Thanksgiving Week 2020

We have a lot to be thankful for this week, although it is hard to remember that sometimes. We have each other, even if we can’t see each other in person. Oregon is in COVID-19 lockdown for the next two weeks. The last week and a half or so, we did not get as much done as we would like. We are hoping that in the coming days, we can turn things around.

Nancy spent last week writing a transitional chapter in our current horror novel project. She then decided that it had become a huge information dump and, after much deliberation with Anne and Eric over Zoom, she has decided to put it to the side for use as a reference and move forward with a different concept. We think it will make for a more subtle introduction of our antagonists and will include a solid hint of things to come.

After staring at a page with only two sentences on it for several days in a row, Anne finally put the chapter aside, with the intent of making Eric write it. That is the beauty of collaborative writing, you don’t have to go it alone. She worked on the chapter map this week, and she is ready to move on with writing new material. The third book in the New Mother Earth series currently sits at approximately 13,500 words.

We hope to have more to report in our next blog post. We are dealing with extended family issues at this time and we may have to drop everything to help our Mom, Nancy. Just know that we are doing our best. We wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, or our day of gratitude as we like to call it. We are grateful for your support.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Veterans’ Day 2020

Anne’s Basic Training Platoon, Fort Dix, New Jersey 1989

Honoring and remembering our veterans on this Veterans’ Day. Both Anne and Eric are veterans. Anne served in the US Army, 1989-2004. Eric served in the US Coast Guard, 1986-1992. Nancy sent us care packages and worried herself sick the whole time we were away on active duty. We spent this Veterans’ Day the way we always spend it, at home, with our families. Thanks.

We’d like to tell you that we got a lot done last week, but that would be a lie. We spent the time glued to the election and managing family crises, in between all the doom-scrolling on the internet. Hopefully, we can move into the next week with a renewed purpose and the time to make it happen.

Thanks for your patience and sticking with us. We appreciate the support.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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October 2020 Wrap-up from Halloween Town, Oregon

Halloween Town, Oregon

Halloween Town, Oregon, real name Saint Helens, looked a little bit different this year, thanks to the pandemic. Our little hometown’s claim to fame is that it was the location where Halloween Town and Halloween Town II, Kalabar’s Revenge were filmed. For the entire month of October, the town is decorated with scarecrows and over-the-top Halloween displays. The visitors love it and the locals hate it. The downtown area sets up a number of attractions, including visits and photo opportunities with the Halloween Town actors, witches’ dance troops, a zombie survival 5k, and other Halloween-themed activities. This year, it felt like a hush fell over the town for the entire month of October. All the events and activities were scaled-back to meet COVID-19 guidelines. The weekend crowds were missing and everyone was asking if the holiday would be cancelled. No one can stop a holiday but it was a very transformed event. Anne has volunteered for the last five years in various capacities (The Fairy Festival, The Museum of Curiosities, and the Nacho Booth) but this year, she opted to stay home. It was a good decision.

As for Litzo business this week, Nancy finished the second chapter of our latest horror project, Area 25. Anne wrote another chapter in the third New Mother Earth science fiction series, bringing the total to 18. Eric got about 5 pages into his edits on those same chapters. Progress, while slow, is being made. No one is signing up for NaNoWriMo this year. We’ll keep with the steady pace for now. We’ll all be meeting up on Zoom this evening for our weekly meeting. We tend to do better when we are beholden to one another. It keeps us honest.

We hope you had a Happy Halloween. Fingers-crossed for a better November. Thanks for sticking with us.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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I swear I already wrote that!

Happy Halloween!

This week, we will be preparing for our pandemic Halloween celebration. Anne’s family loves Halloween but won’t be participating in trick or treating this year. It will be a strange end to this month, and the start of a very pared-down holiday season. Changes must be made.

A big change for the Litzos is a move to virtual meetings. Meeting in person just isn’t practical anymore and we haven’t been able to coordinate it on a regular basis. So this last weekend, we tried out Zoom for our very first online meeting. With the exception of one teenage photobomber, the meeting went off without a hitch. As well as virtual meetings, we also made the decision to move all of our working documents and materials into a shared Google drive. This will allow us to add material and make changes without the hassle of emailing current copies back and forth between us. We’ve honed our collaboration methodology over the last seven years, so, with well-established assigned color-coding system, we can make changes and updates without confusion or fuss.

After establishing a plan for virtual work, we continued to add to our current manuscripts. Nancy has started on the second chapter of our latest horror novel, Area 25 (previously referred to as The Phoenix Project). Anne finished chapter 16 of Servants of Gaia, lost it, then wrote it again but better (at least she thinks it is). She also finished chapter 17. It was a slow work-week because she is still reacquainting herself with the plot details from the first two books. It’s been a series of checks, rechecks, and backtracks in the hopes of getting it right.

We’ll be checking in with each other on Zoom here in a couple of hours. Ain’t technology grand? We appreciate all of you who are sticking in there with us. We’re slow, but hopefully, not George R.R. Martin slow. Progress continues.

Happy Halloween and kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Finally, Forward Progress!

We know you’re dying to find out! Were we finally able to break through our writer’s block and get some writing done last week? The answer is yes! Less than a lot but more than none, that’s something, right?

Anne is working on her current project, the third book in our New Mother Earth series, Servants of Gaia. Last week, she was able to add two and half more chapters (14, 15, and a good start to 16). This week, she plans to continue to add new material and to flesh out the chapter map as she goes.

Nancy is working on a stand-alone novel set in our Riverside universe. The story features a character from our horror novel, Creek House, by the name of Jack. He was a child in Creek House, and this book is set 15 years later, present day. After much deliberation, Nancy scrapped our prologue written earlier this year. Of course, she didn’t scrap the prologue, merely set it aside to possibly be used as a later chapter. We can never commit to completely throwing out completed material. You never know when you might need something from the slash pile. She wrote a completely new first chapter this last week and she has the next seven chapters mapped out. It’s a good start to the new book.

We also took the time to set-up a shared folder, so that Eric will be better able to access the files. This will allow him to edit in real time, rather than waiting for us to email him the relevant files.

It’s slow-going but at least we feel like we’ve taken our first steps. And, it’s a hell of a lot better than spending our time doom-scrolling the internet and binging Netflix. We thank you all for sticking with us. We’ll continue to update you with our progress. We appreciate the support.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Preparations Begin…

If only it were always this organized.

This last week, we spent time getting reacquainted with our neglected projects from last year. It’s been so long since we last looked at them, it felt like starting from scratch. We had to locate all of our scattered notes and make sure we had our most up-to-date material. It’s hard getting back into writing mode.

Anne pulled up the files on Servants of Gaia. She thought that she had a more complete chapter map than she actually did, and that meant a complete review of material that was written last year. (Sad but true, it has been languishing for a year.) She’s updated the chapter map through chapter 14, added in character notes for new players, and mapped out the next five chapters up to chapter 20. She has no more excuses and should be starting on writing new material this week.

Nancy pulled up all the notes and material from our other Riverside horror novel, The Phoenix Project (working title). She wasn’t happy with the beginning and decided to scrap the entire prologue and first few chapters. She’s got a working chapter map ready to go for the first seven chapters and she is also ready to start working on the new material.

Both of these projects have fully-fleshed story arcs but the chapter maps are where we really get the work done. The devil is in the details. It’s much easier when you have a really detailed idea for each chapter. We’ll be continuing to add to the maps as we go along, but at least we know the big picture and how it comes together. That’s what all our planning/brainstorming sessions are for.

You know, we always feel a bit down on ourselves when we let our productivity languish. It’s been a rough year. We really appreciate you, dear readers, for sticking with us.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Break’s over! Back on your heads!

Picture of Anne’s dog, Schnitzel, just because we could all use a cute dog pic right now.

As you might have guessed from the title of this blog post, we’ve been on a writing break for the last several months. Unfortunately, it lasted a lot longer than we anticipated but since this year has pretty much been a lost cause anyway, we’ll blame it on 2020. The title is a punchline to a terrible joke about a man sent to hell and getting to choose his punishment. He is escorted to a series of rooms, each one worse than the next and asked in which one he wanted to spend his afterlife. He chose a room that looked like an ordinary office conference room, complete with coworkers standing around drinking coffee. But he saw that the floor was covered in a noxious liquid, about a foot deep. He happily chooses the office room, at which point a voice calls out, “Breaks over! Back on your heads!” We keep waiting for the unpleasant surprises, and boy, this year did not disappoint.

We started out this year feeling hopeful and motivated but alas, it was not to be a normal year. And so, this summer, we took a step back to regroup and recover, and gave ourselves a self-imposed deadline of the 1st of October to get back to business. We have plenty of material to work with, with at least three projects partially completed.

We had a meeting to discuss our way forward and we agreed that we will focus on one project at a time, with some writing on the side as time allows. Our main project will be to complete the third book in our science fiction New Mother Earth trilogy, Servants of Gaia. We have about 10,000 words done, and the storyline is well-developed (but subject to change as we go along).

So that’s where we are right now. We’ve got a plan, a detailed plot, and we’re cleaning our desks, gathering our piles of notes, and rolling up our sleeves. We’ll keep you posted on our progress, but for now, wish us luck!

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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June 2020 Wrap-up

Foot Brace

Anne’s New Boot after Surgery

Whew, what happened to June? Not a whole heck of a lot, apparently. We wrapped up the end of the school year while social distancing and Anne had foot surgery. Nancy worked on her garden and yard. We talked a lot but that was about it. These are strange times indeed.

As previously mentioned, we made all our published works available on Smashwords. To date, we’ve sold/downloaded 200 copies of all of our titles. Out of those 200 downloads, we’ve received one review. Just one, not the best return but better than nothing and it was a five star review of our New Mother Earth short story, Gaia Uprising. Thank you, Reader!

This month, we are participating in the Smashwords site-wide sale. All of our titles are free or discounted for the entire month of July. You can pick up an e-copy of Exiles of Gaia for free this month and its sequel, Hunters of Gaia for a measly 99 cents USD. All of our short stories are always free.

We did make one sale on Amazon but we’ve all but written Kindle Digital Publishing off as a bad investment. Amazon’s algorithms have changed so much over the last five years. that you must pay for advertising to even show up in their search engine, and with no guarantee of a return, it looks to be a bad investment. Having done due diligence and looked into other authors’ reports on the results of their Amazon advertising, this seems to corroborate this finding.

We’ll be staying home and staying safe. That being said, we need to find a way to move forward and become productive again. Which is why Anne is in bed, with her leg propped up, writing this blog post. (All mistakes are hers, and if there are any, she blames the pain medication.)

Best wishes for you all in these strange times. As always, thanks for sticking with us.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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2020, Can I Quit You?

The Litzophreniacs

Like most people, we are currently reeling from the events unfolding around us and in the world at large: pandemic, mass protests, economic freefall, you name it, we got it. It hasn’t been the most productive of quarantines as far as our writing goes. Mentally, we are all kind of in survival mode. Every morning brings a new outrage and that just increases our need to hole up in our homes and avoid it all like the plague. (Get it? The plague….)

In any case, our mom Nancy has been working in her yard and garden and focusing on home projects. Anne has been making glass mosaics and binging Netflix, when she isn’t facilitating distance learning for her two boys. Eric has been working at his new job. Unfortunately, he’s on night shift and has had a hard time adjusting to the new work/sleep schedule.

When we last blogged, we’d ported over all our books and short stories to Smashwords. (All titles are still available on Amazon.com) It seems to have been a smart move when it comes to visibility, as we’ve had 178 free downloads since we went live. On the flip side, we’ve made no paid sales and we’ve recieved no reviews. As any author will tell you, a book lives and dies by its reviews, and no review is almost as bad as a negative one. We’ll stay the course. We’ve gone live this morning with a sale on Creek House. You can pick up a copy on Smashwords for the low, low price of $0.99 with a 50% off coupon, now through July 1st. Coupon Code is QA74C.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/510049

Now that we’re catching up with our home projects and we’re running out of shows to binge on Netflix, it might be time to get back to writing. We hope that you are all not just surviving, but thriving, as hard as that may seem right now. Thanks for sticking with us.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

 

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All Our Titles on Smashwords!

Mortuary Fly 2 Smashwords Cover

One of our short stories available for free on Smashwords

March has been a very productive month, not so much the writing aspect of the business, but taking care of the nuts and bolts side of things, as well as working on Anne and Nancy’s new Etsy endeavor, TeaRoseGoods. So, what exactly have we been up to, you ask?

We started off the month by taking care of our business taxes, always a sobering but necessary task. As a licensed business, our taxes are due March 15th, instead of the usual April deadline. Time had run out but we got them finished and submitted in time. The taxes just served to remind us that we really do need to shake things up a bit if we actually want to make any money off of our writing. Which brings us to our next task, Smashwords!

After much discussion, we decided to put our books back up on Smashwords. We offered them briefly on the site about five years ago, but then Kindle Direct Publishing Select and its new program,Kindle Unlimited (KU), came online, promising that with Kindle exclusivity, there would be more access and sales for its indie authors. This did not prove to be the case and in fact, KU has been terrible for us. We still have our books available on Amazon, just no longer enrolled in KU, and now they are all available on Smashwords. This also allows us to offer all of our short stories for free download, a move that we hope will help us with sales in the long run.

You can now find us at:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Litzos

Nancy has been writing a bit on our new paranormal thriller / horror novel, Area 25. Anne is set to start back in on Enoch, our crime thriller. Eric is in his last two weeks of his final semester of his college program. He’s got his eye on the prize.

Thanks so much for sticking with us. We appreciate your support. Come check us out on Smashwords!

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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