Things are going really, really well. The rewrite on the sequel to If Wishes Were Spaceships is going much better than expected. Beta readers didn’t find anything horrendously wrong with it. It still doesn’t have a final title, but in all other respects things are moving along at a good clip. I can thank Habitica for paring down a bit of my tendency to procrastinate, and for getting me organized. Also, it’s really helpful to hang out with other authors in the Ink Slingers Guild and in my party within the guild. One of those people is voice actor Rebecca Thomas, who is also working on a number of writing projects, some of which she’s recently started posting to Wattpad. Well, having cheered her on during the writing, of course I wanted to read along as she posts chapters. So I joined Wattpad, a community of bookworms and authors. It’s geared toward serialized or short works, and 90% of use is via the Wattpad app on mobile devices so the community is more plugged-in than the general bookish community.

There are social network aspects to it also: you can like chapters or stories, can comment on them (including comments on specific bits of text), you can follow authors, and of course you can add books to your library and create/share reading lists of Wattpad works. You can also add media, such as audio, video, and pictures. Agents and publishers occasionally pluck lesser-known authors out of the Wattpad pool for wider publication (though some Wattpad authors are already well-know bestsellers). The way I see Wattpad is as another place where I can introduce new people to my work and build my fanbase. This will impact this blog in a small way. Whereas in the past I would occasionally post a short story here, new short fiction will now be posted to Wattpad (where stories will get more views/comments than on this blog). As a matter of fact, I’m working on new short fiction right now, though most of the stories I have planned for Wattpad this fall are older stories (some from waaay back and some from this blog). I’ll eventually also post book excerpts on Wattpad, but that didn’t seem like a good place to start since Wattpad is primarily for completed fiction and serializing novels. My first post will be “The Shepherd of the Uncanny Valley” this Friday which you can read (or re-read) here on the blog….Or you can Follow me on Wattpad! (Some of my stories will be public, but some will be private which means only Followers will be able to view them.) I hope to have a brand new story up by the end of the month, and will be posting my ghost stories in October.

It’s too soon to say what my long-term plan for this fiction platform will be. Because Wattpad allows audio, video, images, and dialogue with readers in the margins of the text (hidden until you click, so it’s not intrusive), it seems like it would be a good place to experiment with non-traditional storytelling, and that’s what a number of writers use it for. It’s designed to facilitate serialized fiction, which is also something I may do. Best of all it’s a good way to connect with people who read my fiction because we can talk about it right there on the page with the story, and it’s a very active community of writers and readers. 🙂

 

Writing in the (Rain) Cloud

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Aug• 31•16

It’s been a wet summer, with lots of storms. We’ve lost power a couple of times. This tendency for really violent thunderstorms to crash down on us, has made writing a bit iffy. Sure, I’m plugged into a surge protector, but my laptop is so old and erratic that it doesn’t react well to a sudden loss of power, or a sudden loss of connection. It doesn’t react well to anything these days. The modem is on the fritz, which is a problem for someone who now does all her work in the (rain) cloud. The router gets twitchy during storms. The laptop’s modem also gets twitchy for no reason, so sometimes I have to cut writing short or save edits and new paragraphs offline. Oh, and the fan has problems too. It’s a really ancient laptop, with a screen so big you can see it from space. I may have the only extant laptop that’s bigger than my lap. I’m expecting it to die any day now because I have problems with it weekly, even on sunny days. As a result of this and other unexpected things I haven’t gotten as much done on the Seaport series as I’d hoped, though all things considered I haven’t done too badly. The result of frequent interruptions of power or modem, or other things in life (you can always count on life to throw in a few interruptions) is that I’ve been writing whenever I can rather than at my usual time of day. I write around lengthy power outages, write around stuff that happens that discombobulates my day, write around laptop seizures and quirks. I use “do not disturb” mode on my phone when I’m writing, with my husband as the only exception. (I’m not ignoring you: I’m doing work that requires uninterrupted concentration.) It’s set for my regular writing hours, but I also turn it on and off manually, writing when I can. As August winds down I feel like I’ve probably done about as much on the Seaport series as I can for now. I need to put it away and think about some things before I pick it up again. Would I have gotten further along without any interruptions this summer? Maybe, but then I’d have spend part of the summer thinking about the things I need to think about now, and then when I reached here — the end of the summer — I’d have felt like I didn’t get enough done, because thinking can’t be quantified as neatly as word count or chapters.

So, what’s next? I’ve always tended to be very productive in the fall. I don’t know why, but it’s always been a good time for me to work on creative projects. I’m going to take a few days off, catch up on some things that I’ve let hang fire, then next week tackle the comments from beta readers who’ve read the draft of the sequel to If Wishes Were Spaceships. I’ve caught my mind drifting off to that story a bit in the past week or so, thinking about things I need to change or do, so my brain is already starting to slip from one project to another. I’ll have a good three months to work on that draft, fixing what needs to be fixed, rewriting and polishing, before I take my usual December break. I’m giving some thought to doing shorter things on a regular basis in the coming year…but books take so much time and energy I’m not sure how well that would work. One of the things I love about being a writer is that every day is filled with possibilities! Fictional possibilities are real possibilities when you’re writing them down! Writing is a real thing. Novels take time and energy, but writing them is ultimately very satisfying. I’ve got decent drafts of books in progress and I’m just chugging along with rewriting, pushing each one closer to publication. When will the sequel to If Wishes Were Spaceships be out? When it’s done, when it’s ready for publication — when it has a proper title! LOL

Love and Respect

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Jul• 08•16

I am so sick of all the violence. Killing isn’t the answer to anything. Hate is never a good thing. Over the 4th of July weekend, there were terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Baghdad, & Medina. Here in the US, more young black men shot by police. Now sniper(s?) killing police. Mass shootings in the US have reached a new record. Is lots and lots of death really what we want to achieve as a society? Is this really the society we want to live in? I’m a science fiction writer (among other things). I thought by now we’d be living in a utopia. Why aren’t we? Because people don’t treat each other with love and respect. If we all did that, just that, then all the injustices in the world would be corrected. Everything flows from love and respect. If every person thought about all their actions in terms of the consequence for any other person who might be impacted and made their choices thoughtfully in light of whether they were treating, and thinking of, their fellow human beings with love and respect, there would be very little bad shit in the world. It wouldn’t be totally eliminated because sometimes we make mistakes with the best of intentions, but that intentionality to love and respect your fellow human beings would make the world an infinitely better place. Killing people does not make the world a better place. Killing people makes the world a much worse place. Why? Because it’s a world where people kill each other. Who wants to live in that world???

Every death is a loss of potential. We have no way of knowing the impact someone’s life may have had once they are gone from this world. Perhaps as a science fiction writer who has read my share of alternate universe and time travel stories I’m more acutely aware of this. Remove anyone from this world and the trajectory of hundreds, if not thousands, of lives shift. Every human being makes a difference in the world around us, in the lives of friends and families. No one lives in isolation. This is why we need to treat each other with love and respect.

If you need a more explicit (albeit necessarily incomplete) list of who you shouldn’t kill, see my previous post, “…don’t kill them“, written in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings. I am saddened and dismayed that I’ve now written two back-to-back posts about violence. Both posts are also about the positive creative potential of human beings, but with every death we lose a bit of that. It hurts. I believe that we as a society, as human beings, can be better. I’m fighting to make the world a better place. I’m armed to the teeth: my weapon is words.

…don’t kill them

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Jun• 17•16

So much has already been written about the events in Orlando that my own thoughts will be brief. It’s almost too painful to think about. The biggest massacre ever in America. A lot of people have focused on the gun issue because as difficult (well-nigh impossible) as it is to pass legislation prohibiting gun sales to people who might be considered at-risk for using a weapon to slaughter other human beings, it is still thought to be a more do-able prospect than to teach people not to kill their fellow human beings because they don’t like them. Here’s my opinion in a nutshell:

If you don’t like someone, don’t kill them.
If you hate someone, don’t kill them.
If you disagree with someone, don’t kill them.
If someone is different from you, don’t kill them
If someone believes something different from you and you sincerely think they are wrong, don’t kill them.
If someone has a different religion from you, don’t kill them.
If someone looks different from you, don’t kill them.
If someone dresses in a way that you don’t like, don’t kill them.
If someone has an accent or skin color that doesn’t match yours, don’t kill them.
If someone cuts you off in traffic, don’t kill them.
If someone is rude or mean to you, or cusses you out, don’t kill them.
If someone broke your heart, don’t kill them.
If someone treated you unfairly, don’t kill them.
If you encounter someone who clearly cannot be human, and must be a space alien, don’t kill them.
If your children scream, cry, or misbehave, don’t kill them.
If your pets misbehave, don’t kill them.
If someone makes you mad, don’t kill them.

The list could go on and on because there are literally millions and millions of circumstances in which killing another human being is not the right thing to do.

Bottom line: Stop acting like a wild animal with a small brain and no concept of civilization. We are human beings. We create culture, art, music, architecture, books, movies, TV shows, webcasts, podcasts, beautiful photos, amazing technology that our ancestors would’ve regarded as magic, gardens, dances, celebrations. We have the power and imagination to create…anything we can imagine. We have the power and imagination to make the world better, and to make the lives of the human beings who live on planet Earth better. We treat and cure medical conditions which would’ve killed or shortened the lives of our ancestors. These are just some of the wonderful and beautiful and joyful things that human beings do. Don’t ever for a moment think of taking yourself and others out of the generative flow of human civilization. The creative power of civilization is always better than the destruction and annihilation of life and all its potential. We are, all of us, part of this great civilization…until one of us steps out of this flow and kills their fellow humans. Then all of humanity is wounded and dies a bit, and cries a lot. Every human being is unique and should be honored for their contribution, be it large or small, to the whole of human civilization and history. Stand on the side of humanity and human civilization and you will always be on the right side, on the side with the geniuses and creators, on the right side of human potential. Don’t kill anyone.

“You gotta have a plan”

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Jun• 07•16

As Earl said in Tremors: “You gotta have a plan.” I’ve got a lot of book projects in progress right now, so I thought I’d update everyone on what’s in the pipeline and the status of each project, as well as what my work schedule for the various books is right now. This is my plan, though as the military saying goes, “no plan ever survives contact with the enemy”. 😉

I’ve finished the second draft of “Sterneworth’s Planet” (working title), which is the sequel to If Wishes Were Spaceships. It will be spending the summer with beta readers while I work on other things. I want to thank the people who have graciously agreed to beta-read for me. It’s a big help to my perspective on works in progress, as well as giving me a break to do other things. Yesterday I returned to work on the Seaport series, which is the chick-lit/fantasy series that I’ve been working on for some time now. Unfortunately, I didn’t spend a lot of time on it in the past year because of work on getting If Wishes Were Spaceships ready for spring publication, and drafting the sequel. Thank you to everyone who has bought the book! You’re making me very happy! 🙂 Response has been very good, and I’m so glad people are enjoying the book! If you want a light fun sci-fi adventure for your beach bag, this is the ebook for you! 🙂

So, as I was saying, I’ve returned to Seaport after a long absence and it feels really good to be working on this series again! 😀 I’m in the middle of a rewrite of the first book, though I may end up doing small revisions to the second book as well. I’ve got drafts of the first two books, and notes on the other two. Seaport is where I’ll be spending the summer, creatively speaking. 🙂

The plan right now is to work on the Seaport series this summer, then do a rewrite on the sci-fi sequel in the fall after going over the notes from the beta-read. I do not know when sequel will be published: it depends on amount of work that needs to be done in subsequent drafts.

Once the sci-fi sequel is finished, I plan to work on the Seaport series full time. As I mentioned, the first two books of the series are drafted, but the drafts still need a lot of work. The way I work I need nice big blocks of time to work on each project, just as I need nice big blocks of time to write each day. I can jump back and forth between projects if we’re talking about doing small revisions, but I’m not quite to the “small revision” stage of any of the drafts, not the sci-fi sequel and not the first two books of the series. The next year/year and a half is going to be very busy, but I’m hoping that 12-18 months from now I’ll have one, maybe two, books finished. The sequel to If Wishes Were Spaceships will be published as soon as it’s ready to go. On the other hand, for a number of reasons, I want to complete the Seaport series before any of the books are published. When the Seaport series does finally launch, it’ll be on a book-a-year schedule, which will be great for readers, and also great for me because: no pressure. 🙂

So, that’s the plan for the foreseeable future, subject to mad whims (which is how the little sci-fi adventure series got started). 😉

Great Fun! Audio Interview Now Available Online

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - May• 01•16
If Wishes Were Spaceships Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

If Wishes Were Spaceships
Cover design by Donna Harriman Murillo

I had a great time Thursday night with the Deadly Reads people live online.  The audio is now available in the archive. It’s long, so you might want to listen while you do other things. Or just pour yourself a beverage, settle in and listen.  🙂 Stay Up Late Ainy Rainwater on Deadly Reads Radio.

Tonight! Live Interview!

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Apr• 28•16
Live Interview with Deadly Reads on Blog Talk Radio Tonight!

Live Interview with Deadly Reads on Blog Talk Radio Tonight!

Reminder: This Thursday, April 28th, I’ll be doing a live online interview with Deadly Reads on Blog Talk Radio at 9 pm, CDT. Call in number: (646) 668-2716.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/journeyintothenight/2016/04/29/stay-up-late-with-sci-fi-author-ainy-rainwater (If you can’t join us, the interview will be available later online to play at your leisure.)

Live Interview, Cover Art, and MORE!

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Apr• 15•16

Lots of things are happening around here! Everywhere! With pictures! And live! This is a fairly short post, but it’s one of those that’s just packed with news. If you follow me elsewhere, you may have seen or heard some of it, but I’m widely scattered these days (LOL) so hang onto your hat…here we go!

If you missed it If Wishes Were Spaceships was released last month! I’m working on the second draft of the sequel right now. It’s too soon to say if or when it will fly, but I’m hoping to get it to beta readers by summer. (Then I go back to working on the Hotel Reverie rewrite.) In two weeks I’ll be doing a live online interview on Deadly Reads Radio. That will be Thursday, April 28th at 9 pm Central Time. (Note the time: the show has recently moved up to the 9 pm slot.) It’s a call-in show and I’ll be posting the number and a reminder closer to time. Bookmark the site, and mark your calendars! I’d love to chat with you and answer your questions!

Yesterday new cover art was released for my old horror novel, Miasma.

Miasma

Cover Art by Ainy Rainwater

Click on through to buy: Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Amazon Kindle (DE), Amazon Kindle (FR), Amazon Kindle (IT), Amazon Kindle (ES), Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Diesel, Apple’s iBookstore, Sony, Kobo.

In non-book news I’ve posted some pics from the annual Art Car Parade over on my Mighty Microblog. Such fun! AND, today I’ve got a new post over on The Usual Suspects, the group food blog I occasionally contribute to.

Shakespeare’s First Folio

Written By: Ainy Rainwater - Apr• 04•16

IMG_20160331_200539

Last Thursday we went to see Shakespeare’s First Folio, which is on tour of the nation right now. Some of you may have seen my pics on social media. As you may have guessed from the name of my website (and tagline), I’m fan of Shakespeare, and Hamlet in particular. So, of course, I had to see the First Folio on its national tour. Here’s some of my reflections on the folio and the experience of seeing it.

The folio was in a glass case in a small room in the Stark Gallery which is an art gallery in the student center, at Texas A&M. It was in better shape than I expected. There are only 233 First Folios left in existence (the Folger has 82), out of a print run estimated at less than 750. I don’t know how the Folger, who mounted the tour, decided which book went out on tour, but probably they sent one of the books which was in better shape, rather than one that was falling apart — or which was put together from pieces of other folios, something that was commonly done in the distant past. It was truly awe-inspiring to stand there and see the book which gave us 18 of Shakespeare’s plays that, prior to its publication, had never been printed. Without the first folio we wouldn’t have: All’s Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Henry VI Part 1, Henry VIII, Julius Caesar, King John, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Timon of Athens, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, or The Winter’s Tale. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Shakespeare’s colleagues who brought out this edition and made it possible for these plays to come down to us through the ages.

The book, too, has come down to us through the ages. Looking at it I couldn’t help but think that this book has come to us through time, that it existed in what was, more or less, Shakespeare’s England. (It was published 7 years after his death.) This book existed in a time and place that only now exists in history books and our own imagination. I felt a strange sort of sensation, like I was teetering on the edge of time travel, because this book had, indeed traveled through time…and neither it nor I needed a Tardis to do it! It is extraordinary that something so ephemeral as a book made with organic materials has survived handling, use, weather, atmosphere, light (which can damaged art, including paper and ink), and people, to end up in front of me in College Station, Texas, with the Bard’s own words printed there, and me reading them, just as they were read by the printer, and the Jacobian readers of the time. (We tend to think of Shakespeare as “Elizabethan” but James ascended the throne while Shakespeare was still writing plays in London.)

What impressed me about the First Folio, was not just that it was old — I’ve seen old artifacts before — but that it was old and packed full of meaning. By tremendously expanding the printed work of Shakespeare, it ensured that his work — in all its mind-blowing brilliance — would survive. This book has had a huge impact on innumerable people over a vast span of time. It is old and packed with meaning for millions of people over hundreds of years. One usually doesn’t say something like that about a secular text. And not only is it packed full of meaning in general, it is packed full of meaning for me. I am a Shakespeare fan.

Words can live forever far more easily than books, because they can be passed down from person to person, as many historic utterances on great occasions were. But, in the absence of Bradbury’s Book People, great chunks of text cannot. For that we need documents and once people stopped carving their ideas into stone, the medium for recording people’s lives and their stories became tremendously less durable (though even stone can be broken or eroded, I’ll grant you). We value art, not just for its beauty, but for its transcendence. Art is transcendent in two ways: its content and also, with care, its physical form can transcend its own time. Shakespeare’s works are transcendent. The stories transcend their time. I am grateful that the First Folio was created, and that it has endured in both physical form and content. The world is a far richer place for the existence of the “lost plays” that the First Folio preserved from loss. I am enlightened not only by those plays, but by the experience of seeing this incredibly rare book which has passed down through time to that moment when I stood, rapt, before it.

For more about Shakespeare’s First Folio, including links to the tour and a digitized copy see: http://www.folger.edu/publishing-shakespeare#firstfolio.

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