Tag Archives: fear

Pleases and Thank Yous and OMG A BOOK: ROW80 goals post, round 2

So this goals post is a week late. I said last Sunday that I was putting it off because of my surgical thinger on Monday (UPDATE: everything is fine, general anaesthesia is creepy, painkillers are kind of fun but I’m off of them now). That was true, but it wasn’t all of it. I was waiting to get stuff back from my editor, and I wanted to make sure his evaluation wasn’t going to be KILL IT NOW WITH FIRE AND EXTREME PREJUDICE before I made goals public.

Wouldn’t want to have to retract my goals now, would I?

Anyway…

This has the potential to be a huge round for me. I’m not going to lie, I might need you all to talk me down from an 8th-floor window ledge at least once, assuming I can find a building anywhere around here with eight floors.

Why? Because this round covers April 7 to June 26, and depending on how things go… no promises just yet… I might just have a book out by the end of this round.

LIKE A BOOK AN ACTUAL BOOK I MIGHT BE HOLDING MY WORDS IN MY HANDS IN LESS THAN THREE MONTHS HOLY CARP.*

Pictured: Holy Carp.

Pictured: Holy Carp.

I got the edits back, and they’re exactly what I had hoped for. My guy is a master of the “sh*t sandwich” technique. No punches pulled on things that need improvement, but some of what he said was so encouraging that I fell asleep smiling the night I got and read the (20 page) critique. When I read the line notes, I spent equal amounts of time slapping my forehead over silly little mistakes and grinning like an idiot because he totally got what I was going for so much of the time.

I’ll do a post on this experience later, because it was so interesting.

The important thing is that he had ideas on how to fix problems I already knew existed, and came up with suggestions that are really going to push this thing up to a whole ‘nother level.

I’m both excited and pants-crappingly terrified. It’s… different.

So what are we looking at over the next few months? A THRILLING roller-coaster of me working on that in a most professional manner and handling all of my other plans and responsibilities with the grace and aplomb of Martha Stewart organizing a dinner party, obviously.

*snerk*

But seriously. Professionalism is this round’s goal. Distance. This isn’t my baby anymore. It’s a product, and if I have anything to say about it, it’ll be a damned good one. I know I’m insecure about a lot of things, but I’m absolutely confident about that.

So, the goals. Please note that these could change and things could get pushed back. But:

APRIL:

  • Edit Bound (pray for me, send happy thoughts, whatever. Please. I’m new at this.)
  • Write back-cover copy (SOMEBODY SAVE ME)
  • set up Facebook author page, change personal account name for consistency
  • hire proof-reader (anyone know someone cheap? I’m pretty well out of cash)
  • find reviewers who might be interested in YA Fantasy (again, if you know anyone, or are someone and want an ARC, see below)
  • put together front-matter and back-matter for the book, metadata, keywords, etc

MAY:

  • finish edits
  • send out newsletter with release date, cover reveal date, preview, and request for readers willing to review ARCs in exchange for a free copy (sign-ups here, if you’re DTR**)
  • Formatting (kill me now)
  • cover reveal here and on other blogs, if anyone wants to assist… *puppy dog eyes*
  • apply for ISBNs
  • submit to CreateSpace, order proof copy, correct all the things
  • Prepare for awesome-yet-smallish Facebook release party (you’re coming, right?)
  • Add to Goodreads, set up give-away
  • revisions on book 2 (we’ll call this a stretch goal)

JUNE:

  • Upload to Amazon, Smashwords
  • LAUNCH THIS THING *smashes champagne bottle on Kindle*
  • Release party
  • mood swings, morning after regret, probable IBS
  • Draft book three for JuNoWriMo if revisions on 2 are done. Otherwise, keep up with that and get to book 3 later.

 

This timeline terrifies me. I’ve been 100% sure I wanted to publish independently for almost a year, but the traditional-minded part of me is still screaming “YOU CAN’T DO IT THAT QUICKLY! SO WRONG!” I’m still amazed when I see authors post things like, “Well, finished a draft, guess I’ll release next month.”

Um… *hides under table*

Time to stop wussing out, though. This is my job now. As entrepreneurial ventures go, it’s a risky one. I just have to learn to be OK with that.

Now, before things get too crazy, I think I should take a minute to thank all of you. My WIPpeteers, my blog friends, my real-life friends who care and have encouraged me and put up with my “should-I-or-shouldn’t-I” crap, and especially those who have read my stuff… you’re all the reason I’m going ahead with this. Your love and encouragement have meant the world to me, and have given me the confidence to follow this dream. You’ve convinced me that this is a gamble that’s going to pay off (in satisfaction and experience, even if not in cash). Your advice and assistance have brought me this far. So thank you.

 

Anything else y’all think I should be doing to get ready?

Oh, and if you need to reach me privately about anything, my contact info is in the “About Me” tab.

 

*Not written like this. You’re welcome.

**Down to read.

 

 

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How I Met the Thorny Devil (and Escaped Unscathed)

That’s right. I encountered something called a Thorny Devil. It was large, and leggy. I interrupted it when it was trying to boff its unwilling mate, and I lived to tell the tale. All of which is to say that I went to the Newfoundland Insectarium with my mother and kids, and it was amazing. Care to join us for a tour? Good.

Confession: I wasn’t planning a blog post while we were there, I was just having fun. So if the photos are somewhat lacking, you know why. If you’d like to see more and better photos with less of me in them, click here for the official photo gallery.

The insectarium is in Deer Lake, NL, otherwise known as Too Dang Far From My House. This was only my second chance to visit, but I’m hoping for another trip next summer.

Because did I mention AMAZING?

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You walk in, and there are a couple of displays in glass cubes– one of beautiful beetles (beetiful beautles?) and one of butterflies. Then it’s OMGHOLYCRAPGIFTSHOP! But that’s not why we’re here. No, get your face off of the glass, you’re leaving nose-prints. You can stop on the way out.

Some of you (heck, most of you) might not like many bugs, but you probably don’t mind butterflies so much, so here’s hoping they’re what shows up in your WordPress Reader previews. The butterfly house is our first stop. It’s warm, it’s so humid that your camera lens fogs up, and it’s downright magical.

This little guy was totally flirting with me.

This little guy was totally flirting with me.

Photo courtesy of Wendy Lowden, because this guy wouldn't sit still for me.

Photo courtesy of Wendy Lowden, because this little beauty wouldn’t sit still for me.

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There were TONS of butterflies, because they’d got a late (accidental) shipment. Yay!

So then, up the stairs. Alllll the way up to the second level, where we find the main display level. Most of the insects up there are dead and mounted, but there’s a fascinating glassed-in bee colony, where you can watch the little buzzers doing their dances.

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The mounted displays are incredible… I wish I’d thought to get more pictures. Next time! There are butterflies and moths, beetles with massive “horns” and jaws, stick bugs and jewellery made from insects…

(Sorry- my computer refuses to turn this picture the right way around and save it. Curse you, Picasa!)

(Sorry- my computer refuses to turn this picture the right way around and save it. Curse you, Picasa!)

Oh, and some live insects, too.

We were fortunate to be the only people visiting, so we had a chance to speak to a few of the people who work there, and one of them offered to let us hold the stick bugs.

There, you can see some of the butterfly displays behind me.

There, you can see some of the mounted displays behind me.

That little guy was so light, I could hardly feel him on my hand, and he just kind of laid there like… well, like a stick. Good job, little bug!

The next ones he (the guy, not the stick bug) took out were called “Thorny Devils,” which apparently are also known as Marijuana bugs for the scent they produce when they’re agitated. They’re a lot scarier-looking than the skinny little stick insects, but the guy got one out, so I asked if I could hold it.

BIG bug. Heavy bug. Kinda creepy, very interesting. I’m not going to lie and say I was completely comfortable with this girl’s scratchy little claws digging into my skin and her boyfriend waving his feelers at me (yes, I held both) but I’m glad I did it.

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That’s right, I can hold one of those, but a little house centipede makes me freeze and squeal like an injured puppy. THAT, apparently, is where I draw the line.

Side note: this one (the big female) was missing a leg, which led to a discussion of how insect matings aren’t generally gentle or consensual. I said, “Like ducks?” This was the first time I ever surprised and impressed someone with that bit of knowledge (he was just going to say, “like ducks.”) I don’t expect this to ever happen again, but hey, it was special. IT WAS A MOMENT, YOU GUYS.

This level also houses the leaf-cutter ant colony, which I find fascinating. See those green dots on the log in the middle? Those are ants carrying cut-up leaves back to their colony, where they feed it to the fungus they then harvest and eat.

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Guys, THE ANTS ARE FARMERS.

Wow.

You know, I kind of don’t want to post pictures of the tarantulas, since we’re having so much fun here, and I know some of you don’t like spiders. Hmm… I’ll tell you what: no hard feelings if you want to leave now and go back down to that lovely gift shop to wait for the rest of us. I’m heading upstairs to see the Very Large and Hairy Arachnids, which are kept on the third floor for the benefit of those who don’t want to see them. For those of you leaving us now, thanks for coming along!

Stop by the comments (um… just scroll down REALLYREALLYFAST) and tell me about the scariest thing you did this week, whether it actually frightened you, or just stretched you outside of your comfort zone. Heck, even if it’s just looking at the pictures down there, tell me about it!

For those of you brave enough to take a peek, scroll down…

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“Hellooooooo, ladies!”

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They have eight live tarantulas in all… if you’re into that.

Thanks for coming along! Hope you had fun. If you’re ever in Western Newfoundland, I highly recommend a live visit. For more information, including seasonal closures and hours, click here!


Blog Challenge Day 4: Deepest Darkest

Happy Independence Day to my American friends! May we never forget the victory of the human will (Smith, and also Jeff Goldblum) over alien forces. That’s it, right? I may have learned American history from movies… 😉

blog challenge

Hoo, boy.

What am I afraid of? Lots of things. Failure. Success. Regret.

But more than anything, I fear… THIS:

If you are, at this moment, screaming and trying to gouge your own eyes out and wondering what I just showed you, count yourself lucky, as this means you’ve never encountered the BASEMENT CENTIPEDE.

Hang on, I need to put some space between myself and that picture before I type any more.

*shudder*

*shiver*

*whimper*

*scream*

*gag*

*shudder more*

There we go.  Hang on…

*NGAAAAAAHHHHHHFLURGL*

OK, it’s gone. Anyway, that’s it. It’s completely irrational. I’ve never been harmed by one of these reclusive creatures, and I’m told they’re beneficial. How? I don’t know, because any time someone tries to tell me, I plug my ears and sing “la la la la la” until whoever is talking just gives me The Look and backs away.

I don’t mind spiders. Beetles sometimes startle me in the garden, but I actually think they’re pretty cool. I can catch a mouse or a snake if I have to and relocate it.

But basement centipedes (or gazillipedes, as they’re known in my brain)… just no. Nothing should have that many skinny little legs. Seriously, the first time I saw one it was in a bathtub, and it looked like a drain clog had come to life, fueled by my own nightmares.

Did I mention that these things move at a speed that can be measured in feet per second, and their legs move in waves?

NOT COOL, NATURE.

Not cool.

PS: I also have a horrible fear of using the telephone, but I don’t want to talk about it right now.


Back to the Drawing Board?

Not quite. But I’m doing something I said I was done with.

Revisions on Bound.

Not editing. Not perking up scenes that aren’t quite there yet. I mean actually ignoring everything that’s already there, going back to square one and figuring out the best way to tell this story, and THEN seeing whether anything can be salvaged from the original.

This is terrifying. I thought I was done with that. I thought I had my story, that it was just clean-up from this point on. After all, people have liked it, right? Some have even loved it. So it’s good enough.

The thing is, good enough isn’t good enough. I can do better. No matter how it hurts, I’m going to make this thing the best it can be. If that means “killing my darlings,” ripping out scenes that I’ve spent so much time and effort on but that don’t contribute to the best work I can do, then so be it. If it means that I don’t feel ready for this thing to see the light of day for another 6 months… well, that will hurt a lot, too. But I’m not doing this to get published (even though, hello, that’s a huge dream of mine). I’m doing it to tell a story, and what’s the point of putting it out there if it’s only good enough?

It can be tighter. It can be sharper. The stakes can be higher. Everything can mean more to my characters, and therefore to my readers.

I’ve complained before about my perfectionist tendencies, but I think that right now my old frenemy Perfectionism is doing me a favour. As long as she’s not making me feel terrible for not getting it “right” the first time (which she totally will, but I’m used to that), she might actually help me do something better. If she’s telling me that I can do more, that to not at least try would be settling for less than what I can achieve, I can accept that. I still want to punch her in her smug, stupid face, but for once, I don’t think she’s wrong.

Am I rambling yet? Because I just decided this, and I’m still a bit freaked out.

So here’s what I’m going to do, for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing: I know my story inside and out (and inside-out, for that matter). I know my characters better than I know most of my friends. I’m going to print out the full current manuscript and lock it away for a while, and I’m going to start over. I’m going to find a stronger starting point, I’m going to raise the stakes, I’m going to make things harder on everyone involved. I’m probably going to cut characters. I’m going to keep the story tighter, and I hope get down to the 90,000 word range. When all of that planning is done I’ll see what I can salvage from before, but this isn’t a conservation project. Much as it will hurt to lose the lovely dialogue I worked so hard on, the scenes I’ve set that mean so much to me, it’ll be worth the sacrifice if it makes a stronger story.

It’s all a learning experience, right?

EDIT: I wrote this last Thursday. I’ve thought about it, I’ve planned it out. A lot can change, but I’m actually surprised how much of the original structure really works, with some changes needed to accomplish the aforementioned tightening, sharpening, and general shitting on characters’ heads to make things more interesting. I’m re-doing the first few chapters.

Aren’s my biggest problem, as expected. Asshole.

Still doing a complete rewrite, but I’m really happy to say that the last version really just needs plastic surgery, not a transplant into some kind of android body… or whatever. Science Fiction’s not my thing, I don’t know how that works.


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