Whatever Happened?

Posted on February 5th 2017 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

Many of you are probably wondering whatever happened to Courting the Dragon, my sophomore novel that was supposed to go on sale last December.

Presently, it is a quasi-finished draft in my Dropbox, waiting for me to crack open a word processor and finally get to the serious business of revising it, as I should have done months and months ago–but still have not.

Why?

Last November, whilst I was in the midst of NaNoWriMo and working on cleaning up CtD’s draft, my husband left. It was shocking at the time, although it really should not have been for a whole host of reasons. The first two days afterwards can be best described as one big, long anxiety attack followed by a week of numbness in which I wrote exactly one scene for my NaNo project, The Foundling. And that was it. I haven’t really written a word since, unless you count countless text messages and work emails.

Why?

For many writers pain is a driving force for their art. A spur for their writing. Their writing gives them an outlet for their anger, their grief. I don’t want to say that that isn’t true for me. In some ways The Foundling’s roots are in some of my own feelings. (Those who know me and the subject matter of that project are probably scratching their heads trying to figure that one out). However, for me it seems that the act of writing tends to be more of a reflection on feelings already processed than the actual act of processing them. When in the midst of something overwhelming, the words just… bottle up.

Side note: I think I wrote the world’s worst poetry right after my dad died. To those who were taking poetry class with me in high school at the time, I apologize.

But, my writerly constipation aside, there’s also the subject matter of the book in question. The book is literally about marriage and events leading up to multiple weddings. Sorry, not sorry for the spoiler there, but I mean, it’s in the title. Call me crazy, but my characters suddenly became completely unrelatable to me there for a few weeks. Here I am, my marriage crashing down around my ears, trying to write about a couple defying magic, politics, parental disapproval, evil villains and a whole bunch of other crap just so they can be together (oh, okay, and save the kingdom, too, I suppose).

Even after the initial shock wore off about a week and a half later, the facts about the plot stated above made even looking at the draft uncomfortable. It felt fraudulent on my part.

Now, in January, as the time to finally sign the divorce papers is drawing near, I think I’m finally ready to put fingers to keyboard again. I’ve had time to reflect on why that particular relationship went south and to recognize that it was over long before he walked out that door. And I say that with no malice to my ex-husband. It was a relationship built on the wrong things that made us into people we neither recognized nor liked very much.

But, with that understanding, I think I now understand why Salarath and Penelope’s relationship will work. Funny how that happens, right? From my own mistakes and my own growth I now feel equipped to grow my characters into the people they need to be for each other. So, with that in mind, I will begin working on CtD again with ambitions to have it completed and on sale this summer. It is going to take some time and some heavy revising, but I think it will be a better story for all the time it has spent waiting for me to grow up a little more.

Adulting is hard.

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August Update

Posted on August 3rd 2016 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: News, Self-Publishing Woes

It’s been radio silence for me for a while, so I want to check in with everyone and give some updates.

First, Courting the Dragon is still – you guessed it – behind schedule. This has not been an easy book for me to complete for a wide variety of reasons. Rest assured, however, that it is coming out and coming out soon. Expect a final release date on CtD in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I am happy to make a couple of other announcements:

  1. The Foundling has once again been entered in one of those awful popularity contests. If you have any interest in what my more serious fantasy is like, please consider a pre-order of The Foundling. If I don’t win the contest (most likely outcome) I do have plans for releasing The Foundling sometime next year. Here’s the link.
  2. I will be doing a series of readings from Saving the Dragon and Courting the Dragon via YouTube. Release dates on those are forthcoming.

Thank you for your continued support. I hope you all are looking forward to seeing CtD as much as I am.

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Dvorak or no Dvorak

Posted on May 7th 2016 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

Further adventures in iPad land today.

Henry did eventually get it to sign me in to iTunes. As best we can tell, it was a problem on the server side of things with Apple. I don’t find this comforting, exactly, but at least there’s nothing wrong with my device.

Getting all the apps I needed installed didn’t take very long, but I quickly realized there was a a big hurdle that needed overcoming before I could start writing. The keyboard was QWERTY. Now, this isn’t a problem for probably 99% of the populace (I don’t have any accurate figures on Dvorak layout usage), but for me it’s an issue. Sure, I can type in QWERTY for short periods of time well enough to get my point across and send text messages. My typing speed is even somewhere between between 50 and 70 wpm once I really get going, but my accuracy is rather on the low side. To type in QWERTY I now need to concentrate. It’s no longer second nature the way Dvorak is. This isn’t good when my focus needs to be on my story. Not to mention the increase in typing errors that will have to be edited out later. Yuck.

The first results I got when I started Googling Dvorak for iPad were not encouraging. Fortunately, I didn’t throw in the towel after the first discussion board I read through. Man, there’s some serious venom against Dvorak on the Apple community boards. At any rate, I eventually found the answer I was looking for.

Although iOS does not support Dvorak natively for the on-screen keyboard Dvorak was hiding in the settings for the hardware keyboard. That works for me since I plan to do most of my typing via the Bluetooth keyboard built into my iPad’s case. I did a find a 3rd party software keyboard that supports the Dvorak layout, so I’m giving it a try. I think it may even have some swipe functionality like I’m used to with Android, so that would be a plus. Usually I don’t bother with switching the layout on my on-screen keyboard. Strangely enough, I hunt and peck better with QWERTY still. But, with a screen almost big enough to touch-type on it’s worth giving it a go.

The next thing I need to explore is if there’s some sort of adapter I could use to make my favorite keyboard, my TypeMatrix, work via BlueTooth. Now THAT would be sweet.

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A Big Bite from a Bad Apple

Posted on May 6th 2016 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: News, Self-Publishing Woes

Today I decided to take a leap and try something new. I bought an iPad. It has a tough little case with a built-in keyboard, and I thought it would be great for writing on the go. Let’s face it, poor old Harbinger with its bad battery isn’t much of an option for a busy author on the go. My poor, even older and heavier iBook is so past its prime. Even after I replaced Mac OS with an extremely lightweight Linux I still type faster than that poor computer can process. Seriously. And don’t even get me started on its internet situation. Remember dial-up?

But, before you get all excited about Sara the perpetual Apple-hater buying an iPad… I’m already thinking about taking the stupid thing back. I am at this moment, as my husband hangs on hold with Apple’s support people, wishing I’d bought an Android instead. It was cheaper, has expandable storage, and I guarantee you the problems we are experiencing wouldn’t happen with Google. Ever. But the shiny allure of an iPad on sale brought me around to the Apple way of thinking. In other words, temporary insanity.

At this moment my iPad is as good as useless, because I can’t sign in with my Apple ID. Oh, I’ve got the right email. The password is right, too. I reset it through the website on my working android phone. The stupid thing won’t let me update my billing addresses. And since it can’t update my billing address it won’t finish signing me in to iTunes. Since it can’t finish signing me in to iTunes, I can’t download apps. Since I can’t download apps, I can’t install Google Drive, Google Docs, etc. Since I can’t do that, I can’t use the stupid thing for what I bought it for.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a run-in with Apple. When I was trying to get my book out there to all platforms I had a heck of a time getting it up on iTunes. Now, some might say it’s my own fault for working with Apple directly instead of going through Smashwords, but I didn’t like Smashwords terms. Here’s the problem though. In order to sell something on iTunes you must have an Apple device. Let me repeat, to set something up to sell on iTunes you must have an Apple device. The necessary application cannot and will not run on a Windows or Linux device. And once you get it downloaded, well, let’s just say it’s not exactly intuitive and no one on Apple’s support team knows how to use it. I can’t tell you how long I sat on hold at my sister’s house while using her Mac desktop to attempt to upload my book. And when it did upload, half my name got dropped for some reason. Sadly, I didn’t notice that until it was too late and I haven’t been back to my sister’s since to fix it.

Needless to say, that whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth where Apple is concerned. I was hoping this experience would be better. So far, not so much.

So, here I am, using Harbinger to update my blog with an anti-Apple rant. We’ll see if Henry can get the iPad working. If he can, then I’m prepared to give it another shot. If not, well, there’s a Samsung Tab E with my name on it at the Verizon store.

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Oddmall

Posted on May 2nd 2016 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: News

Firstly, let me start by saying I really need to add a calendar of events to my website. Yes, that’s right, yours truly is getting her butt in gear and doing public appearances! I will endeavor to do better about, you know, letting people know when said appearances will take place.

Now that that confession is out of the way, let’s talk about Oddmall.

For those of you who don’t know, Oddmall is kind of like a cross between and arts & crafts show and a comic con. At least, you’ll definitely see some cosplayers wandering around. I wish I’d gotten a picture of the giant purple minion. Other notable costumes included a spectacular Darth Vader (he really had the force choke motion down pat) and a really, really tall Mario. I also saw someone dressed as Kiki from the movie Kiki’s Delivery Service. I also totally geeked out because someone had a replica of a sword from Sword Art Online. What has my husband done to me? I recognize stuff from anime! Shudder.

Aaaand moving on. I went this past weekend with other Indi authors from my NaNoWriMo group, the AkroNaNos. With me were Rose Withering, Dena Hall, and Dan Arman. Books on sale included Rose’s Thornburg’s DaughterDan’s River of Dreams, and Dena’s three books, Greek Ends, Celtic Beginnings, and The 13th Apostle. I, of course, had copies of Saving the Dragon available for purchase.

Dena Hall, Sara Cleveland, and Rose Withering at Oddmall

Dena Hall, Sara Cleveland, and Rose Withering at Oddmall

As you can see in the picture above, Rose (who is also the AkroNaNo’s esteemed Municipal Liaison) dressed up as a character from her book. Dena dressed up the day before, but I didn’t go, so no pictures. Sadface. I’m told it was a rockin’ outfit. I’ll have to think of something for the next event…

All in all, we had a great time, and even sold some books! We got to hang out with some other Ohio authors, eat great chocolate, and pay way too much for concession stand food.

Next Oddmall is July 8th – 9th in Hudson, Ohio. Expect to see some announcements from me closer to the date. And this time I’ll get more pictures!

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