June 29, 2011

Slight Delay

The first time down any road you are likely to find more bumps than road. Publishing my first novel has not been THAT bad, thankfully, but I am learning along with my Publisher, Martin Sisters Publishing, as I'm their first novel as well. They have knowledge and experience in the publishing world that is invaluable to me, but I'm the first novel that they've taken through the process on their own. It's inevitable that we'll find some snags.
We just found one.
Turns out you 'can't' order my book at your local bookstore... yet. It takes time for the distributor to update their systems and share that update with all the stores they distribute to. Martin Sisters Publishing does distribute through Ingram, one of the biggest distributors of books out there, and that means that my book will be available easily to almost everyone, but it isn't, yet. Just as I was surprised to find my book up on google books, I'm surprised to find it not in the system of the store I normally order through (Indigo.ca). Now I know why and I know that it's just a matter of time, a few more weeks, until it IS in those systems. Suddenly, my slight disappointment at booking a signing so far in advance (September) is actually relief. The store WILL be able to order in copies and fans WILL be able to come back and ask for my book and FIND it!
*sigh of relief*
So, if you're looking to purchase Cargon in your hometown and wondering why it isn't there yet, that's why. I'll post another announcement when it IS listed with Indigo.ca and/or Barnes&Noble and/or Border, et al.

I'm also sad to say you can't order signed copies yet. All members of this house are suffering from a sinus cold, so my techie husband hasn't put the finishing touches on that webpage yet. I'm sure it won't be much longer. It was well on it's way the last time any of us felt good (Friday?). That link will be on the left with the Cargon info.

*cough cough* I'm going to go make some tea now. *cough, sniffle*

June 22, 2011

Press Release

Rather than write my own post, I thought I'd share the press release that Martin Sisters is distributing.


For Edmonton’s Kimberly Gould, being a wife, mother and working as an environmental consultant didn’t quite fill her 24-hour day. The 34-year-old Medicine Hat native has busied herself with creative endeavors through writing with successful results. Just a few short months ago the University of Alberta alumna was offered and accepted a publishing contract for her first novel.

“Cargon, Honour & Privilege,” was released by United States-based Martin Sisters Publishing, LLC in mid June. Since then, Gould has been looking forward to several book-launching events in and around Edmonton as well as her hometown of Medicine Hat, where she is remembered as Kimberly Dell.

The novel, which was created from a dream Gould had about a girl playing a game called Cargon repeatedly with her life wagered on every move, is a look into the future of humanity in a place where life is technologically more simple but socially more complicated. Eve, a clever young woman takes a risk and plays the game that will redirect her life as well as the lives around her. “Cargon, Honour & Privilege,” is set in a future Earth where all technology has ceased to function.
Gould, true to her environmental ideals, hopes Cargon will give readers a glimpse into a future unknown.

“I hope readers will take a moment to wonder what would happen if all our wonderful gadgets stopped working, if we no longer had printed books, if our children continued to take power – electrical power for granted ,” Gould said. “I hope they will question their place in society and consider trying to reach beyond expectations.”

Gould knew at an early age, growing up in Medicine Hat, she wanted to write and even began writing a first novel in the tenth grade. Like most, whose dreams are given up to achieve more lucrative endeavors, she abandoned it during her sophomore year while at University. After a while, she could no longer quell her yearning to be a novelist, so in 2009 she sat down to put that dream on paper once again.
While finding a publisher is difficult for any new writer, through a series of connections and what she refers to “as a stroke of good luck,” found Martin Sisters Publishing.

“I had been rejected by a number of agents and hadn’t submitted to any publishers,” Gould said. “I had entered a writing contest and won – the contest coordinator suggested that I submit to Martin Sisters Publishing and after browsing their Web site, I thought she was right.”

Gould’s debut is certainly a milestone in her budding career as a novelist but she’s only getting started. Her next novel has already been accepted by Martin Sisters Publishing and they’re hoping to see a sequel to Cargon, Honour & Privilege.
For other aspiring writers, Gould gives simple but valuable advice. “Let people read what you write. If you keep it all to yourself, the rest of us lose out.”
Gould lives in Edmonton with her husband Allen and daughter Delilah. She credits them for giving her the time and strength to pursue her love of writing. Print and e-versions of “Cargon, Honour & Privilege,” can be found at www.amazon.com and www.googlebooks.com and can also be ordered through most retail bookstores.

To learn more about Gould’s work or to find out when she will be bringing “Cargon, Honour & Privilege” to a venue near you, visit her Web site at www.kimmydonn.com or her publisher’s Web site www.martinsisterspublishing.com

How cool. :) Oh, and the link to Amazon there is for the Kindle version. THIS is the paper copy. I will eventually get something on my website for purchasing signed copies, but until I HAVE my copies, I figure I have time to figure it out. Or, rather, to let that awesome techie hubs of mine figure it out. Also cool? My first review on Amazon. :) It's a good one not a bad one. I expect those will follow... Not too soon, I hope.

June 16, 2011


I suffer from anxiety. Lately I've been feeling like anytime one thing goes wrong, everything is crashing. I couldn't add an FBML page to my new Facebook page. Then it took four tries to send out a recommendation to my Facebook friends and family. Now I'm going to have to wait longer for my copies of my novel to arrive because Canada Post is on strike. Finally, something that is absolutely not my fault (unless I can take responsibility for their benefits package... nope, not my department). It's not the end of the world, it just FEELS like it is. It's an awful feeling and all too familiar to me. I want to hide and scream and cry. I'm afraid to do anything.

I'm trying to work through it, as I often do, but after a while, if I haven't found some relief, I will go back to bed. It's safe there. I just wind up regretting the fact that I wasted the day. That leads to hating myself. So I'll beat myself up for the rest of the day, go to bed angry and if I'm unlucky, do the same thing the next day. I've ridden these cycles for years. Sometimes they're harder to break than others. I count on my husband to talk me down from the ledge, or out of bed. He reminds me that I haven't ruined my daughter's life, that my book will sell just as well next week as this week, that life goes on and a few hours consoling myself is a small price.

I love my husband.

I've been on a few different medications to help me deal with my depression and anxiety, and usually they work. When they don't, I know. Usually very quickly.
Not sure why I'm sharing this with all of you, except that I know there are quite a few who suffer with me. Is stress getting the better of you? How do you cope? Where do you turn?

June 13, 2011

Unexpected Release

Ah, the joy of clicking buttons. That's what my publisher did, and look at that, there's my book on Google Books (first two chapters) and Amazon (Kindle version only). I've been told the print copies are taking a little longer to work through the system but should be up soon. I couldn't wait to share, though! I hope you enjoy my first published novel. Click that button below. Share your thoughts on the excerpt with me.

June FlashFiction Challenge - Haley Whitehall

Haley has a monthly flash fiction challenge, and rather than post in her comments, as I did the last two times, I'm posting on my blog instead. Hopefully some of her traffic will like it here and stay a while. If not, well, enjoy the piece.

Actions Speak Loudly

She folded her arms beneath her breasts, her lips twisting slightly in a grimace. His eyes immediately went to her cleavage, an action that wasn't likely to improve her mood. He lifted them quickly, hoping not to get caught. He wasn't. Still, he needed to do something to diffuse the ticking bomb across from him.

He knew he couldn't say anything to make it better. He'd done wrong, even if only through neglect, and no excuse would suffice. She wasn't raging, tapping her foot impatiently, instead. She was willing to listen, if he could think of anything to say.

He couldn't. All his excuses were just that, excuses. Maybe... maybe he could do what she was -- tell her without words, without speaking, that he was sorry, that he wouldn't make such a stupid mistake again, that he didn't want her mad at him.

His eyes passed over her raised breasts again. Stupid. He was going to get caught that way. Closing his eyes to prevent any repeat offenses, he stepped blindly toward her, hanging his head in shame. Her scent was closer now, clearer, her shampoo and bodywash familiar. His hands went to her hips, holding her but not pulling her nearer. He dropped his head further until it touched hers, only then opening his eyes. They gazed directly into hers. He hoped she could see his remorse, his wish to make things better.

She sighed and dropped her arms, snugging them around his waist and putting her head to his chest. Sometimes, it was easier without words.

June 12, 2011

Love Contest, from Gabriella Lessa

This post is for a contest hosted by An Aspiring Writer's World. Please read the other entries! Each is from a completed manuscript.

After reading the others, I see most included a bit of context; I'll do the same. George is Daphne's father. He has been searching for James, the man who abused and then raped his daughter. Lila is his latest victim, and one George now feels responsible for.

Name: Kimberly Gould
Title: Thickness of Blood
Genre: Literary Fiction
Entry word count: 469
Manuscript word count: 64000
Link number: 17

“Do you... Do you know what you plan to do now, Lila?”

She felt her throat tighten. He knew she wasn’t going home, but she hadn’t told him she couldn’t. The truth was that she had no idea what to do next. She had a vague idea to go to another city, maybe as far as Nashville, and try to find work. That would mean living in the street, not the hardest thing at this time of year, she expected, but she didn’t have the faintest idea how or where to start. She’d never
had to take care of herself before.

“No,” she answered honestly, breaking eye contact to look at and finger her toast. “I thought I’d go... somewhere else. Start new.”

His smile, soft before, broadened now. “I think that’s a good idea. Are you particular where you go?” The smile slid a little, something else in his eyes now, worry? Fear?

She shook her head. “No. My first thought was Nashville, but I’m not picky at all. I can’t go to family anywhere,” she muttered, picking up the toast again. Her eyes met his. “You know, don’t you?”

“About a possible baby?” he said, cocking his head to one side. “About being kicked out of your house? Yes, Lila. Grace gets word fast, and she heard that this was likely to happen, if...” he broke off. Smile gone completely now, a growl entered his voice, “If James had touched you. I swear, Lila, if I had known this would happen...” He covered his eyes with one of his hands and his broad shoulders slumped.

He’d only been kind to her, this strange man. Showing her more care and love than anyone she had known before, she felt the overwhelming need to comfort him now. She stood, her chair scraping on the wood floor, and rounded the table to put her arms around his shoulders, hands barely meeting on the far one. He lifted one hand to touch her elbow, and she thought she heard him sob.

“George?” she asked. She had never seen a man cry before.

“He got you, Lila. I shouldn’t have been the only one looking for him. If I’d told someone...” he cried again, and this time Lila saw the tear fall.

“He didn’t hurt me, George. He just left me,” she tried to explain.

“Lila, you didn’t want what he did to you, did you?” he asked, turning those sorrowful eyes to her. “You didn’t chase him, did you?” His lip trembled a little.

Her throat caught, remember that first day, a year ago now. He had definitely been chasing. “No,” she answered in a whisper.

George’s chair scraped as he pushed it out from the table. He put an arm around her waist and hugged her back. “Neither did Daphne.”

June 7, 2011

Works in Progress

So, based on the advice of Kristin Lamb (I'm trusting her because, well, she gives us writers advice and has examples of people benefiting from it.) I am NOT going to write about writing. Well, that's entirely false. I'm not going to write about the process of writing. I'm not going to talk about critiquing... actually I am. I'm not going to talk about plotting... except that I am. Okay! How about instead of telling you what I'm not blogging about, I tell you what I AM going to blog about.

I have several projects in the hopper so I thought I'd tell you about each of them and how they're coming along. That way, if you're not a writer but are just curious about reading what I write, you have an idea what you might see in the future. I thought that would probably interest my followers. If it does't, please leave a comment, tell me what you WOULD like me to blog about and I'll consider it.

Project #1: Cargon
This gets broken into parts A and B. Part A is mentioned in that little blurb on the left. It's my novel that will be published 'soon.' I hate not being able to give you a release date. The fact of the matter is, my publisher is a perfectionist. I'm not. If I were a perfectionist, I would have gone into Engineering instead of Environmental Science. When you're off by a decimal point on the average height of your tree, bridges don't fail. I don't have to be perfect for my job. I'm just damned good. But! This is the first publication for Martin Sisters Publishing so I can understand why they want to make sure it is top-notch. (Just makes me wonder if they are sure they want ME to be their first book... They do? Sweet!) That means endless proofing and revision. I sent back a set of galley pages with a total of 8 comments, one of which was that the last two pages were duplicated. Another was that the commas in the sentence had gotten placed wrong. However, I've been informed that I will have another copy to review. Good thing I like reading my own writing. I will admit though, after the fourth read in three months, Cargon loses a little luster. I recommend only reading it twice in that time. *snort*
Part B is the sequel to Cargon: Honour & Priviledge. This is your warning: It doesn't end happily. Okay? You got that? Don't read it expecting happily ever after, it's not at the end of this book. There will be a sequel and there will be a happy ending (maybe not that epic lollipops and puppies, but happy!). As anyone who has read my fanfiction knows, I stand by reasonably happy endings. Everyone needs to have at least something to look forward to in forever, otherwise I drop-kicked my characters and my readers for nothing. I won't do that to you, promise. Part B is underway. Where the sequel started was obvious from the end of the first book, what wasn't obvious was how it would end. So, with help from the lovely Miranda Gammella, over the last week I have found my ending! Now I can properly plot out how to get there, what else will get tangled along the way, bring back everyone's favourite secondary characters (okay, MY favourite secondary characters) and tie a neat bow in that. If you've been following my blog, you already know I'm NOT an outliner. However, I was really lost on this piece and that skeleton of an outline is going to give me the support I need to push forward. Currently, I have about 30K so whether it will be one more book or two, I'm still not certain. It could easily go either way. Suggestions? Trilogy better than duet? I kind like keeping it short.

Project #2: Thickness of Blood
This started as a picture prompt for a fanfiction contest. I wrote 1000 words on a picture of a girl with scraped knees. In that she was assaulted by an older boy but intrigued by him at the same time. She didn't tell anyone about it and in fact obeyed his 'order' to touch herself in bed that night. Pretty DARK. In fact, I never entered it in the contest. Instead, it brewed in my head until a previous victim revealed herself. That was in September and I made a point of not writing any more about it until November, making it my NaNoWriMo novel. After a round of self edits, my current publisher looked at it, liked it, but suggested adding a third victim. After large rewrites I've given the manuscript to several people, including Miranda Gammella. (Think I use her a lot? Yeah, I do. She's awesome. She reads all my PicPrompts before they post as well.) She is my fourth pre-reader and I intend to do some serious line edits to the piece before sending it back to Martin Sisters.

Project #3: The Girl That Haunts Me (working title, thanks W.E. Linde for reminding me of it.)
I STILL don't have a good title for this piece. The premise is, a boy in high school discovers that his pre-school friend, who died in the same accident as the boy's parents, has been living vicariously through him. When his family moves for the first time, the ghost is dislodged and begins to actively haunt him. While trying to keep the ghost happy, not to draw too much attention to himself, and make new friends, one of whom can see his ghost, he searches for a way to resolve things for her. This one is almost done the first draft - only a few connecting scenes to be written/finished. It's short though, around 40K, although I might find things I need to add in second draft. I haven't started recruiting pre-readers for this one yet, so if you'd like a look at the first draft and give me tips for the second, comment and let me know! I need to thank Haley Whitehall here for her help in moving this one over a hump about a month ago.

Project #4: Dark Fantasy (working title)
This is a new one. I've written a short story for a fantasy contest and had three pre-readers and a beta. The single short is one of three I've written so far, following a human and his escape from the ranch where he is set to breed with females for the Manticores and Basilisks that feed from them. The other two ruling 'monsters' are the Gryphons and the Unicorns. Neither of these approve of the methods used and are prepared to intervene when they discover that the humans are more than a little intelligent and understand what is being done to them. The first escaped human, before intervention gets off the ground, is sent to the meeting where the new head of the 'monster' ruling council takes place and the Powers that Be (Celestial) choose the human. After their release and generations of invention and innovations, the humans are taking their turn hunting the monsters, using weapons and fire to combat magic. In my head the arc is pretty huge. It may or may not coalesce.

And that's what I'm working on. Next blog, something even less about writing. I'll probably share a little more of my day job with you. It's rather unique.

June 5, 2011

Field Season

This month is going to be busy. I'm out of town three of the four weeks this month, beginning today. This evening, my co-workers and I will drive for five hours to Fort McMurray. We are an environmental consulting company and will be conducting research on Oil Sands sites there. It is more efficient to drive so that our vehicle and equipment are with us. However, it means a lot of time when I can't read (I get car sick) and can only occasionally write (same reason). I spend a lot of time pre-writing. This trip I will be exploring the sequel to Cargon, which I have begun, but haven't gotten far with.

Next week, I should be in town all week before rushing back up to McMurray for a week and then to Peace River (five hours northwest instead of northeast... same boreal forest). I expect some time this month, with my luck, while I'm out of town, to get word that my book is ready for release. I have sent back my final copy of the galley pages with the few errors I found (it's looking great!) as well as an interview-style form with information for a press release. It's all in Martin Sisters' hands right now, and I'm anxious to hear what will come next. I hope I can start booking signings and such for July and August, fitting them around other work trips and my sister's wedding.

I always get anxious during field season. Things go wrong. Equipment gets forgotten, site access gets revoked, schedules change. A trip where things go smoothly is almost unheard of, so I get nervous. I rarely sleep the night before a field trip. That wasn't a problem last night, thankfully. I zonked early! Tonight, however... well, I'll just have more time in my hotel room to work on other things.

I apologize for the personally indulgent blog post that probably doesn't give you much to think about or resonate with, but well, with the month I have ahead of me, it was this or nothing. I didn't want to post nothing. I like getting two posts up each week. I just don't have a lot of writing advice when my head is full of native plants, seeds, site restrictions, safety manuals, permits... You get the idea. My day job is filling my mind right now. As the work progresses, I will find more time to write and think about writing, but this is the start of the season, the most stressful point in my year.

Do you find yourself cycling? Do you have a season or month that is more stressful for you than others?

June 1, 2011

Love of Critique

I'm waiting on two readers to reply to different stories I sent to them. I can't wait to hear what they say, bad and good. One reason I hate to wait is because I LOVE those stories. I want to encorporate those suggestions, I want to improve what I have, evolve it, read it again myself and find changes no one else suggested.

The two pieces I'm waiting on are of very different lengths. One is short, 5k maximum for a contest. The other is long, a 60K novel. They are very different styles. One is high fantasy, filled with Manticores and Gryphons and Unicorns. The other is contemporary fiction, a family dealing with the sexual abuse of their eldest daughter by a classmate. And I have very different pre-readers! Miranda Gamella pre-reads all of my Picture Prompts and has read some of my fanfiction prior to posting. I've known her for over a year. Tammy Lee on the other hand, is a wonderful lady I met at the Get Publishing conference at the beginning of May and this is the first work of mine that she's read (as far as I know). Two very different stories with two different pre-readers and I'm excited for both!

I'm going to take a moment here to thank David Kirk, author of Particular Stones, who pre-read both for me. And apparently neither was of the sort he reads normally! Thank you so much, David!

Which brings me to the other thing I love about Critique, the ability to explore other genres, other styles, and other authors. I'm Workshopping a novel written by Alicia Golden, through Fictionista Workshops. Not only am I reading paranormal, not my usual free reading material, but I'm working with others to synthesize our critiques, giving Alicia even more information on exactly where we had problems with a given chapter. I hope to one day have a novel of mine worked on this intensely. It's great for showing me mistakes I make, similar to Alicia's, and tips on how to improve what I'm writing. Although I am quick to offer to pre-read or beta read almost anything, I seem to be in need of readers more often than I receive manuscripts. Please, keep me in mind if you need something read!

And now, the sad part of critique, which was pointed out by Amy Sundberg in the second of her 'backbone' posts, you can't accept every piece of advice you're given. It's true. Some people will suggest things that will completely destroy the story you're trying to tell, turn it into something else, possibly something you don't want. Sometimes the advice is simply jaded. They haven't read chapter six so they don't know why you need this exchange in chapter three. Sometimes its just out of date. I had one reader insist I needed a double space after every period, but then my publisher turned around and told me to take them all out. Current word processors increase the space after a period automatically. How did we know! Those too too smart processors. Sometimes the suggestions 'sanitize' your story. If your character speaks and thinks in fragments and you have a grammar nazi come through and tell you to fix them all, you're going to lose your character's voice or that you use known terms for things even though your created titles are part of the world you're building. Your world can lose its uniqueness.

It is sometimes hard to know which advice to take and which to ignore. I've found, in the critiques I've received, that there is always one of the suggestions given that I will implement. Usually there is at least one that I won't fully encorporate. It's why I love having more than one reader, more than one set of suggestions. I can make some changes, have another person read it, and see if the problem is caught again, or if I've ameliorated it enough that it no longer impedes the story.

Critique is such a wonderful tool and I am still sad that I didn't have more people read my soon to be published work before it reached the final stages. I wish I'd been less tentative and given it a wider audience, gotten more response. I'm sure what I have is fine, I have had a pair of editors work with me, but how much better if I'd had eight or ten? I will for the sequel, you can be sure.

Are you a fan of critiquing? Are you reluctant to let others read your work? How well do you know your pre-readers? Do you let family read your manuscripts?