Pro-draft-inating

It’s the weekend. I’m home alone until Sunday afternoon, so I have all the time in the world–or at least thirty-six hours of it–to get shit done.

So why am I rooted to the couch, laptop in hand, working on a rough draft, when I could be sewing, doing laundry, or cleaning up–all the things I don’t have time for during the week?

I guess I’m just prodraftinating. It’s a thing now, I’ve decided. Basically, I’m avoiding all the work I need to do by working on the rough draft of my romance WIP. I’m at 12,600 words out of a minimum 15,000, and the story’s close to wrapping up, but I’m still far from “done.” My story has trapped me, and I have to see it through.

I’m loving my new characters, and it’s nice to take a break from the Abnormalverse (as I’ve dubbed it) for a contemporary story. No magic, no supernatural happenings, so evolutionary powers, no politics–just a story about a girl and a guy and a little happily ever after.

Once it’s drafted, though, I’ll have to dive back into the Abnormalverse for a couple of WIPs: my current 3rd installment of the primary Abnormal series, plus a new WIP that fell into my lap yesterday that takes place in the Abnormalverse but only features a cameo of my MCs from Abnormal.

The writing has taken a sudden leap in volume and prolificity (which, spell check says, is not a word, but I’m already making up words today so whatever). I’ve gone from working on one piece exclusively, with maybe a couple short stories or poems sprinkled between primary writing sessions, to having–let’s see–three active works-in-progress. It’s kind of cool. I feel like a “real” author. Lol

I do have to do some “real” work today, though; my co-host and I have two interviews to record for our podcast, so I’ll have to stop the writing for those at least. What I’ll do after is up in the air, because that just might be the pause button I need to get up and to other things. But those are almost six hours away, so maybe I’ll finish my draft first. Who knows. Ideally, I’d like to finish the first draft within my word count limit, but I might have to go back and revise to fill it in more.

My newest project should be interesting, and even though I’m toiling away at the contemporary romance story, the back of my mind is plotting and devising a strategy for this new WIP. I’m hoping I don’t completely stall out on the 3rd Abnormal book while all this other stuff is going on, but I was needing a break from it anyway. Maybe these other Abnormalverse stories will spark some new ideas for the primary Abnormal story line. Maybe. Who knows.

I guess I’m off to finish my draft now. My characters are standing next to me, arms crossed over their chests, tapping their feet as they wait for me to hurry the fuck up.

Y’all just calm the fuck down. I’m getting to you–just be patient. πŸ˜‰

Piloting without a manual

Remember that webcast/podcast idea I talked about a few months back? No? Well, I don’t blame you. I haven’t really been talking about it, because the logistics were a nightmare, but now…

…Now we have our pilot episode recorded and aired! That’s right, Muses and Murderers podcast (the webcast/video portion is on hold until I get a better setup) is officially started. It had some hiccups, it had some bumps, it had some awkward silences, but it’s live and ready to listen to!

I learned quite a bit in the process as we winged it today with a three-way call, a voice recording app, and a slew of other apps to make the recording work for sharing to a podcast app. Apps. Have I said “apps” enough? After today’s session, I know a few steps I can use to shorten the time and process from recording to publication, so that’s good. Because three hours to get a less-than-hour-long episode aired is a bit much. Lol

One thing that I’m grateful for as I went through the interview today was my experiences with Talk Nerdy With Us. Those phone interviews when I was with them made me more comfortable with the interview process today. I’ve listened through the whole podcast, and it sounds pretty good for a first time thing. I mean, I’ve interviewed people over the phone on behalf of Talk Nerdy and I’ve been on podcasts and webcasts, but this was my first time “running the show,” so it was an interesting experience.

First interview down, many, many still to set up and record. I’m hoping to get some done next weekend, now that I know how it will go and how to get it done. I’ll get some emails out in the coming days, set up some taping times….but I’m feeling much better about it.

We’re gonna do this thing.

We’re gonna do awesome things with this thing.

Tinkering away

So I was messing around with settings on this site the other day when I noticed something: There’s a freaking way to add Kindle links to the site!!!

Yeah, I’m late to the party, but you can now buy either of my novels on Kindle through this website. Pretty snazzy, eh? While I was doing that, I updated some of the graphics I had on there to make them more eye-catching (and to take off the bit about fencing in my brief bio at the bottom–Until I lose some of this weight, I don’t feel right claiming I fence when I haven’t in months).

Once the webcast gets underway, I’ll add links to the episodes on the Muses and Murderers page on this site. As of right now, my co-host Angelique Jordonna and I have a brief “intro” episode planned to give viewers an idea of what to expect from the show–and to give me a chance to get used to editing and such after we record. Lol Seeing as how I have zero experience with that, I felt it was a necessity.

Basically, keep your eyes peeled, ladies and gents and nonbinaries. I plan on keeping my site as up-to-date as possible, and my hope is that I’ll have a new Kindle link to add by early next year. Speaking of which, I’d better get cracking on those revisions! They’re not going to do themselves. Lol

Try, try again

On the advice of many, many people, I went to my psychiatrist yesterday (a month earlier than scheduled) and talked to him about all the stress I’m under. New medicine acquired, old medicine discarded, and now we play the waiting game.

Basically I have a month to adjust to the low dosage of the new med (which totally sounds like an alien species) before I get the full dose filled. There are a few bonuses to this new med:

  • No known weight gain side effects
  • Long half-life, so once I’m on the higher dose I’ll only have to take it Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
  • Teeny little capsule, so not a huge gag issue

The med is soon-to-be-approved for bipolar depression, so that’ll help with that side of things, but I am dubious as to the anxiety/stress benefits of the med. If it’s supposed to help with depression, will it also help these other things? We shall see, I guess.

Speaking of bipolar disorder, I’m slated to appear on a podcast called Speak Your Mind, which is a mental health podcast. I know, I know, it’s not my usual book/writing podcast venue, but the host is excited to talk about Abnormal and my writing in addition to discussing mental health issues in my life and in society as a whole. More info to come on that once I’ve gotten a date scheduled. We had a good, long chat the other night, so I’m hopeful that someone listening in gets some benefit out of hearing my story and my struggles.

I try not to get too political about mental health, but let’s face it: mental health is widely ignored by insurance companies and even more widely stigmatized in society as a whole. I think back on the work that Carrie Fisher did to try to destigmatize mental illness, and I think this is one cause I can get behind, not only because it directly affects me but also because it affects such a wide range of people, and not enough people talk about it. Maybe one day, when I’ve hit the NYT bestseller list, I can have the kind of influence where my experiences make a difference.

Yes, I have a mental illness. Yes, I have bipolar disorder. Yes, I take medicines to be “normal.” No, I’m not crazy.

Imperfect again

It’s time again for an appearance on Writer Imperfect, the Twitch streaming show about writing, publishing, and … vampires?

That’s right, the other esteemed authors I’ll be speaking with have all written vampire stories at some point or another. I’ve had a couple shorts on this blog about vampires, but nothing novel-length. (Well, there was that one failed attempt at a gypsy vampire novel. It was terrible. So, so terrible.) So I’m sure the talk will circle around to that at some point. Lol

I really enjoyed myself at my first appearance, and I’m hoping next Monday goes equally well. I didn’t feel to nervous or awkward, and despite River deciding to appear on camera in the background with her legs spread-eagled, it went great. I had fun, and I felt at home with these other, more experienced authors.

For authors who want a good time chatting with other authors (plus some good exposure), I highly recommend signing up for an appearance on this program. It’s every M-W-F at 8pm PST, and it’s an hour of fun and shenanigans. The show is rated mature, and there’s a reason. πŸ˜‰ We can talk about some crazy stuff. I have seen–no lie–a discussion about killing zombies with butt plugs. It’s a thing that happened. I wasn’t on that episode (I probably would have shot coffee out my nose if I had been), but it was a wild ride.

I’m kinda excited for this next appearance, and after that I’m going to get together with my co-author for The Hunting Woods and work out a time when we can both sign up. That should be a great show. πŸ˜‰

Shedding Light on My Darkness

Bipolar disorder sucks, but it’s livable given the right access to good mental healthcare and the right combination of therapy and pharmaceuticals. Why am I bringing this up now? Well, I’m in talks to, er, talk on a podcast about mental health issues. I was introduced to the podcast by a fellow bipolar author, and it seems like a good fit. I have mental health issues that I have to deal with on a daily basis; they’re a show about mental health.

I talk about mental health a lot here, about my stresses and stressors and stressing out in general, but I want to make it known that you can fight the demons inside and live in the world outside at the same time. It just takes a lot of effort.

It also takes admitting that you need the help.

Hopefully my appearance will help others realize that they don’t have to be holed up in their own little world of demons, suffering through hell on a daily basis. Hopefully it will help them realize that there are options and avenues for relief. And hopefully they’ll realize that they can’t give up after a few things don’t work; they have to keep trying until they find the right combination of therapies for them.

I’d say more, but that would be potential spoilers for the show. πŸ˜‰ More details as they come!

Almost Home

It’s 0432, and I’m at a friend’s house for the night, waiting for my husband to wake up so we can go the rest of the way home. So what’s an insomniac to do but write?

I tried to take a writing break during Estrella War, but my story started speaking to me again, and I couldn’t ignore it. This is after weeks of little to no progress on Book 3, so I’m glad the Muses decided to become chatty. Still, hand writing when you’ve pulled a muscle in your back (on your dominant side) isn’t exactly fun. I’ve already called out from work–well, texted out, I should say–and I foresee a heating pad in my future once I’m home… Possibly a doctor’s appointment. Depends on how much worse it gets. At the moment, I really don’t want to yawn, as I discovered last night that breathing too deep causes pain in the pulled muscle.

My feet hurt, too, as well as my legs, but it’s more of an ache from overuse of muscles that I’m not accustomed to using. You’d be surprised how many new muscle groups you will discover when you have to sludge through half a foot of thick, slippery mud for days on end. It actually got to the point where walking on dry land felt unnatural.

I’ve been tasked by my publisher’s publicist to find and book no less than three (preferably five) podcast appearances by mid March. I’ve had terrible luck getting responses, so that’s another thing I’m going to have to do once my laptop is unburied from the mess that is our car. I’ve enlisted the help of Twitter, whose #writingcommunity hashtag is a wealth of help and knowledge for newer authors like me, but I’m still going to do the “legwork” of searching podcast apps and contacting shows. It’s going to take a lot of my time, but I know it’s for my own good. I need to keep promoting ABNORMAL even though I’m working simultaneously on ESCAPE THE LIGHT and Book 3. An author’s work is never done, I guess.

I’ll be glad to get home. I miss my cats, miss my shower, miss my bed. I miss my house, my comfy couch, and all the things that I couldn’t take with to Estrella.

I wish that I had ventured out from camp more during the War. I was so miserable that I didn’t make enough of an effort to see friends that I rarely get to see or even to meet new friends. To my SCAdian friends, I apologize for not having much of a presence this War. I’d promise to make more events or something, but I’m still not sure what my mental state is following this “break” from work. I feel somewhat refreshed in the sense that, aside from a few frantic texts, I haven’t had to think about work in a week. However, that little twitch in my right lower eyelid is still there, and I still don’t know how I feel about getting back into attending more SCA events. I want to keep active, but I also need to take my mental health into consideration. That being said, I got some of the best hugs this past week, much needed and sorely missed.

Goodbye, Estrella War. Until next year.

Horse of a different color

I started the end of my royal embroidery project today. Granted, the “end” means two full hems that need to be embroidered, but….eh, details.

On the bright side, due to me being unable to math at 0400 this morning, the horse head designs that I’m stitching will have to be spaced out more to make it even….thus making fewer heads to stitch and saving me time in the long run. That wasn’t my intent, but the hems will still look good once they’re finished. Lucky for me I realized my error quickly, before I got too far into the design to take out what I’d done.

Lesson learned: Measure twice, add/subtract/multiply/divide twice, then place the design on the fabric and put on the hoop.

So, instead of stitching two dozen 3.5″ x 4.5″ knotwork horse heads, I’m stitching 16 of them. Thank the Gods for the Tim Gunn method of design: “Make it work.” (At least I didn’t have to use the Bob Ross method and turn my mistakes into birds. Wrong monarchs.)

I should be packing. Or doing laundry. Or something else. I’m of a one-track mind right now, though, so embroidery it is. Writing and the like will have to wait until later.

Oh! Speaking of writing–I’m being interviewed by my publisher, RhetAskew Publishing, on Twitter this evening. They’ve been doing a series of interviews with their authors, but due to my work schedule this is my first time being able to participate. 8PM PST, on the RhetAskew Twitter feed! (Or follow me @AJMullican–I’ll be tagged of course in the interview.) It’s kind of weird getting interviewed when just a couple years ago I was doing the interviewing of people. Strange how things come full circle.

Of Little Use

Sometimes living in the desert sucks.

Here’s where I’m at right now: I’ve gotten an assignment of sorts from my publisher to look up book venues (bookstores, libraries, etc) that I’d be willing/able to travel to for an event/appearance. There’s a caveat, too: they can’t be any place that I’ve contacted before. My problem? I live in BFE Southern Arizona, where the closest non-used bookstore and/or library that I haven’t already tried is pretty much 20+ miles away…and the majority of what I found is in Tucson, which is 70-90 miles away (depending on where in Tucson it’s at). Most of them, actually, are branches of the Pima County Library. Nearly half of them, in fact (I was told to select 20-30, so I picked the closest 30 bookstores & libraries). And one is 150 miles away.

I understand that I have to get my name (and myself) out there to get Abnormal seen and bought. I get that, I do. But I’m not in the best situation to make it to “out there” unless “out there” occurs on a weekend. Taking time off from the day job is difficult because of our patient load (and because I have quite a few responsibilities there), and I don’t see well enough at night to be driving 40+ miles (round trip) to an unfamiliar location. Then there’s the fact that, unless it’s in a place where I have friends I can stay with, it’s day tripping or a motel, one of which is exhausting and the other of which is expensive.

Let me just say that writing the book is the easy part. Cake compared to the marketing aspect. That’s turned out to consume more of my time and cause more stress than any of the writing/editing/revising did. So if you want to write books (and get them published), start learning now how to market them. I didn’t, and Abnormal has suffered because of it. It’s not beyond “fixing,” but it’s kinda dismal at this point.

Coming Soon to a Twitch Stream Near You….

Pretty excited to be able to tell you guys that I have an author interview set up!

Okay, so it’s been set up for a while…but now I have a graphic to go with it πŸ˜‰

Debating on if I should wear the wig for it. Lol I mean, it’s become a part of my author persona, as it were, on social media, and I wore it to Tucson Comic Con. It’s bold, it’s bright, and it’s noticeable…yeah, I think I’ll wear it. πŸ˜‰

Btw, Thomas Anthony Lay is another Askew author. I can’t thank RhetAskew Publishing enough for letting me know about the Writer Imperfect series and giving me the info to sign up for it.

So here’s the 411, or at least the short version: we’re going to talk writing and publishing and whatever else the viewers/interviewers have for us. πŸ™‚ My story’s kinda not your average author tale, so you might want to check out the stream to find out how I got started in traditional/indie publishing. Hell, you should check out the stream anyway, because you never know what’s going to happen. It’s liveΒ streaming, people! Anything can happen! Lol

Once things have calmed down after Estrella War I’ll be able to crank out more marketing stuff for Abnormal and the upcoming sequel (still in the far-away land of edits). With all the projects I have leading up to War, it’s going to be tough to get all the things done.

Well, I’m off to play around with Twitch and see what-all I can learn about it (before I noob it out next Friday). πŸ™‚