2020 Vision

It’s going to be a year of puns and bad dad jokes. You might ask why…Well, I happen to be lucky enough to have a day job at an eye clinic–and it’s fixing to be 2020 all year long.

What’s in store for me for 2020? Let’s see…. Fingers crossed that Book 3 finally starts to behave and I can get it finished. Re-release of WHISPERS OF DEATH, complete with new cover design and revision of the inside text. *Hopefully* completion and release of ESCAPE THE LIGHT (ABNORMAL Book 2). Release of the WICKED SOULS box set in September. Two more box sets. Wait…three. Three more. Which means three more stories to write/edit/etc. And one of those stories may or may not lead in to a novella trilogy. So there’s that on the writing front.

Then, in SCA news, there’s Twelfth Night, which my husband is autocratting and which I have to make 2 undergarments and eleventy thousand buttons for. There will be Estrella War, which I hope to have at least one more outfit made for (and which I’ll finally be able to fight again for!). There are still commissions from 2019 begging to be completed…and who knows what new commissions will come in?

Work-wise (speaking of that eye clinic day job)….that remains to be seen. (Ha-ha) It’s not bad-bad, but it’s becoming…stagnant. That’s a good word for it, I guess. There’s no growth and no hope for improvement, from where I stand, but there’s also no way out, so I guess I’ll be there for the foreseeable future.

I’ve started making lists to keep track of what I need to do for writing and SCA. I’m starting to get helium hand when it comes to agreeing to do shit, and it’s making it hard to get the shit I already have to do done. Let’s hope that 2020 brings better time management, along with the ability to realize that I need to make time for both writing and SCA and that I need to take each into consideration when making agreements for the other. Just because I tend to compartmentalize does not mean my time will compartmentalize itself accordingly and give me the sections of time I need to do all the things.

My goals for 2020? I guess I can lay those out in a neat little list here. Give myself something to look back on and remind myself of:

-Finish Book 3's draft!!!
-Finish edits/revisions on ESCAPE THE LIGHT and WITCHING HOUR: THE STROKE OF THREE
-Draft/edit/revise CONJURING ASYLUM before the Feb 1 deadline
-Finish cotehardie buttons and undergarments (in progress)
-Finish revising WHISPERS OF DEATH and rerelease
-Edit/revise SKIN DEEP
-Draft/edit/revise TO MELT A FROZEN HEART
-Make another apron dress and underdress
-Pare down commission list and complete current commissions before Estrella War, then start getting smart about taking on more
-Teach a couple of classes (in the SCA--not in writing lol)
-INSERT OTHER GOALS AS THEY PRESENT THEMSELVES

It’s a deceptively accomplishable list. I say deceptively because there will inevitably be new opportunities and new commissions to take on. Estrella is only in February, and new writing opportunities are popping up left and right lately. That last goal, the one bold printed in all caps, is the kicker. I don’t yet know what new goals/deadlines will present themselves.

After all, I don’t exactly have 2020 vision.

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

Author and Editor Relationship: Adversarial or Advantageous?

Some authors describe their stories as their “babies” or their “creations”…so what happens when the editor gets hold of said creation and decides it needs sweeping changes?

For many authors, the relationship with an editor can be a love-hate thing. They love getting feedback and learning new things about their writing, but they hate the need to make changes. There are authors who accept the changes with open arms, ready to polish their story to a gleaming shine. Other authors, however, see it as someone trying to gut their story–and who wants their baby gutted?

I’ve had my own experiences with editors, good and bad. The bad experiences were mostly my fault in that I wasn’t willing to make the changes necessary to make my work the best it could be. Do I have regrets about not making those changes? Yes, at times. There are times when I think, “Hmm, should I have done X like the editor wanted, or am I happy with how my original decision worked?” I have doubts to this day about not listening when maybe I should have.

Editors aren’t here to kill our babies. (Okay, so maybe some of them are–I don’t know all the editors out there, obviously.) They’re there to make our stories shine, to give them the best chance they have. They’re there to catch the mistakes that we’re too close to see, to look past the original vision to see where the story needs to go to grow and succeed. Editors are a good thing.

Some authors might disagree with me. They might have had some bad past experiences with editors, or they might think that they’re doing just fine as their own editor. Well, I’ve got some advice for those authors: You remember the adage about “A man who represents himself has a fool for a client” (credit to Abraham Lincoln, via the Internet)–well, the same could be said about the man who edits himself. Yes, we all need to do our due diligence in editing our stories as best we can before submitting to a publisher, but we also should do our best to find an editor who can give our stories the once-over (or twice- or thrice-over, if necessary) that they need. If an author chooses not to find an editor for their story, well, I have little sympathy.

Granted, there are those who simply can’t afford an editor. I was lucky to have a built-in editor in the form of my mom (who has had her own professional editing business in the past), who wouldn’t take payment from me for Whispers of Death. I was lucky to have a critique swap group on Facebook where I could send a few chapters at a time for critique, review, and yes, edits where necessary. But not everyone has these resources. Professional editing services can be expensive, and for the struggling writer it just might not be feasible to hire someone. And that’s okay, but be warned that your story might also not be as successful without that neutral pair of eyes to look over it and see what you’re too close to see.

As I await the first round of edits for Escape the Light, I try to keep this in the forefront of my mind. I don’t have to butt heads with my editors (although I love the editors at RhetAskew, so I don’t think I will). I don’t have to dig in my heels and refuse to budge on something they suggest changing. What I have to do is keep an open mind and try to learn from the experience. I have to be receptive to change and utilize those changes in the manner that best helps the story.

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. ūüėČ 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. ūüėČ

It’s all over when the fat man sings

So maybe it’s not “over” quite yet. I mean, it’s barely 2:00 PM. But the presents have been presented, the family ate breakfast with us, and all-in-all, aside from Christmas dinner at my parents’ house, Christmas is pretty much over. I haven’t even had a full day off from sewing and stuff–my husband just asked how far along I am on the Persian garb. I need to stop being so wicked; no rest, man, no rest at all.

I keep trying to tell myself that after Estrella things will calm down. I’ll have fewer sewing projects, I’ll be able to back away and take a break from SCA events, and I’ll have (theoretically) more time to write. That’s still two months away, though, and I have a crapton of things to do in those two months.

Did I enjoy my Christmas morning? Sure. It was nice having the family over, everyone seemed to love their gifts, and breakfast was tasty. But now, it seems, I don’t know what to do with myself. I could write, sure, but that’s work. So is sewing. And embroidery. I wanted a day¬†off…but it’s not gonna happen. I can see that now.

I’ve been doing a lot of whining as of late. I need to quit that…along with quitting junk food and overeating, and quitting volunteering for all¬†the¬†things, and quitting not going to exercise (though that one will perhaps be the toughest, because I hate exercising in public and the group of friends I work out with now goes to a public gym).

Maybe I can be lazy for another week and save the above paragraph for New Year’s resolutions. Have a big ol’ list of stuff that I’m going to quit or give up or start or start back up. Who knows. I kinda hate resolutions, too. I tend to not get them done if they’re anything associated with me losing weight or getting healthier. The writing ones? Yeah, I can do those. Cosplay goals? If I can lose the weight, I can usually manage. It’s kind of a matter of how hard I want it, or how hard Thing X is. If Thing X is writing, I got this. If Thing X is getting on a treadmill to have half the town watch my fat jiggle, well, Thing X might not be a resolution I’d keep.

What will 2019 bring me? It’ll bring me age 40, hopefully around the time Escaping¬†the¬†Light hits shelves. That would be an awesome birthday present. Forty years old and a three-time published novelist, with two of them traditionally/indie published and one self-published. Yeah. A published sequel will be great for the midlife crisis. Maybe I can become a shut-in when I’m not at work and just churn out novels for the next, say, twenty to twenty-five years. Hit the Golden Years with a bunch of series and standalones.

It’s nice to dream, anyway…

Free? I’ll buy that!

In honor of the three-year anniversary of the release of Whispers of Death (and Abnormal’s first appearance at a con), I’m making the Kindle version of Whispers of Death free for five days!

That’s right, starting tomorrow, you can get Whispers of Death here for free on your Kindle app or Kindle device.

I’ve been giving so much love and hype to Abnormal that I feel like Whispers of Death should get some love, too. Besides, as my first finished novel, Whispers of Death deserves a good amount of respect. A lot of time, energy, and tears went into that book.

If you dig supernatural thrillers and are looking for a fresh read, check out Whispers of Death, free from October 31, 2018 to November 4, 2018. ūüôā

Back in the deep end

Well, after a self-imposed “week off” from serious book promoting, I’m back in deep. I’ve downloaded a few podcast apps to help me narrow down my searches for podcasts to contact to talk about¬†Abnormal. (My Google-fu when it comes to podcasts is dismally unhelpful.) I’ve started contacting podcasts that might be willing to listen to me blather on about¬†Abnormal. I’ve got a list. Lists are always good, right?

Still trying to get over my frustration with finding influencers to market to. I think the podcast-finding apps will help a bit, but I’ll still have to do the “legwork” of searching each podcast, contacting them, and waiting, waiting, waiting. A few have responded with negatories, but at least it’s a response.

Book 2 is in the hands of a couple of alpha readers, hopefully to be returned in the next couple of weeks with notes on where to finesse it before I send it back to RhetAskew in November. I’ll be really glad to get that off to the publisher, because it’s the next step in getting another book published (and it’ll be another big personal accomplishment as well).¬†

As late as five or six years ago, I thought I’d never have enough “story” in my head to write a whole novel.¬†Whispers of Death started with a series of microfiction that I wrote many, many years ago. I thought hey, I can make this into something.¬† It went through many alterations and morphed into something completely different, but those microfictions were the brainchild of¬†Whispers. At first I was overambitious and aimed for a trilogy, but in the end I decided to make it a one-shot. Nearly three years ago, that one-shot was self published on Amazon.

Within months of finishing¬†Whispers of Death, I started on¬†Abnormal. It was a strange start to a novel: I came up with the title first, then built from there. Yeah, this new series–and it¬†will be a series–started with a single word bouncing around in my noggin.

So weird. I had a fully-formed concept for Whispers but no title, no character names, nada. Now I have a fuller-formed concept based on a word. Just one. Little. Word.

The moral of this rambling blog post? Don’t give up. It might take you a few years. You might have to revisit your old writing for inspiration. Hell, you might just need the right word or words to pop into your head to get you started. But don’t quit. Whatever you do, don’t quit.

You can do it. I have faith in you. If I can, you can. Just try.

Covering all the bases

It’s gotten to that time in the publishing process: meeting with the cover designer and discussing concepts.
It’s tough as an artist to let someone else take the wheel when it comes to designing the cover for my book. I hand-painted the cover for WHISPERS OF DEATH and then scanned and tweaked it in Photoshop myself. Did all the formatting for the Createspace printing and the Kindle cover. Did the same thing for Kamikaze Butterflies (only that one was all digital). I even made my own “covers” for the ebook/Kindle only stories and compilations. But now? Now I have to put my labor of love into someone else’s hands.
Not that I’m having problems…. the crew at Rhetoric Askew is great, and they listen to their authors. I don’t just get whatever cover they want; I get to have input and convey my opinions. It’s cool, but yeah, I guess I’m more of a control freak than I realized.
Time is ticking towards the release date. So. Damn. Close. I can’t tell you how close yet, but it’s soon.
Getting published before 40 when I just started writing novels a few years ago is a pretty exciting thing. I hope that Book 2 and the subsequent books in the series are just as good as Abnormal is going to be.
Don’t worry. You’ll get to see it in due time. ūüėČ

The long road ahead

Got my critique back on Book 1 of my series….*sigh* Lots of work to do.
I knew I had a lot of “telling,” exposition, wordiness, and adverbs, so those comments weren’t surprising, but I still don’t quite know how to¬†fix the issues. Some pacing issues that I was kind of aware of as well, some that I hadn’t noticed…and a few chapters of different POV that I¬†thought necessary but the readers, not so much. So now I have to also figure out how to convey that info–which my main character has¬†no way of knowing until the end–without switching points of view. Fuck.
It’ll all be worth it in the end, I know, but¬†damn. I’m kind of overwhelmed. Some of the “problems” are part of my personal style, so I have to get into a different mindset to write it “right,” but some of them are things that flustered me to start with and are just beyond my current ability–or maybe just my current confidence–to fix.
The POV thing is really bugging me. I tried to throw in some politics and intrigue and plotting but now what do I do with it? Chuck it all? If I do that, the ending makes¬†no¬†sense. None. It comes out of left field without the snippets of the antagonist’s POV. Hell, the antagonist comes out of left field without them. Although apparently the ending needs a lot of work, too….
There’s a lot of rereading and revising and rereading and brainstorming and crying and tearing my hair out and revising and cursing and… Yeah. It’s like that.
Well, maybe I should take it in stages. Chapter by chapter? Issue by issue? Do I attack the exposition first then the adverbs then the pacing? Ugh. So much all at once. With Whispers of Death, not only was I self-publishing but I was also getting critiques a chapter or two at a time. So it was much less overwhelming as far as fixes go.
I can do this. I have to tell myself that. I can do this. It might take a while, it might take a lot of work, but I can do it. I also have to remind myself that I’m¬†way ahead of schedule as far as where I wanted to be when I made my “new year’s resolution.” I thought it was a reasonable goal to have the first draft of Book 1 finished by the end of the year. Now it’s 2/3 of the way through the year and I’m on like draft 6 or 7 or something crazy like that, plus draft 1 of Book 2 with a few ideas on where to go with Book 3. So I have that going for me.
I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this….