About the Author?

I need to post an author bio on Smashwords, both on my profile page and at the end of Butterflies.  I’ve been trying to figure out what to share (remember, I go by a pseudonym and don’t want to reveal my secret identity) and I think I have it.  Would you tell me if this seems like enough/too much/just the right amount of information?  My blog, Facebook page, and Smashwords page will all be listed separately.

Leigh Townsend lives in Houston, TX with a whippet-mix dog and an African grey parrot, both of which were rescued.  Her personal library consists mainly of fantasy and science-related non-fiction, as well as the last decade of National Geographic.  She is a self-proclaimed “bird nerd” who has traveled all over Texas, to many corners of the United States, and even to Panama in her quest to see new birds. (Her life list currently stands at 767 species.)  This is her first full-length novel, with more to come!

Thanks in advance for your feedback!!

Remembering the Fallen

Memorial Day is a time for remembrance, a day to reflect on and thank those who have given their lives in service to their country.

While I have thankfully not lost a loved one in war (although I have several family members who are veterans, of wars current and past) I can sympathize with those who have.  To lose a loved one at any time is painful, but a life cut short in battle is an agonizing loss.

I have written about war and taken the lives of my own characters, but I have never personally experienced these things.  For my freedom and my safety, I have our fallen soldiers, as well as our veterans and active military, to thank.

You are remembered.  Your sacrifice was not in vain.  Thank you.

Putting Insomnia to Good Use

Last night I couldn’t sleep at all. I watched a movie, which usually helps me fall asleep.  I read, but that just got my mind going more (which is somewhat unusual).  I even tried the trick I learned from a sleep expert: count backwards from 300 by threes.  No luck.

Around 2:30 I finally gave up and decided to put my sleeplessness to good use.  For the next three hours I read the Smashwords guide to formatting and put it to use on Butterflies.

That’s right, my formatting is done.  🙂

I just need to write my “about the author” bio for both the Smashwords website and the end of the book, and get a few links added.  Once I have that and my cover art, I can submit the whole thing to Smashwords for e-publishing.

While it feels good to have accomplished all of that, I am now hoping I can recover that sleep.

Did you read?

There are currently 4 people in my office who get pestered with this question on a near-daily basis. Two are reading Butterflies, and two are the First Readers for Dragon.  I am the kind of person who likes feedback, so I tend to ask a lot of “did you read” and “what’s going on in the story” type questions.

I realize that once Butterflies is available as an e-book I won’t be able to get feedback from everyone who’s reading it.  At that point the feedback changes.  Suddenly I’ll be able track how many people have purchased the book, people can post comments about it as they read and/or finish it, and perhaps I’ll get more than 20 fans on Facebook.   (Are you a fan?  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Leigh-Townsend/146722205356571)

For now, though, I can pester the people in my life who are reading my books.  My favorite comments?  For Butterflies, I love these two: “I had to make myself stop reading because I needed to sleep” (or any variation of “I couldn’t put it down”) and “You need to write a sequel.”  For Dragons so far, it’s simply, “More, please!”

Writing Challenge Guest – Snailquake

Snailquake is a zoologist-in-training with a house and garden full of animals who once needed homes. She has a degree in English literature and spent three years running creative writing workshops for people with severe mental health conditions. Her blog, Tea Time at the Zoo, can be found at: snailquake.wordpress.com

Barry White Likes a Fight

Some say I talk too much but that’s ridiculous because I hardly ever say anything at all, not like Colin, and I always say if you haven’t got anything interesting to talk about then you might as well not talk at all because none of us are listening and Colin goes on and on and on and on about food mostly, like it’s the only thing he can think about, whereas some of us have a bit more whatyoumacallit and can think about important stuff like fighting and trees and celery and melon rind and that bit in the middle of a pineapple that’s got exactly the right level of chewiness and pineapple is probably the best food after celery and maybe parsnip.

They call me Barry because I’m white but I don’t see what “white” has to do with “Barry” and the other white guinea pigs aren’t called Barry, they’re called Colin and Twogoose, and Twogoose has an ugly stupid face because he’s the reason I have to live on my own in one corner of the garden and I can’t sit under my tree because the tree is where Twogoose lives with Horatio, and I was living with them and I was FINE except Twogoose was hassling me and who does he think he is, so now I’ve got my own bedroom with hay and everything in this upturned dog bed thank you very much and if any of them others come in here I’ll bite their face off.

I like celery and parsnips and walks in the long grass and I like fighting as long as I’m the winner so I generally start the fights because then they’ll think I’m big even though I’m really small and there are seven of us and Orkney is the runt but I’ve never fought Orkney because what’s the point, whereas Colin has plenty to bite and he deserves it, and one of these days he’s going to get it, but then again last winter we sat under the TV table and he let me eat his bedding which was hay and I like hay, and I like carrots and did I mention celery and sometimes I like a good old sing-song because who doesn’t and I like parsley.

Some say I’m also easily distracted but that’s compl

A photo of Barry, courtesy of Snailquake

Find out more about the writing challenge here!

Fake Science

My creativity is often easily distracted.  After the discussion with one of my First Readers about writing a fake genetics research paper, guess what I started thinking about?  Yup, the made-up science paper.

I’ve decided it will be an appendix of the novel.  Instead of the whole paper, I’m creating an excerpt.  The topic of interest (human/dragon offspring) does not have enough data to produce an entire paper; it will be a side discussion in a paper about dragon hybridization instead.  Here’s the title of the fake paper: “Genetic analysis of the lack of hybridization in interracial crosses of Khai” by Spencer O’Neal, Ph.D. (Columbia University).  The journal containing said paper has yet to be decided.  (Khai is what the dragons are called in my novel, in case you were confused.)

Having a science background, I am capable of coming up with sentences like the following off the top of my head (this one is based on a discussion with a friend).  “Pine (1987) postulated that a Khai/human cross could lead to multiple generations of heterozygous individuals with a human phenotype and the potential to produce Khai offspring.”

That’s right, I said heterozygous.  🙂  There are science nerds out there (including one of my First Readers) who will appreciate the fake paper very much, and my brain is having fun creating it.

The Unwritten Chapter

Chapter 16 is my current challenge in Dragon.  I’ve written 14, 15, and even 17, but 16 is not my friend.

It’s not that I don’t know what happens.  I’ve outlined it, and I even know some very specific details of the action and the conversation.

The trouble comes when I try to start writing.  That beginning scene is tripping me up, making it very difficult to get any of the chapter written.  Theoretically I could simply skip the part that isn’t coming and move ahead in the chapter; I’ve already moved ahead in the book!  Somehow, when I sit down with Chapter 16 open, nothing happens.

This has happened to me before, with nearly every story I’ve written.  There’s that one section that gets me stuck.  If I can find the first sentence or so, I’ll be good.  The next installment to my readers isn’t due until Tuesday morning.  Here’s hoping 16 decides to fall in line before then, or they’ll only be getting a few pages this week!

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