Got my words on Wishbone Conspiracy

By Holly Lisle

Got a good chunk of the novel note-carded with my current best ideas on how it will go, and wrote a big chunk of words of background and outlining, plus 1151 words of the actual story.

And I like what I got.

This being Saturday, I’m not supposed to be writing fiction. Saturday and Sunday are BOTH supposed to be days off.

But I was one day short on my Patreon hours because of a doctor’s appointment on Thursday — news on that was all good, incidentally.

So I figure the three hours I put in today will cover that.

No snippets right now.  I want to get into the flow on this thing first, make sure I’m heading in the right direction.

Then I’ll drop a few hints.

But I’m very happy. It’s so cool to bet writing Cady from her own point of view again.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

Published the WARPAINT Soundtrack

By Holly Lisle

WARPAINT SoundtrackIt took a while to find the right music for WARPAINT.

First, this is the music I have playing in the background while I write, so it has to fit the universe, the characters, and the “feel” of a lived-in place full of real humans, real needs, and the themes of the story. And it has to not grate on my nerves or distract me from my words.

It has to become subliminal, has to leak into my subconscious mind and feed the story I want to write.

So the soundtrack places HEAVY emphasis on Jim Tozier’s guitar work, which fits Cady like her skin.

The rest of the music in the soundtrack hits plot points, characters, or some element of theme or characterization I want to have in my head.

But Tozier is the backbone of the whole track.

So here’s the WARPAINT soundtrack.

(Link is to iTunes. It’s quick and convenient, and every other listing option I’ve tried has proven a giant pain in the ass.)

Consider it a sneak preview.

On a personal note, I still have the damn headaches and migraines. I’m getting some work done—putting the soundtrack together was a little bit of relaxation when my head hurt too badly to do anything else.

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Discussing “I’ve quit Big Publishing” to publish myself

By Holly Lisle

"I Quit!"

"I Quit!"

Below is the start of an article that’s been a long time coming.

After years of publishing my fiction through big commercial publishers, with thirty-two novels sold to the big New York houses as well as to international publishers around the planet, and more than a million books in print, I have decided to move to self-publishing my fiction.

Why am I going to start publishing myself?

First, because books don’t stay in print anymore with major publishing houses, and my 32-novel backlist has just about vanished.

Second, because I know self-publishing works, and doing this will allow me to write the books I want to write the way I want to write them, and present my stories to my readers without an intermediary.

Read the rest, then follow the link there to come back here…

I imagine it seems a little crazy to walk away from twenty years of publishing with the major New York publishers to go into indie publishing and do all the work myself.

The thing is, as fun as it is to walk into a bookstore and see your novels on the shelf, the rest of the experience gets old fast. Prior to reading John Locke’s book on self-publishing, I was going round and round with myself about giving up on fiction altogether.

I was already publishing non-fiction (my writing courses), and the experience was FUN.  And all the frustration, headaches, and fury associated with my fiction career stood in stark contrast to me being able to talk live to my students in a forum, get immediate feedback on work, and, frankly, get paid regularly.

But I LOVE writing fiction.  I didn’t want to quit—I simply didn’t see a way to make it fun again.  To make it as immediate and joyful for me to create as my nonfiction.

When I read Locke’s book, I saw myself.  Someone who does not care about the numbers, who is not interested in constantly pushing for more readers, who wants only to write stories people love and to get them to the people who will love them.

Being a “team player” has never been my strong suit.  Not school, not in nursing, not in writing.  I’m not writing for everybody, and I’m not interested in pretending I am.  I want to write for the folks who already love what I’m doing, not to have someone constantly push me to make my work blander, safer, and more commercial so it will appeal to people who don’t like what I’m doing.

I was BORN to be indie.  And now I can.

I hope you’ll join this adventure with me.


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Discussing “Are you my reader?”

By Holly Lisle

She's SOMEbody's ideal reader...

She's SOMEbody's ideal reader…

It may seem strange to consider that writers don’t WANT everyone to read their books. That in fact we have specific readers we want our work to reach, and other folks we genuinely don’t want to have as readers.

I have a very clear and specific idea of the person I’m writing for when I’m planning and writing each novel.

Why?  Because I know what I write is not going to appeal to everyone.  It’s going to appeal to people who share certain core values that matter to me, and who love some elements of genre and content  I love.

I write what I love—my ideal readers will love what I love, and because of this, my fiction will fit them.

Here is my description of my ideal reader…

And, trust me—this is not everyone. This is, in fact, a pretty small subset of everyone.

So… Are you my reader? If not, whose reader are you, and what are YOU looking for in fiction.

If you’re a writer, who’s your ideal reader?

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Heads Up on the Book That Changes Publishing

By Holly Lisle

Last week, like a zillion other writers, I received notice of the publication of John Locke’s How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in Five Months.

I bought it.

It fits PERFECTLY with How To Think Sideways and How To Revise Your Novel.

I’ve been focusing heavily on teaching the traditional path to publishing because I’m good at it, I know how to do it, and I know how to show others how to do it. And one look at the Eureka! boards will show you my students are succeeding.

BUT…self-publishing has been as good to me as professional publishing. The only problem is, I can’t teach what I do with self-publishing because my method starts with, “First, sell 32 novels to top New York Publishers…” and ends with writing non-fiction. Not exactly a path most of you have any interest in following.

Certainly not a way to sell your fiction yourself.

EVERYTHING changed when I read John Locke’s book. He made himself into the first self-published million-seller, and then he wrote a book on how he did it. It’s a good book, and the parts he goes into detail on are genius.

But HE DOESN’T COVER EVERYTHING. He has whole vast swatches where he says “You’re going to have to learn how to do this yourself.”

I realized reading through what he’s leaving you to figure out on your own that I ALREADY KNOW this. Every bit of it. The week six lessons are on developing your own personal genre, finding your target market, and writing books to that target. These are steps in Locke’s process.

So the Walkthrough for WEEK 6 of How To Think Sideways—Finding Or Creating Your Market—is going to be be the step-by-step on what John Locke left out and said you were going to have to learn on your own.

His book is available as an e-book via Kindle, Nook, and iBooks, and there are software readers out there you can get for your computer if you don’t have one of these e-readers.

Please understand that I CANNOT and WILL NOT reveal the parts of his system he covers in depth.

He earned his $4.99, and I’m not going to violate his copyright—so to get full benefit from Week 6, you’re going to have to get a copy of John Locke’s How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in Five Months.

This is about building your career yourself—controlling your fiction, making sure that you and your hard-earned career don’t get dumped into professional publishing’s “didn’t do as well as we had hoped” bin after three books. I’ve been there. Remember? It sucks, and here’s the thing.

YOU DON’T EVER have to be there.

This is your path to full-time writing if you want it, and I’m going this route with some of my own work.

This is the book, the system, the process I’ve been waiting for. If it’s what you’ve been waiting for, buy his book and get ready for Thursday, when the Week 6 Walkthrough Talkthrough: What John Locke DIDN’T Cover goes live and I walk you through the rest of how to make his system work for you.

Here are links to buy the book. They are NOT affiliate links. I want the man to keep full price on each sale—this book is that much of a game-changer:

iBooks: From your i-device, go to iBooks and search “John Locke 1 million ebooks”

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

Back with a whisper, not a bang

By Holly Lisle

I’ve got most of the Grad stuff set up. I’m getting ready to do a live show for Think Sideways grads, and I may do another for anybody who wants to show up.

I’ve been doodling on the “dreaming the dead” novel, and pulling together themes and concepts and characters. Nothing much on paper, yet—some clusters, some questions. I don’t like tying myself into any one thing until I start to understand what the story is going to be, and I’m not there yet. I’m not ready to look at The Sentence. I’m certainly not ready for plot cards, or for book math. Not yet.

But I have a pretty decent research library pulled together.

In no particular order, I’m using:

  • Defying Empire: Trading with the Enemy in Colonial New York, by Thomas M. Truxes
  • The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City, by Jennifer Toth
  • Archeology: Unearthing the Mysteries of the Past, by Kate Santon
  • Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome, by Chris Scarre
  • Alexander the Great, by Paul Cartledge
  • Worlds at War: The 2500-Year Struggle Between East and West, by Anthony Pagden
  • Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins, by Zander H. Klawans
  • Frommer’s NYC Free & Dirt Cheap: 382 Free Events, Attractions, Classes & More
  • Lonely Planet New York City: City Guide
  • The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall of Three Great Cities of Spice, by Michael Krondl
  • The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past, by Keith Windschuttle
  • How the Barbarian Invasions Shaped the Modern World, by Thomas Craughwell
  • Born In Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, by John J. Robinson
  • The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination, by Daniel J. Boorstin
  • The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events, by Bernard Grun
  • Ten Discoveries that Rewrote History, by Patrick Hunt Ph.D.
  • Cave Canem: A Miscellany of Latin Words & Phrases, by Lorna Robinson
  • Ancient Rome on Five Denarii A Day, by Philip Matyszak
  • Ancient Mysteries, by Peter James & Nick Thorpe
  • Ancient Inventions, by Peter James & Nick Thorpe
  • 33 Questions About American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask, by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

No, it’s not a historical novel, or anything like it. It’ll be fantasy. Big Fat Fantasy, as dark and gritty (and I hope as occasionally funny) as Talyn or Hawkspar, but set in this world, and in our day.

No, I’m not going to read all of those before I start plotting, or before I start writing. I don’t work that way. I’ll dig as I go, the way I always do.

But I’ll use all those books, and probably more, to dig out the ideas, the characters, and the details and get the story right.

33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Blind Characters

33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Blind Characters

And speaking of getting the story right, if you’re a fan of the 33 Mistakes series, I FINALLY put up the next book: The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Blind Characters, by Stephanie Green. She did a kick-ass job on it.

It feels good to finally be getting back to the rhythm of adding folks’ work to the shop, and doing the other things I haven’t done in a while.

Like posting here.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

At 6515 words

By Holly Lisle

Found a poignant little moment in the midst of the current scene—unexpected. I find that the better I get to know Genna, the more I like her. She keeps surprising me.

But her mouth is going to get her into real trouble one of these days.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved