Good news, everyone! ABNORMAL is coming to audiobook–soon! Missed out on this fast-paced sci-fi/dystopian novel because you just don’t have time to read a physical or digital copy? No sweat. You’ll be able to listen to the story soon. 🙂
Even better: I need reviewers! Send a message/email (here or on one of my social media pages), and I can put you on our reviewer list. What does that mean? It means as soon as I know the release date, you’ll know…and possibly some other fun stuff 😉
ABNORMAL’s journey has been incredible, and I can’t wait for more people to have access to this story of action, survival, love, and loss.
In what has been described as Push meets Blade Runner, Abnormal takes place in a future where genetic Gifts are treasured and revered–unless you’re poor. For the lower classes, any genetic “abnormalities” discovered before birth are terminated by government mandate. Clare, an Abnormal whose mother managed to evade the genescans, must keep a low profile or risk being sent to an internment camp. When two Gifted men stalk and assault her, she kills them in self defense. Too bad their parents are on the Council. Now Clare is on the run and must keep one step ahead of the Squads.
I’m still hard at work on the third installment of the series, and the sequel is with the publisher. This new milestone in ABNORMAL’s life is exciting, and I can’t wait to hear it for myself.
It happens a lot in the writing world: You’re going along at a decent clip, then BAM! you come up upon a brick wall that derails your train of thought or slams the brakes on your progress.
One of the biggest author questions I see on Twitter’s #writingcommunity hashtag is “How do I get past writer’s block?” (or some other version of that question). It’s an age-old question, and there are probably as many answers as there are ways to phrase the question–actually, probably more answers.
Everyone has a different method of breaking writer’s blocks, and no method works for all writers. I, for one, usually take a break, regroup, then come back and reread the previous work to remind myself where I left off and what’s going on. Does it work every time? No, but it’s been somewhat effective so far for me. This time, however, it’s not helping.
What next? Well, I could try any number of things..and that’s kind of the problem. You see, I have too many options here. I could do X, Y, Z, A, Q, W, or even go into the Greek or Cyrillic languages for more letters and still not run out of things to try. I could drink until something comes to me, I could try a writing prompt, I could move on to another WIP and work on it, I could scribble down a nonsense scene to get the creative juices flowing–but which one to do?
Is it possible to have writer’s block block? Because I think that’s a thing now. I can’t think of a viable solution to getting out of this rut.
“Where is Clare right now?” you might ask. “What’s she doing? What can happen to her to move the story forward?” Sure. Ask the easy ones. The ones I’ve already answered to myself, the ones that come first. How about a hard one? Like “What happens next?” or “How does X come to be?” or “Why is X happening?” Because those questions are plaguing me at the moment.
Maybe I’ll “freewrite” here….just let the writer’s block busters flow until something sparks something else.
Should I freewrite a scene? Jump to another spot in the story and come back to the stuck part? Work on another story altogether? Outline more? Should I open a dictionary or thesaurus or something and flip to a random page and close my eyes and point to a word and go from there? Interview my characters? Mind map? Ugh. So many ways to theoretically break through a block–and right now, none of them sound “right.”
At this rate, I’m going to be one slow author. I’ll be in my sixties before this series and the spin-off series are done! And what about other projects? I’d like to do more than one or two series and be done with writing. I want to branch out, write more varied works. I want to grow as an author.
Eh, what am I talking about? I’ll be fine. I just need to breathe. Take it easy. One sentence at a time. Maybe I should skip around. Or outline. Try new styles. Who knows? I could come upon the mystery solution to all writers’ blocks.
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.
Well, here goes nothing. I’m about to venture into uncharted territories. About to head beyond the horizon, beyond the now, beyond the future even.
Where am I going, you ask?
I’m going to do the unthinkable. The unimaginable. Potentially the most frightening thing I’ve ever done.
I’m going to try to mind-map/thought-bubble a rough outline for the fourth book in the Abnormal series–before I’ve written out all of Book 3!
I know, I know. I’m scared, too.
My mind is ticking away, and it needs an outlet. And my brand-spanking-new journal needs filling. Plus, it’s not even 0400 and I’m bored af. So I’m going to try to outline beyond where I’ve written, and I’m going to maybe–maybe–tiptoe into Book 5’s story a bit, too.
You see, I have a long-term plan now, more than just “I’m gonna write a bunch of books with the same characters in the same world.” Now that I’ve decided to go ahead with the YA spin-off series, I need to actually plan stuff. I mean, I have to decide how fast to age the characters in the NA series, where to leave off at the end of the NA series, and where to start the YA series. That means the dreaded planning.
In addition to quasi-plotting out Book 4/possibly Book 5, I also might plan out the titles of the YA books, or at least the first few. I already know what I want to call the series, but I haven’t decided on book titles yet.
Yeah. I’m going to do this.
But I’ve gotta stop talking about it…if I just keep rambling here, I’ll never get it done! Lol
Normally, I hate outlining. Hate it. With a passion. So why do I have a rough “outline” of Book 3 all ready to go?
It seems the thought-bubble/mind mapping/whatever-you-call-it method of outlining works well for me. I can see where things might need to be beefed up, and I can better see the flow of the story. Does it mean this is a hard outline, not to be deviated from? Not necessarily. I mean, I have had characters take over and rewrite the story their damn selves plenty of times. But it’s a start, and it’s a better start than I had previously. I mean, I’m having to go back and rewrite the train wreck that was the start of my first draft. Oh, it was terrible. So, so terrible.
This go around will have a much better flow. I have a good feeling about it.
It’s weird, this metamorphosis of straight pantser to planner/pantser hybrid (plantser, if you will) to sort-of-planner. I still don’t feel quite like a “real” planner, but I definitely am putting more thought into the future of Book 3 and the future of the series in general.
Ooh! I just had a brainstorm! Now I know how Book 3 will transition into Book 4!
See, even the planning has changes sometimes. I am even more excited to get started now lol
I must be crazy. I mean, I’m already smack in the middle of a New Adult sci-fi dystopian series… Why would I start up another series?
Because the adults in my series have families… and those families will grow up eventually… which means they’ll be teenagers… So–I guess it’s natural progression?
It’ll be a while before I can start. I still have two and a half more books on the docket for the Abnormal series, not counting the one that’s in its second round of edits. But in my head I can see those little babies and kids as full-blown characters in their own right. It’s just the way the stories seem to be headed.
Of course, now I have to step it up on the writing of Book 3’s draft. If I plan on having these characters grow up, I need to let them be kids a bit first.
I’m kind of excited for this potential new series. I have gone from thinking I’d never have more than a single standalone book in me to not just one but two series. It’s blowing my mind.
Well, off to bed. Early to bed, early to rise, or something. Gotta get shit done.
So Take 3 of Book 2 is done (translation: I finished the first official round of revisions on Escape the Light, which is technically the third draft because I had to redraft the first draft after I finished Abnormal), which means I should probably get cracking on the train wreck of a draft that is Book 3.
I know that “The first draft of anything is shit.” (Credited to Hemingway, according to the interwebs.) I know that. But so far, Book 3’s first draft is a special kind of shit. The kind that makes me want to burn it and bury the ashes (and it’s mostly a digital file–there are a few handwritten pages, but can’t exactly burn a digital file).
It starts off…okay. Then, through a series of poorly-written events, it derails and ends up circling back around on itself in an endless loop of crap. I’ve got a lot of work to do.
There are debates in the writing community about whether one should write a draft straight through and edit later or whether it’s okay to edit-as-you-go. I’m of the latter group, especially having rewritten most of Escape the Light to get it to match up with the revised ending of Abnormal. Rewriting an entire draft sucks. It’s a pain in the ass, and it’s obnoxious. So I’d rather go back on Book 3 while it’s still a baby draft and rewrite the first five chapters, as opposed to rewriting twenty-something after I finish this steaming pile.
Don’t get me wrong; when I’m done, Book 3 will be amazing. I know where I want to go with it, I just can’t seem to get the train on the right track. Once I get back in the groove of things, it’ll fly along like usual. My hope is to finish the first draft before Escape the Light is published. With all the embroidery projects I have ahead of me I’m not sure if I’ll make that goal, but I’m keeping hopeful.
I think the hardest thing will be writing the things that I don’t know. How fast do babies grow? What are their milestones? What’s war like? How would a battle in a decimated wasteland play out? What’s postpartum depression like? Postpartum psychosis? What’s the difference? So many questions to ask, so much research to do. I have a feeling I’ll be bugging friends and family members with some of this. Sure, I can go to the Google and search a bunch of crap, but as far as first-hand accounts of combat versus academic articles–Well, c’mon, it’s a no-brainer. I have to be careful, though, because asking questions like that can trigger bad PTSD moments. So I also have to tiptoe. Don’t want to alienate everyone just for the sake of authenticity.
This post is obviously a stalling tactic. If I’m writing the post about writing, then I don’t have to write, right?
It’s Marketing Time again in my publisher’s writing group, so I spent this morning tweaking and posting some graphics on various social media sites to try to generate sales/interest for Abnormal. I need to screenshot my current insights, I suppose, to have a comparison to make.
Marketing has been by far the biggest challenge to my writing career. I just don’t understand it. Some posts I make have a huge impact with a lot of interactions, and some (that I personally think are more interesting or entertaining) get zip. It’s just something I can’t wrap my head around.
It scares me a bit. I mean, I’m the one most responsible for getting my book out there and seen/read by more people. So why can’t I seem to get the hang of it?
Who knows. I tried contacting bookstores in the state–almost no response. I tried contacting libraries–zip. I tried several blogs/podcasts/book review sites–crickets. I just don’t know what I’m doing/not doing that’s so wrong.
In person I can sell the book just fine. I can talk it up and get people interested and even get them to buy it. Granted, it’s mostly friends/family/coworkers that are buying when I do this, but I have managed to convince several strangers to give it a shot, too. So it’s not that I’m not capable of selling my book. I just can’t seem to translate the in-person pitch to a post or tweet. Which is weird, given that I have severe social anxiety and tend to stammer when I get nervous–which is just about any time someone asks me about my book. You’d think that I’d do better from behind a phone or computer screen.
So I posted a few graphics today, and I’ll keep an eye on the analytics/insights to see what-all worked and what didn’t. Here are the things I posted today, minus any hashtags and the like:
Apparently there’s a way to put up a story on Instagram and allow comments, but I couldn’t figure it out. Oh, well. They’re out on the Web now, so time and analytics will tell if these graphics help me out or not.
I’m trying. I really am. I just get so overwhelmed with all there is to do to market a book. It’s not just throwing it out into the ether and waiting for the income. It doesn’t work that way. But hopefully, with the help of my publisher, I’ll get some traction.
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
With my edits back and me back home, my early-morning, pre-work writing/revising time is back on track.
Except “back” is a word I shouldn’t be using, according to these edits. It’s “staging.” Except when it’s not.
Yeah. It’s like that. You see, “was” is not always passive–except when it is. So don’t use “was” in the passive form of the verb. But when it’s active it’s okay? I think that’s how it goes.
The first round of edits is always frustrating for me, because things like “back” and “was” are highlighted regardless of use or context, so I find myself second-guessing on whether the use of these words is correct or if it’s “wrong.” I either go overboard rewording my manuscript in strange ways to avoid the use of these highlighted words and phrases or I go underboard by skipping the highlights as erroneous. Neither is a great way to go about it, but I have to get things done somehow.
I might make use of my publisher’s offer for a consultation, but I don’t know if I’m getting it finally or if I’m getting fed up with it. On the one hand, if I’m getting it that means I used the highlighted words correctly in the first place, but if not that means I’m skipping over a lot of work that I’ll just have to go back and do in the future.
I get that you want to avoid using “had” when there are other options, but what if that’s the word you wanted??
So much to do…I’ll get it done, but I’m concerned that I’m not getting it done “right.” Or am I?
Who knows. I suppose once I get done (I’m only about six chapters in on my revisions) I’ll go back and see how much of what is still “wrong.” If I seem to be lacking in the amount of actual revising I did, I guess it’s consult time. If not, maybe I’m okay. I wish there was an easy way to tell if you’re getting better or not. As it is, I see all these words so neatly color-coded for my review and I start to doubt.
Oh, wait…”neatly” is an adverb. So scratch that. Those are bad. But I guess, according to the color codes, “now” and “then” are considered adverbs. Google confirms this. (Give me a break, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve taken a course on grammar.) So…what if I meant “now,” though? Do I still cut it? Because cutting it in some places is fine, but in others it changes the meaning or emphasis of what I was saying. Ugh.
I guess the above paragraph says it all. I still need the consult. Grr. So much time waiting on these edits to get back, and now I have to push things back even further so I can get remedial up in here.
Don’t get me wrong–there’s a lot of good in this document. It just needs the same polishing that every manuscript needs before being published. A little spit and shine, as it were.
I suppose I’ve digressed long enough. Time to get back to it before I have to get ready for the day job.