Business Cards, I Have Them

bizcard

Now all I have to do is figure out the most effective way to deploy them.

Do I press them into the hands of all I meet?

Do I save them for giving out to people who sound like they might actually be interested in editorial services?

Do I stick them up on random bulletin boards?  (If I were selling a used snowblower, I’d tack a notice up at the local IGA grocery store, but that’s different . . . or maybe it isn’t.)

Do I scatter them broadcast over freebie tables and consuites at sf/fantasy conventions I happen to attend?

This self-promotional thing, it is tricksy and difficult, especially if one doesn’t have the natural temperament for it in the first place.

Snowbound

At least until the driveway gets shoveled clear.  Which is going to be a task which is not mine.

SnowDay

And we have more snow predicted for mid-week.  Fortunately, Friday is projected to be cold and sunny, because that’s the day we’ll be heading down to Boston for the Boskone sf/fantasy convention.  Watch this space for the unified Doyle&Macdonald convention schedule, to be appearing Real Soon Now.

Meanwhile, I have an editing gig to work on, which I have grievously neglected the past two days, because the household was afflicted not only with snow, but with a nasty but fast-moving bug that somehow slipped under this season’s flu-shot radar.  (Better last week than this coming weekend, is all I can say.)

Winter Comes, Every Year

And so do the winter electric bills, because we heat our (big, old) house with electricity.  We used to heat it by means of a wood-burning forced-hot-air furnace in the basement, but gave that up after about a decade and a half – wood is cheap, compared to other locally available heating methods, but it’s a hassle from start to finish.

First you have to purchase the firewood, which means finding a reliable Firewood Guy – something that’s a lot harder than you’d think, because your typical reliable Firewood Guy is usually just one year away from selling his chainsaw and his skidder and retiring to Florida, so calling last year’s supplier almost never works.  Once you’ve got the firewood, it has to be stacked, all eight or nine cords of it (a cord, if you’re interested, is a stack of logs measuring 4’x4’x8’, and if you’re ever in the business of purchasing cordwood for yourself, make certain you specify “full cord”, because unscrupulous dealers are not above selling you so-called “face cords” which are only half the width of a proper cord.)

Then the stacked wood has to be heaved down into basement where the furnace lives; this will have to be done repeatedly throughout the winter, usually in the dark on bitter cold nights, because that’s always the time when one or another of the house’s occupants comes into the office and says, plaintively, “There’s no more wood in the basement and the fire is getting low.”  At which point somebody – probably you, because why else would they have come into the office to complain about it – has to suit up in full north country outdoor gear and go move some logs.

After that, you have to go down into the basement and heave yet more logs, this time from the basement into the furnace.  And you’ll have to do it again before you retire for the night, and as soon as you get up in the morning (forget about sleeping in, if you heat with wood), and every four or five hours throughout the day.

So once I started having paranoid fantasies about chimney fires, and about the insidious threat of carbon monoxide, and about tripping and falling on the rickety basement steps – but especially about the basement steps, because I have the sort of ankles that can turn on a crack in the kitchen linoleum – I said the hell with this, and switched to the backup electric baseboard heat.  I have dreams of converting the house to oil or propane, because all the ductwork is still in place, but a project of that expense and magnitude would require major money up front, and Hollywood hasn’t bought one of our novels yet.

Which is why one of the early posts on this blog, back when I was just getting started, was my Fire in Fantasy Rant, and why I’m taking this opportunity to point a discreet finger at the Editorial and Critique Services link up there above the header.  If you’ve got a novel in need of editing, you have it in your power to help me make the electric company very happy.

Seven More Days

A quick reminder that it’s only seven more days before the end of my traditional Midwinter Festival Sale – if you’ve got got a friend who might want a critique and line-edit, or if you want to buy one for yourself to hang on to until you’re ready to use it, you still have some time left.

In the meantime, have some links to pictures of gingerbread houses and a guide to finding local Christmas light displays and last year’s Festival of Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge, to amuse you during the season.

The Looming Spectre of Christmas Presents

That time of year is coming around again . . . the Northern Hemisphere Midwinter Holiday (exported to the Southern Hemisphere by transplanted Northern Hemisphereans), in which we celebrate, among numerous other things, the fact that the sun has come back for another year.  I never fully appreciated that aspect of the season when I was a young thing growing up in Florida, or even in Texas; it took moving up to live cheek-by-jowl with the 45th parallel to show me just why so many different cultures thought that the winter solstice was a thing to celebrate.  Right now, we’re in the tight and rapid end of the downward spiral, with night closing in at 4PM or even earlier, and the sense of relief when the days start getting longer again is, believe me, immediate and intense.

So we celebrate our midwinter holidays with good food and good drink and the exchange of gifts, and that brings us to one of the perennial worries of the season:  what to give to the other people in your life.

If one of the other people in your life is a writer, I can help you with that.  From now until the 26th of December, you can buy your writer friend the gift of a line-edit and critique from Dr. Doyle’s Editorial and Critique Services for the seasonal sale price of $1000.00, to be redeemed at the time of the recipient’s choice.

Sample December Gift Certificate

The gift purchase comes with a .pdf certificate suitable for printing out and presenting to the recipient in the wrapper or envelope of your choice.  The holiday in question can be customized for the recipient, as well.

(And if the recipient of the gift happens to be you, that’s fine, too – this has been a rough year, and we need to be kind to ourselves as well as to others.)

When Winter Hits the North Country, It Hits Hard

Or, what our driveway looked like yesterday morning:

20161121_084829

And it snowed some more, after that.  And it’s snowing now.

In weather like this, there really isn’t much to do except stay inside at the computer and listen to the chatter of the road crews on the office scanner work on the various projects currently in hand.

(This is also why the very next editing gig that comes in has got “studded snow tires” already written on its metaphorical forehead.)

The Work That Binds Us Together

This is, of course, National Novel Writing Month – which really ought to be called International Novel Writing Month, as the map on its web page shows.

In a month that’s been full of bad news from all over, and much unhappiness and partisan animosity, I find looking at that map to be immensely consoling – because whatever else may be going on, there are people all over the world striving to do the same difficult but rewarding thing, and cheering each other on as they go.  The 1,994  writers hard at work in Chicago are doing their bit; so are the 8,046 in Chile and the 39 in Kenya, the 127 in Latvia and the 756 in India . . . and all the rest, all around the globe, working on their individual acts of subcreation.

(Shameless self-promotion time:  If, after you’re finished with your project, you should happen to want it gone over with an editorial/critical eye, please imagine me making a discreet gesture toward the “Editorial Services” link just beneath the header.)

Time for a Spot of Shameless Self-Promotion

It’s drawing on toward the end of local summer, hard as it is to believe with the temperature and the humidity being what they are – but here in far northern New Hampshire the first hints of color are showing up in the trees, so fall can’t be far behind.

If you’re one of those writers who took advantage of the long summer days (or the long winter nights, if you’re in the other hemisphere) to finish your novel or your short story, now is the time to think about whipping that first draft into better shape.

As a quick look up at this blog’s title will show, I’m here to help you.  My standard rate is a flat fee of $1500 for a standard-length (80,000-100,000 word) novel; for $100 I will edit your short story or the first 5000 words/first chapter of your novel.  Details are available here.

April Showers Seasonal Special Time

Because it is now, at least in theory, spring (the thermometer got down to 10°F last night, so what it is in practice is something else again), it’s time once more for a Seasonal Special Offer.

Sample Spring Gift Certificate2016Small

From now through the 15th of April, in hope of warmer and brighter days to come, my usual rate for a full line-edit and critique for a standard-weight novel drops back to $1000.

Furthermore, you can purchase a gift certificate for a friend or colleague at the seasonal price, to be redeemed by the recipient at whatever future date they find convenient.  Needless to say – but I’ll say it anyway – you can also take advantage of this seasonal offer to pre-purchase a line-edit and critique for yourself on the same terms.

Also, for your amusement:  How to make a gingerbread TARDIS.

It’s the Longest Night of the Year

Sunset’s at 4:03 PM (at least, it’ll be 4:03 at the local weather station I get my reports from), and by 4:30 it’ll be as black as the inside of a goat outdoors.  But we keep on keeping on, in the conviction that the sun will once again come back and the days will start their outward spiral toward midsummer.

In honor of the season, and of all its assorted celebrations, I’m once again offering my wintertime holiday special

From now through Twelfth Night (6 January 2016), my price for a full-dress line-edit plus a 3-5 page letter of critique drops to a flat $1000 for a standard-weight novel, which you can also purchase in the form of a gift certificate redeemable by the recipient at a future date of their choice.  (And if the gift recipient happens to be you, that’s perfectly fine with me.)