WIPpet Wednesday: Not Even Here Edition

That’s right, I’m not here. I mean, I am… but I’m not at home. I’m still going to try to get to everyone’s posts this week. I got through 16 last week before things got crazy. I’m going to try for everyone this time, even if it takes all week.

So where am I? Halfway across the province, visiting my parents so I can a) visit my parents, and b) sign the books they’re taking with them when they go to visit the rest of the family in Ontario next month.

books

Bad lighting = bad picture. Sorry.

I’m still waiting on most of my order from CreateSpace, but Amazon got other people’s orders to them quickly, so that’s fine. JUST FINE. -_- *

Turns out signing books is awkward. I don’t know what to write. And now I’ve learned that “personalized” doesn’t mean that I lick the spine to mark the book as my territory.

Someone should really get this information out there.

TO THE WIPPETORIUM!

Okay, math… Today is the 23rd. 2+3=5 paragraphs from the scene I was working on a few nights ago. We’re back to Rowan and Aren here (yay!), and she’s referring to someone who readers should recognize from the end of book one who’s not a big fan of Aren.

Man, it’s hard to not be spoilery. -_-

This is mid-scene. I just completely re-wrote this, so it’s a little rough. Aren’s POV, starts with Rowan speaking.

 

“She’s warming to you.”

I snorted. “You’re the second person who’s tried to tell me that, and I’m no closer to believing it than I was months ago.”

“It’s true. She doesn’t speak badly of you any more. I don’t think she’s forgiven you for things that happened in the past, but she finds you useful, and I think she’s stopped worrying about you using certain talents.”

“That really doesn’t make me feel better. A young dragon is less fearsome if its fire is doused and its teeth pulled, but then what does it have left?”

“You still have your claws.” She stood and pressed her body against mine, flashing that wicked little grin that always set my blood surging. I rested my hand on her hip and gripped the fabric of her cloak. It slid without resistance against the smooth skin beneath. “I like your claws.”

For anyone not in the know, WIPpet Wednesday is when we share a short snippet from a work in progress that relates to the day’s date. If you’d like to join in at your own blog space with 23 lines from chapter 7, seven paragraphs from page 23, or whatever else you’d like to work out, have at it! Link up here, and be sure to stop in and say hi at everyone else’s blogs. Thanks to monkey mistress KL Schwengel for hosting.

 

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*One of my boxes finally came yesterday, over a week late. Still waiting on most of the order. But I will say that CreateSpace customer service was amazing once I got past my phone-related anxiety and called them. If you ever call and talk to Jeimy, be nice. She’s swell. And anyone who’s waiting on signed copies… I’m sorry. We’re working on it.


ROW80 Update- Falling off the Cliff Edition

Not literally. It’s just my first book‘s last few days of eligibility for Hot New Release lists on Amazon.com. My poor baby is going to feel the sting of being replaced by newer and younger books.

Le sigh.

But what the hell, right? It’s been an awesome run. I didn’t expect to see it on this list. Or here.

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Or here. I am keeping this screenshot FOREVER.

Maybe its spot in a couple of sub-category best-seller lists will keep it afloat for a while. I actually have no idea how that usually works out, long-term. I’m torn between sharing EVERYTHING here in the interest of getting potentially helpful information out there for other writers, and just staying all shut-up because someone’s going to come along and say, “PFFT. IT’S JUST A COUPLE OF SUB-CATEGORIES, GET A LIFE, ROOKIE.”

It’s major for me. These little victories don’t take away the crippling self-doubt that most writers seem to struggle with, but they’re really nice.

Thanks again to everyone who’s read, reviewed, shared the book with friends, and offered support and encouragement in the past month. I hope I’ll see you all at the next release party. :)

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Okay, update.

Goals were here, and right now mainly focus on getting Torn whipped into shape for readers and then my editor. Good news: I’m 1/3 of the way through. Bad news: Subtracting family vacation time (I’m going to go nuts if I can’t work, I swear), that leaves about 4 weeks to get through the other 70K+ words, which includes two new scenes and full re-writes of others, plus heavy revisions.

I can do this. I just hope my dear husband finds it in his heart to accept my frequent absences when I disappear to my office*. I also hope I can figure out how to not be distracted by social media, etc., which is my writing Kryptonite. The distraction, I mean, not social media specifically. If I didn’t have that, it would be something else. I don’t have ADD, but I definitely have CFF (Can’t F%$*ing Focus… not the Canadian Fencing Federation).

Once I get working, I’m fine for a good 20 minutes or so. It’s just settling into it that’s hard. That, and the kids hanging off of me, the Barbie doll chatting in my ear about how she’s the Salt Queen now, the rest of the “Are you done yet? Now? How about now?”

I feel like this is the main benefit of an office job. And I still don’t particularly want to work with a publisher, but I think my deadlines might carry more weight with people if I could say they came from somewhere other than me and the promise I made to readers. It’s a little frustrating.

Anyway. I’m pretty well on schedule, and that’s the important thing.

For anyone who doesn’t know, ROW80 is a writing challenge that lets you set your own flexible goals for each round. More information here. And if you’d like to check out some other people’s posts, click here! Join in any time at your own blog space if you feel so inclined.

In other news, I’m considering dropping out of this challenge. I’m not sure these posts are anything but boring for you guys, and they take time away from actual writing (my perfectionist tendencies and paranoia about how much to say about things have made this post take an hour and a half to write). Maybe I’ll just leave Sundays open for something fun and keep Wednesdays strictly WIPpetish. We’ll see.

Now. Back to work.

Wait, no. The kids are up. Later…

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*It’s easy enough to find me. Down to basement, hang a left past the litter box ghetto. It’s the spot with the desk and the dragons and the crazy person.


The Greatest Find of Them All

We’ve had some fun here before with cheap toys I’ve found at bargain/dollar stores. Fakie ponies with stolen My Little Pony box art, Barbie rip-offs that look like drunken floozies, questionable propositions from Engrish packaging.

But nothing prepared me for this.

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Frans Tromers. Dark of the Moon.

Guys, seriously. FRANS TROMERS.

This is the single most glorious, not-a-#$@&-was-given-that-day, up-yours-trademark-holders, why-the-hell-not ripoffery I’ve witnessed since that pony with two generations of stolen Hasbro box art.

Frans wins the toy wars. He came home with me.

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That’s right. I own a mint in box Frans Tromer. I’m that cool.


Bound (Bound Trilogy #1) by Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes:

Lovely review of Bound from Teri Polen!

Originally posted on teripolen:

Welcome to Darmid, where magic is a sin, fairy tales are contraband, and the people live in fear of the 22371104Sorcerers on the other side of the mountains.

Rowan Greenwood has everything she’s supposed to want from life—a good family, a bright future, and a proposal from a handsome and wealthy magic hunter. She knows she should be content with what she has. If only she could banish the idea that there’s more to life than marriage and children, or let go of the fascination with magic she’s been forced to suppress since childhood.

When Rowan unknowingly saves the life of one of her people’s most feared enemies, that simple act of compassion rips her from her sheltered life and throws her into a world of magic that’s more beautiful, more seductive, and more dangerous than she ever could have imagined.

Rowan might get everything she ever dreamed of—that is…

View original 274 more words


Wednesday Shenanigans

It looks like it’s Wednesday again! For anyone just joining us (hello, there!), this means two things: a ROW80 update, and WIPpet Wednesday. Both are blog events that are open to all. One’s a great help for procuctivity/accountability (both of which I’m in desperate need of at the moment), and one is just buckets of fun.

Let’s start with the fun, shall we?

WIPpet Wednesday

Let’s see… math. WIPpet Wednesday is when we share a snippet of a work in progress that relates somehow to the day’s date. I have to be careful about what I share right now (spoilers!), but I think I’ve got something that will work, if I can make it fit…

I’m taking the 16th and chopping it in half… because this is from book 2 of the Bound Trilogy, and because I said so. I’ve been teasing a little with short WIPpets lately, so here’s something a little longer. Eight paragraphs.

This character was abducted (well… more like conscripted) by a group of soldiers, and while she was trying to figure out how to escape, someone set off a dragon flare in the woods that attracted a big, flying fire-breather. It helped her escape, but she’s none too pleased with the methods these strangers used to rescue her…

 

“That was incredibly stupid,” I said to the three of them, who had just caught up with me. The woman led them, a stunning creature with clear skin the color of my morning’s tea with just a drop or two of cream in it. She didn’t speak, but kept her gray-green eyes trained on me without fear or concern for propriety. A huntress, and certainly not from the northern provinces.

I slowed my horse to a walk and patted his neck. He was beautiful, a fine traveling companion and better quality than any nag we’d had when I was growing up. The woman rode ahead of me, the men behind. “Did you not know what that stick was before you lit it?” I asked. “Or was it your mission to kill us all?”

My voice remained smooth and level, though inwardly I trembled with apprehension. The soldiers had been bad, but at least I knew what they wanted.

One of the men rode up beside me. He appeared healthy, in spite of his pale complexion, and was handsome enough in a pampered sort of way. Not someone who spent his life toiling outdoors, then. But he appeared strong, if lean, and rode with the same proper form as the soldiers. He could have been one of them, had he the right weapons and uniform. “We knew what it was,” he said. “We needed a distraction.”

“I’d say you got what you wanted, then.” I let out a little laugh, as though the whole situation amused me. Best to not show fear, or how frustrated I was becoming with the whole damned day.

He glared at me. “It worked. I don’t see any ropes binding your wrists or soldiers chasing you.”

He seemed to expect some show of gratitude. I wasn’t going to show anything until I found out what he and his friends wanted with me. People don’t try to help unless they want something. “I would have been fine without you. I’m quite capable of handling myself.”

The muscles in his firm jaw clenched as he gritted his teeth. May a windwyvern piss on my head if you ever find me a joy to converse with, I thought. His very presence irritated me for reasons that seemed just beyond my mind’s reach.

 

Ho-ho.

*cracks knuckles*

Check out what the rest of the WIPpeteers are up to here, and if you have a blog and a work in progress, join in! Super special thanks to KL Schwengel for hosting.

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ROW80 Update

A Round of Words in 80 Days is a writing challenge that lets you set your own goals. I set mine here. Time to check in.

I stalled for a few days, but I think I’ve figured out what the problem was. Sometimes a scene is intimidating because it has to do so much, and it has to make it all look effortless. I’m working on one of those scenes right now. Planning is what I needed, and it’s what I’m doing.

It’s gonna be goooood. There were a few hiccups in the last draft, a few things that fell flat or might have disappointed people, but I’m SO ON IT NOW.

So the goals have not changed. Third draft revisions on Torn continue. Time is the biggest challenge right now. I need to average two scenes a day if I’m going to have this thing ready to go to beta readers in September, and right now that’s just not happening. Most scenes need partial or full rewrites, and between the kids being home and… well, the kids being home, I’m not getting the time I need.

Still working on the whole “getting up early” thing. I slept right through my alarm this morning because the fan drowned it out. Note to self: turn up the ringer volume on the my phone tonight.

Going to try for a few hours this afternoon if I can find something to keep the boys occupied, and I AM going to get up and work tomorrow.

Just need to get that momentum going again.

(And guys? This one’s going to be so good…)


Writing Process Blog Hop: Evolution

I was tagged by the lovely, talented, blogtastic Melissa Janda (hello!) to participate in the writing process blog hop, where we write a post about our own process, then tag three other writers to participate. I admit, I have declined this one in the past because I worried I wouldn’t find anyone to tag who hadn’t done it yet. Thanks to a group I’m in on Facebook, I’ve met some more authors, and here we are.

YAY!

Interesting note: I picked my topic before I read Melissa’s. I pretty well could have copied and pasted hers for mine… but I won’t. :)

 

 MY WRITING PROCESS

I wonder whether I’ll ever get to a place where my process is stable, just a regular thing that happens. So far, it’s been all over the place.

There was the ideas-and-that’s-all phase, when I knew I had just the BEST ideas for books that would totally be best-sellers if only I could find the time to write them. I could daydream with the best of them, playing stories through my mind like movies. I thought I had writing talent (people had said so, hadn’t they?), but with depression and a job and a sleep disorder and… well, I never did it.

That was not a good phase. Sure, the imagination exercise was important, but I wish someone had told me that ideas are a dime a dozen, as common as cliches. It’s what you do with them that matters. And “talent” means absolutely nothing without hard work. I’d say the work is more important. Talent is highly overrated, and none of us are as talented as we think we are.

I kind of want to slap past me sometimes.

Then came the trying-to-get-it-right phase, in which I tried to write stories, but my perfectionism pulled up a chair beside me for every session and whispered horrible things to me. You can read more about that here. Essentially what was happening is that she (don’t ask why my perfectionism is a she) had me convinced that I had to get it right on the first try, or I wasn’t a good writer. There was no room for revision. The thought of someone critiquing my work horrified me. No, it had to be perfect before I showed it to anyone.

Maybe it’s obvious to you what happened, but I’ll say it anyway. I wrote first chapters. I wrote a few short stories. And I gave up when they weren’t perfect. I re-wrote those first chapters until I got sick of the stories or lost hope of ever finishing them. I tossed short stories in a drawer, never to be seen again.

Learning experiences, right?

Then came the children, and more (and worse) depression, and exhaustion like I’d never known before, and the writing stopped. I didn’t write anything for about three years save for fat journals that I’m a little scared to read over now.

Next stage: Salvation.

That might be putting it just a little dramatically, but that’s what it felt like at the time, and still does. I learned that the only way I can finish a book is to just write the damned thing without editing as I go, without second-guessing myself. Momentum is the key, and thanks to NaNoWriMo, I finished writing a novel draft in… seven months.

Okay, it’s not exactly the “novel in a month” that we’re supposed to be aiming for, but I had found a method that worked. I mean, the first draft was shit, but it was something I could work with. I learned that you can’t revise what you haven’t written, and until the story is laid out on paper, I can’t see its flaws.

In the 3.5 years since that first NaNoWriMo, my writing process has evolved in great, confusing leaps. I plan more now, but still need three drafts before I’m comfortable sending a larger, more complex work to readers. Two for a novella, so far. Then more revisions. Then edits.

No, I’m not of the “just throw it out there and see if it sticks, and do better with the next book” school of thought. Only my best work makes it out there, and that’s something that’s not likely to change. So though I’ve learned to tell Perfectionism to shut up during early drafts, she still has work to do around the office.

THE BIG BUMP

A few weeks ago, my process got jostled just a little with the launch of Bound.

I told myself that releasing a book was not a big deal. Well, it was to me, and to my friends and family, and you lovely people who have been waiting for it. But I thought we’d party and go home, and things would be quiet, and I’d get right back to work on the second book. I didn’t have big plans for promotions, didn’t want to pimp this book until I had more to offer.

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Yeah, I got thrown off.

Things went a little better than I’d expected, and I found myself compulsively checking sales and Amazon rankings. I hid under the bed in fear instead of retreating to my editing cave like I should have.

BUT. I do have a deadline now, and I need to get back to work. For anyone interested, here’s what the process for my current WIP looks like:

  • Draft one: November and December 2012 (80K words, just getting the story out)
  • Draft two: November 2013 (find flaws, improve the story)
  • Draft three: July and August 2014 (approximately 105K words. Kick the story up SO MANY NOTCHES*. Rewrite/revise each character’s POV scenes separately to maintain flow and voice. Aren’s up next… Eek!)
  • To readers September 2014
  • Revisions October/November 2014
  • To Editor end of November
  • Edits: January
  • Proofing: Early February

After that, it’s publishing mechanics (formatting, cover art, etc). This is an ideal timeline, of course, and I’m sure something will come up to thwart my best-laid plans. But that’s what the process looks like for me right now.

So there you go. That was… lengthy. But maybe you found something that will inspire or encourage you.

LINKAGE

So now I have the pleasure of introducing you to the three writers I’m tagging for this blog hop. I met these fine humans through the Indie Author Group on Facebook (which is a fabulous resource, and blessedly promo-free). Stop by their blogs, say hello, make a new friend! They’ll be posting their writing process stuff on the 21st, but they all have blogs that are up and running right now.

Sabrina Giles is a Paranormal Romance author (expanding into other genres with her works in progress) who blogs at sabrinagiles.wordpress.com. Her novel Ensuing Darkness is available now at Amazon and Smashwords.

Mariella Hunt blogs at Baiting the Muse Trap (mariellahunt.com). She will be publishing her YA Urban Fantasy novel Dissonance and a collection of short stories this year.

Sabrina McClure is a new, indie author who writes paranormal & mystery novels. She blogs at authorsabrinamcclure.wordpress.com. Her debut novel Hades Sent is available now.

 

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*This is why I don’t release early drafts. Even if they’re “good enough,” I know that they could by so much better.


A Beautiful Day to Visit the Edge of the World

According to the Flat Earth Society*, the four corners of the world are located in Hydra (Greece), Paupa New Guinea, the Bermuda Triangle, and Fogo, Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada).

The ferry to Fogo island is less than an hour’s drive from our home, so obviously we had to make the trip. What’s life without a little adventure? And what’s the point of living this close to the edge of the world if you can’t be bothered to visit and pay your respects?

This post is going to be pic heavy, but I hope you enjoy the journey.

The road to Farewell (where the ferry docks) is about half-way between the highways to Twillingate and to Gander, branching up off of the cross-bar in that drunken H-shape. It’s a pretty drive, with typical Newfoundland scenery (rugged landscapes, ponds, trees) and the typical Newfoundland need to watch for moose. There’s not a lot to do while you wait for the ferry, unless you like tossing rocks in the water or looking at seaweed.

In other words, my family was sitting pretty.

Oooooh!

Oooooh!

The ferry itself is… well, it’s a working ferry, not a cruise ship. There’s a non-functional cafeteria, a few snack machines, the party closet I mentioned yesterday, lots of room to get inside if it’s raining, washroom facilities, and a 360 degree view of beautiful ocean and islands.

And crazy people.

Rawr.

Rawr.

Fogo island is beautiful. It’s not what you’d call lush, though at this time of year the trees are leafy and the wildflowers beside the road are in full bloom. The landscape in Newfoundland tends toward rugged rockiness, with geological features popping up everywhere you look. My favourites are “erratics”: boulders left strewn across the landscape by retreating glaciers. Also big, rocky hills that were once much taller mountains.

"The landscapes tend toward a certain landscapiness." -Why I'm not a tour guide

“The landscapes tend toward a certain landscapiness.” -Why I’m not a tour guide

So, Brimstone head. The CORNER OF THE WORLD for some reason I can’t quite figure out. But whatever! Here’s our first glimpse of it:

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See those stairs? Thank goodness for those! There are several places where you still have to scramble over rocks, but the stairs are helpful.

And plentiful.

And plentiful.

The view from the bottom:

Told you there were wildflowers!

Told you there were wildflowers!

…and from half-way up:

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ICEBERGS

It’s a long walk, and not an easy one if you’re not used to climbing all the stairs. But the view from the top is definitely worth the effort.

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The walk back down is easier…

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…though the stairs are still a wee bit intimidating if you’re clumsy and your legs are feeling a little wobbly from the climb.

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So that’s it. That’s Brimstone head. Okay, one more look from the top:

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I have more to share from our day on Fogo, but that can wait. Thanks for joining us! Every time I took a picture, I couldn’t wait to share it with you guys. :)

(Those who follow me on Twitter got the live show, complete with ancient safety instructions, Big D’s jumbo sausages, and more fun. It’s all still here, at least until it gets shoved down by my ramblings.)

 

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*I really have no idea how seriously they take this. But it looks like the answer is “pretty darned,” at least for some.


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