Tag Archives: #ROW80

Writing Stuff Wednesday: Insert Interesting Title Here

Yeah, sorry. I don’t have time for a clever title, or to dig deep into all of these cool new scenes to find something fantastic for WIPpet Wednesday.

But since you stopped by… 2 lines of dialogue for the 2 in the date. No context. Just two characters in a life or death situation. No big deal.

“Pathetic as it sounds, you’re the only family I have, and those two are my only friends. I can’t let you all wander off to your deaths without at least joining in, can I?”

“At least you won’t be lonely.”

If you want to see what the WIPpeteers are up to, here’s the link. I hope I’ll get around to everyone this week… I think I managed it last time. I couldn’t comment on everyone’s, though. THANKS, BLOGGER. I did read, though!

 -_-

 

ROW80 UPDATE: TORN

Things are progressing well with this round of edits on Torn. I have one chapter left to completely re-write, one in which I only have to re-write the second half, and one that only needs partial re-writes.

Those climaxes, man. They get me every time.

I was hoping to get that done this week…

But this weather is killing me. I’ve got a migraine today, but am working through it (God help my characters!). The kids were home for another snow day yesterday, and their dad is away for training this week. The boys are old enough that they can play by themselves or go outside when the storms calm down, but I still can’t close myself off, stick my headphones on, and work while they’re around. I have to be listening, and available. They want me to do crazy things like play with them.

I try to remind myself that this is how I wrote the first draft of Bound, but it doesn’t help. That draft sucked. These scenes aren’t allowed to.

And then there’s Bruno, who I have decided is not, in fact, a Chihuahua, but a Mexican Bed Hound. I’m not getting much sleep with him curled up between my knees–between not being able to move and being worried that he’s going to suffocate under the blankets, I’m waking up exhausted.

IMG_7288

But if I shut him out, he cries. And my husband gives me sad eyes.*

I need more coffee. And a plan.

In case anyone’s wondering what the months before my book release look like, here’s the goal, with dates removed–because things go awry. Snow days happen. Editors get sick, or have other clients put them off schedule, or hey, they have personal lives. Beta readers take longer than anticipated, though no fault of their own. I get sick, or get headaches, and until I’m making more money than my husband**, I’m responsible for this household: laundry, getting the kids to school, cooking, cleaning.

I need a housewife, is what I need.

But here’s the plan:

  •  finish rewrites
  • compile notes
  •  final clean-up pass (will take about a week, I hope, and will involve reading aloud, making the prose read more gooder better, adding in a few ideas I’ve had along the way, and really taking it from a solid story to a beautiful reading experience. In theory).
  • Send to second-round beta readers, hope they can get it back in a week.
  •  write cover copy.
  •  Set up pre-orders.
  •  Figure out whether I can format the paperback through Scrivener (wasn’t an option in the PC version… we’ll see)
  •  cover reveal. Pre-orders. Other fun stuff!
  •  newsletters
  •  fix whatever my lovely betas say I screwed up
  •  send for proofreading/copy edits (2 weeks)
  •  Prologue reveal (not to be disregarded, thanks)
  •  formatting
  •  final version to Amazon (10 days pre-release)
  •  teaser photos
  •  relax and/or freak out and/or get back to work on book 3
  •  upload to other vendors
  •  RELEASE DAY. Party on Facebook.

And then REALLY get back to work on book three, because I’ve had some ideas for big, scary revisions.

So… yep. That’s the plan. Please cross your fingers, toes, and anything else you can spare that I can get this all done soon!

For more about ROW80, click here. For more updates from other participants… um… I’ll add the link when I find it.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you’re all having a fantastic week (and staying warm, if applicable).

—-

 

*Not this week, but there’s still the crying.

**Okay, even then, it would still be my job, because I work from home.


WIPpet Wednesday – Awkward Spoiler Avoidance Edition (and a lesson learned)

WIP it… (duh nuh nuh nuh)… W-WIP it real good!

Sorry, I was tired of getting Devo stuck in my head every time WIPpet Wednesday rolled around. Thought I’d try Salt n’ Peppa. You know, instead of “Push It”.

It’s not actually better. Live and learn. *sigh*

WIPpet Wednesday is the day where we post a snippet from a work in progress that relates in some way to the day’s date. I’ve been having a lot of trouble participating lately, because a) I’m busy, and I don’t post if I know I can’t get around to comment (though I sometimes miss a few who post late–sorry! I’ll try harder!), and b) I’m seriously running out of spoiler-free snippets from Torn.

Like… even saying who’s in it is a spoiler, aside from the obvious suspects.

So here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to share a big snippet, and I’m not going to say who’s in it. The POV character (herein referred to as “I”) is female and a Potioner, and that’s all I’m saying. The other party in the conversation is a dude, and… we’ll call him Y here.

Warning: If you’ve read Bound and really don’t want to know whether certain species are going to show up again, skip it. You’ll probably guess. I doubt anyone will be disappointed, but there you have it. 🙂

Okay, it’s super obvious. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

19 (short) paragraphs. WIPpet math: 1+1+8+2+0+1+5 = 18, plus one to grow on.

I’d only need one more ingredient. I brought out one of the daggers that my unfortunate soldier friend had left behind.

“Can I help?” Y’s voice drifted from the trees behind me.

“You’re getting quieter,” I observed. “I barely heard you coming.”

Y stood up straighter. “I’m working on it. I don’t think I’ll ever be as graceful on land as I am in [awkward redaction], though. What are you doing?”

“Trying to be prepared. You might not want to see this.”

The shadows covered much of his face, but I caught the concerned furrow of his brow. “Do you want me to leave? Whatever it is, I can handle it.”

The firm set of his jaw and the look in his eyes told me he wasn’t lying. I wondered what he’d seen in his life. Such a strange man. I couldn’t deny I was glad to have his assistance, and his company. Something about him calmed my mind, even as his presence tended to do the opposite to my body. I could ignore that, though.

“You can stay, if you want to,” I said. “Hold the bowl for me.”

He stepped into the clearing and cupped the bowl in his hands, holding it out from his body. “Like this?”

“Perfect.” I slipped off my cloak, then tried to roll up my sleeves. They were too tight. The whole thing would have to go. I thought about asking Y to close his eyes. We didn’t need to complicate things further.

Don’t be silly, I told myself. You’re both adults. He’s seen more, and probably prettier.

Y’s eyes widened as I unbuttoned my shirt, then swallowed hard as I slipped it off, leaving me in a thin under-shirt in the cold woods.

I waited for his gaze to return to mine. “Don’t [oh, so very redacted] go around naked most of the time?”

“Yes.”

I raised my eyebrows, and fought back a smile when his eyes wandered again.

“It’s just different with you,” he said. “It’s fine. Carry on. Please.”

I took a deep breath and traced the tip of the dagger over the skin of my arm, trying to decide on the best spot to get what I needed while doing the smallest possible amount of damage. I settled on the top of my forearm and stroked the tip of the dagger gently over my skin once, twice, three times, building my nerve.

“Use my blood, if you want,” Y said.

“No. Thank you. I’ve had worse injuries.”

“So have I.”

Well, my work here is done. Smoothly done, Sparkes. SMOOOOTHLY DONE.

O.o

For more and probably less awkward WIPpet Wednesday fun, scoot on over here to the linkie, and feel free to join in on your own blog. Thanks to KL Schwengel for hosting!

But seriously, guys, I think I’m out for a few weeks.

ROW80 Update

On the only goal that matters at the moment: Still editing. I think I have about eight chapters left to go, only two of which are full rewrites.

*cough*

Yes, it makes things harder. Yes, it’s more work than I thought I’d be doing two months shy of the projected publication date. It’s going to be worth it, though.

I’m done stressing about dates. Some people might be irritated if things are delayed by a week, but once the book’s out, no one will care. As I’ve said before, I’m not half-assing anything to meet a deadline.

My readers deserve my best. No shortcuts.

For the record, there will be no promises, speculation, or hints about the next book’s release date until after edits (professional, not self-edits). We’re looking at the same kind of space between books as we were this time, but beyond that, my lips are sealed.

Having a deadline is motivating, but it’s useless when it stresses you out too much to do anything.

Consider that a lesson learned.

ROW80 posts or to learn about the event, click here

 


Snow Day (Or: How I Decided to Participate in ROW80 Again)

I’ve been on the fence about participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days this year. It’s a fantastic event-type-thing, and accountability is a great way to stay on-track with goals. It’s fun to meet other writers and read their posts, learn from their frustrations and share in their joy when things are going well.

But.

Well, I do worry about boring blog readers, which is why I only post updates on Wednesdays to go along with WIPpet Wednesdays. There was a time when most of the people following this blog were writer friends, but we’re gaining more and more of my readers (hi, guys! So happy to have you!).

It’s almost like I need a writing blog and an actual website for readers, isn’t it? But this is my home. This is where I stretch out, make myself comfortable, and talk about the things that are important to me. Reading, writing, life, headaches, distractions, moose sightings, cover reveals and other author promos, pretty pictures and fun teasers… there aren’t really any limits.

So everything stays here, for better or worse.

I didn’t make the decision until I realized that today was the first day of round one. See, I was looking forward to getting back to work today, as the kids are back to school.

Or they should have been. But it’s a snow day. So instead of retreating to my office with a coffee, I’m at the kitchen table writing this post.

Funny how things work out.

I’ll probably stick with just posting updates on Wednesdays. Twice a week doesn’t allow much time for change between updates. Wouldn’t want to bore anyone who’s getting e-mail dings every time I post.

 

And guys? This is going to be a big round (ends March 26).

**ROW80 ROUND ONE GOALS (2015)**

 

WRITING

Proof-read Bound: Yes, I did this before publication. Many times. So many times that I still can’t really enjoy reading it. But I’ve re-formatted the e-book in a program that allows me to make it look nicer AND to make corrections without knowing HTML stuff, so I need to go over that.

Also, there’s a big, secret thing happening, and I need this book to put its absolute best foot forward for it. I’ve caught 2 typos. Moved a few commas. Changed a word or two. Tiny fixes. Nothing has changed with story, characters, dialogue, anything. Nooooo revisions. So no worries, dear readers. It’s like dusting the shelves (but hey, hang on to those first-edition paperbacks…).

Goal: Finish by Wednesday, January 7 (currently at 70% finished)

 

Edits on Torn: My editor says he plans to have these back to me by the end of this week.

**WOO, PARTY!!!**

We had some delays in getting started, but I’m ready to work hard to get through this as efficiently as possible. How long it actually takes will depend on the scope of revisions required. My beta readers didn’t tell me to make any big story changes… we’ll see what the editor says. I had to re-write sections of Bound after he got his hands on it (and thank goodness for that!).

Goal: Come what may, finish by the end of January.

 

Other Torn stuff: I need to be super organized on this goal, which includes proof-reading, sending it out to a few readers who have offered to act as true beta testers and error-catchers, formatting, setting up pre-orders, having someone format the paperback, sending paperback info to my cover artist so she can do the wrap-around cover, doing promo stuff for Bound once pre-orders are up for Torn…

And also organizing the cover reveal, the first chapter release, creating teaser pics, pulling my hair out, angst, stomach upset… I’m swamped.

Goal: Varies. Set up pre-orders by mid-February. Other events to follow. Advance review copies (offered to newsletter subscribers first) sent out early March.

 

Release Torn: Yes, before the end of this round. As I’ve said before, I’d rather release late than release something that’s not ready, but I’m confident that we can pull this off, even if I have to turn into an unwashed editing-cave troll to do it.

*grunts, shuffles, squints at sunlight*

I’ll keep you updated on that, and announce an official release date soon.

 

Bound Trilogy Book Three: Obviously I’m going to be busy with Torn through this round. But I need to keep moving forward with book three if I want it out by the end of the year. It’s looking good, but I’ve had a few ideas on how to make it better, smoother, more satisfying, and more epic. Those revisions will take place in March while all of the fiddly, non-writing stuff is happening with Torn (I hope). Then it’s off to my wonderful first readers for a test drive, and then whatever punishments they decide to hand me afterward. FUN.

Seriously, though, I will never understand how some authors get a book from first draft to release in two or three months. Between developmental edits, line edits, two rounds of readers, and corrections, never mind the three drafts I do before any of that happens… not a schedule I can hope to achieve.

READING

Still aiming for one novel and one non-fiction book a month. Right now I’m reading UnSouled by Neil Schusterman, and then I think the next one by Jenn Wylie is up. But I also just bought Gone Girl, which I’m told I won’t be able to put down… we’ll see what I’m in the mood for. This might be a two novel month. I’m determined to get through “Writing 21st Century Fiction” even though I’ve been stuck on it for a year because it’s dry as bricks and feels like the author is talking down to me. I’ve never had this problem with Donald Maass’ books before. We’ll see how it goes, I might DNF it and give it away. Fiction Unboxed is also in the non-fiction queue, and I’m more excited about that.

LIFE

Aiming for balance, for working during work time, social media-ing during social media time, making more time for housework and giving my family my full attention during their time.

That last one shouldn’t be difficult, but it really is. I know. I’m a horrible person.

^These are not quantifiable goals in this section, but they’re reportable. We’ll see how it goes.

So there we have it. Wish me luck, and if you’re participating in this round, let me know so I can stop by and cheer you on in your goals post!

More ROW80 goodness here.

 


ROW80 Recap Post (or: Most Boring Post Title Ever)

Yeah… no WIPpet Wednesday this week. Sorry, guys.

But I will give you this teaser snippet. I’ve got a short story almost ready for you. Some of you saw a pre-edit draft here a while back. Others will find it completely new. Either way, it’ll be my gift to you (at least until it eventually goes Amazon exclusive and I have to charge a whole 99 cents for it).

Coming soon.

bindingteaser1

 

Okay, on to the looking back bit.

Goal #1: Finish drafting Bound Trilogy Book Three

COMPLETED. I flew through that one faster than anything I’ve drafted before, thanks to better outlining than I usually do. I was pleased to find that there was plenty of room for surprises… maybe a little too much, as the draft currently sits at 130,000 words. Good words, but still.

I’m exactly half-way through revisions now.

 

Goal #2: Self-edit Torn one more time before it goes for professional edits.

COMPLETED. My beta readers had wonderful suggestions for me, and I incorporated most of them. Editor J.E. took the book a week ago, and last I heard is making good progress. It’s kind of a crazy time of year, and I hope he’s taking Christmas off, but I’m feeling hopeful about getting this thing back in early January and getting back to work on it.

And then we might just get a release date. And plan pre-orders. And, and, and…

 

Goal #3: Short Story

Okay, I’d hoped to have it out for Christmas, but a) it’s not exactly a feel-good Christmas cheer thing, and b) distribution is pretty much shut down most places for the holidays, so it can wait a little longer. But it’s edited, I made a cover (sorry guys–can’t do my regular artist for a free story!), it’s formatted, and it’s ready to go. I’m calling this COMPLETED.

 

Other Goals:

Listen to two podcasts a week – not even close.

Beta reading – COMPLETED

Other reading – I read several books. Besides the beta reading, I finished Behind the Scenes (Dahlia Adler), The Virgin Cure (Ami McKay), Blink (Malcolm Gladwell), Moon Bound (Sylvia Frost), Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell), Here Be Dragons: Strange Creatures of Newfoundland and Labrador (Bruce Hynes), and am making my way through UnSouled (Neil Schusterman). All great books.

I should really do a review of The Virgin Cure on here, or a more complete one on Goodreads, but I haven’t recovered yet. Seriously, so good.

Didn’t read a writing-related book (still can’t get into Writing 21st Century Fiction a year after I bought it), but I asked for Save the Cat for Christmas. Fingers crossed.

Audiobook release – we did a giveaway, it was fun. I still haven’t managed to listen to the whole thing yet, myself. It’s nothing against the production or the actors, I just can’t do audiobooks. They sound so different from how I read in my head. That said, I still have a few copies for people who love them… we’ll have to have that as a party prize at the Torn release party. 😀

Use Duolingo to learn French – I actually forgot about this. The boys lost the iPad for a few weeks, and I got off track. Better get back to it.

 

So there we have it. Not all complete successes, but I hit all of the big ones and won NaNoWriMo.

We’ll see what comes next round. 🙂

Link back below to your wrap-up posts if you’ve been participating! I want to come say hi.

 

 

 


WIPpet Wednesday: Awkwarrrrrd

Okay, let’s start with a confession: I’m sharing from a project that’s technically on hold. Much as I love Cat and her story, I have worldbuilding issues there that I need to work through, and I promised my editor I’d try to get some more pre-editing done on Torn, so that’s what I’m doing.

Sparrowhawk & Son is still a work in progress, though, so here we go. Catalen has been forced by her new employer to have a medical exam done. She’s not too happy about the idea, but she’s been promised that she won’t be poked or prodded.

6 paragraphs (3+1+2 for 3/12)

 

No poking or prodding, my ass. I should have specified that personal questions make me as uncomfortable as physical examinations do. My eye isn’t the only secret I’d prefer to keep.

This room is cold, and not exactly private. Sure, the doctor pulled a curtain around the bed so no one can see me, but the nurses’ hushed murmurs drift through from outside. They can sure as hell hear me.

“Are you sexually active?” The doctor is this roundish old guy with a skinny neck who reminds me of a turkey I once saw.

I shrug, and the open-backed gown they’ve got me wearing slips down my shoulder. “I’m not sexually passive.”

He looks at me over the top of his glasses. “I’ll just mark yes. Any chance you’re pregnant?”

“I’m promiscuous, not stupid,” I tell him. He gives me that look again, and I sigh. “I’m always careful, okay? Always.”

 

For anyone new here, WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by KL Schwengel where we (the WIPpeteers) share a snippet from a work in progress that relates to the day’s date in some way. For more entries, see here–there’s usually a good range of genres, and often work that’s more polished than my first draftishness here. Want to join in? Post to your blog, link back on the linkamajigger, and be sure to visit and comment on other people’s posts.

Apologies to anyone I missed last week (which is everyone who posted after late Wednesday afternoon, I think). Not having my laptop stinks, especially when we’re away for the weekend. :/

—–

ROW80 Update

On to A round of Words in 80 Days, which I keep forgetting to link back to on their blog. Oh, well. Still nice to have some accountability, even if it’s just in my head.

It’s been an interesting week.

Writing:

First thing: I pulled off that NaNoWriMo win before we went away. Just barely, but I did it. Between that and my insane month-and-a-bit before that of drafting Bound book 3, I’ve written about 130,000 words of first drafts since the end of September. Not a lot for some people, but I’m pooped. Never mind the two weeks of editing I did in there… yeah.

Editing:

I’m not sure how to say this. We’ve hit a series of small snags on Torn. Nothing to panic about. It’s just that my editor can’t take it until a bit later than estimated (not his fault, just the way things worked out. These things happen). On top of that, I might not even be able to see his notes until the new year. Why? Remember how my laptop died, so I have to use my old desktop? Turns out it’s too old to run the current version of Microsoft Office (or the current version of Windows), so I can’t put Word on it to see Track Changes. No, I didn’t have Word installed on it before, because I use Scrivener and kind of hate Word.

I can’t get my laptop fixed until I get it into FutureShop (hi, pricey service plan!), which means a 4 hour trip to St John’s. I tried to order a mac laptop (which I need anyway) as a replacement. It would have been perfect. Delivery by December 10, a more reliable computer, everything I need…

OOPS, they won’t deliver to a PO box, and we don’t have home delivery. Wait… I need to find out whether I can get that with expedited shipping.

I’m rambling. Sorry.

Just frustrated. And none too happy with Microsoft, either. *glares*

BUT… I’m still moving ahead, and currently using AutoCrit to catch repeated words and other issues to try to save time on editing later. You’d think at this point that I’d notice when I’ve used “hideous” twice in one paragraph, but it’s all a blur to me. And it’s so rewarding when they tell me “nice job!” for not having any dialogue tag-related adverbs in a chapter.

“YAY, ME!” she shouted shoutily. Oops.

Please wish me luck in either getting my computer fixed, getting a new one, or finding a hard copy of an old version of Word.

 

Reading

Started Deathmaker (Dragon Blood Book 2) by Lindsay Buroker, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been having a lot of trouble really becoming immersed in books lately, but this one did it for me on a long car ride in a way that nothing else I sampled over the weekend did. It’s book 2 of a series (not sure how that happened, but it was on my Kindle), but I didn’t have any trouble getting into it. Good story so far. I did have a moment of “Aaaah, crap” yesterday when they announced something to do with gem power (which is what they use in Sparrowhawk & Son), but hey. It’s all been done before, and I’m sure there are major differences. It’s just a jolt when you see a concept/idea/familiar bit of action from your work in someone else’s.

Anyway, I think I’m going to need to pick up more of Lindsay Buroker’s work if the story ends as well as it starts. Really great stuff. And for writer types, especially independent authors (or author-publishers, or whatever term you prefer), her blog is a fantastic resource.

I also wish I was as prolific as she is. Maybe some day, but I don’t think I’ll ever be “finished first draft at beginning of November, publish the book by Christmas” fast, even on shorter books. I need more time than that. So jealous, though…

More ROW80 here.

 

 


Half-Assing #ROW80 (on purpose, this time)

Okay, that was a strange title, so let me explain.

I sort of dropped out of ROW80 (A Round of Words in 80 Days) on the last round because I was worried about boring people with my posts, especially those of you who subscribe by e-mail. You don’t want your phone to go BRRRRRRMP or BING! or whatever on a Sunday just to be notified that OMG KATE SPARKES WROTE ANOTHER 5000 WORDS YAY.

I know. And I don’t want to put you through that.

But I do miss the accountability and the community. So what to do?

I think I’m going to just check in once a week, on Wednesdays (see? Half-assing the reporting bit). That way these posts will be combined with WIPpet Wednesdays, which will be the candy I offer you to go with the vegetables that are my goals updates. If you’re interested in how things are progressing with my goals, by all means read through. I live to serve, and if watching my numbers is at all inspiring, encouraging, or exciting, I hope you’ll follow along.

Just don’t feel like you have to.

Round 4 of ROW80 for 2014 runs from October 6 to December 25. That means it’s GOAL-SETTIN’ TIME.

*rolls up sleeves, spits in conveniently-placed spittoon*

GOALS:

BOUND TRILOGY BOOK #3 – I’m currently at about 36,500 words out of a projected 120,000. I want to have this done by mid-November, if possible, to leave time for my other book-related goal (see below). This won’t be a problem if I can focus and stick to my schedule… so it’ll probably be a problem. But here’s what I’m aiming for:

  • 3000 words a day, 4 days a week. This leaves one day for me to go to town and get groceries, because my children continue to insist on me putting food in their faces. COOKED food, even. So demanding. If I can get more words than that in, I will. If I can squeeze in writing time on the weekends, I’ll do that, too. But based on what I’ve been able to accomplish over the past month, this seems like a reasonable base goal, if a challenging one.
  • So doing the math… That would get me done with this messy first draft thing in 28 working days, or on November 20. Hmm. I’ll have to try to get extra words in there, maybe aim for 14,000 words a week somehow. Because my other goal is…

TORN – barring some miraculous cancellation on the part of one of his other clients, my editor will be taking this one on at the beginning of December. I’ve already worked in most of my beta readers’ notes (many thanks to those of you who got through it so quickly, you’re the best!), but there are a few more things that need fixing up. So as soon as Book 3 is drafted, or sooner if need be, I need to get those last few things cleaned up. This is really important, but I don’t want to interrupt this whole first draft thing while I’m on a roll, so I’m putting it off.

Oooooh, dramatic tension, if only in my own mind!

SHORT STORY – It’s a thing I’m working on, which I’d like to have released by Christmas, but it’ll have to get squished in between other BIG, IMPORTANT STUFF. No promises.

OTHER GOALS

  • listen to two writing podcasts a week. I can do this while I’m cooking or out walking the dog, so this should be an easy one to cross off. Right now I like Hide and Create and The Self-Publishing Podcast.
  • Beta reading. I’m doing this for a fellow WIPpeteer this month. I haven’t started yet, but I’m going to get on it soon. There will be notes. SUCH NOTES THERE WILL BE.
  • Other reading – one or two novels a month seems to be all I have time for these days. Reading just feels like homework right now (heartbreaking, I know), but it’s important. Right now I’m reading Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler (so adorable–and I usually don’t like contemporary YA romance) and The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. We’ll see what comes after that. And I’d like to get through at least one writing-related book this round, too.
  • Organize something fun for the Bound audiobook release in November.
  • Also, I’m using the Duolingo app to learn French. Because why not?* I have no concrete goal for this, except to use it for 10 minutes a day.

I guess that’s enough.

Are you participating this round? Link back to your goals post in the comments so I can stop by and say hello!

October. Oooooh, aaaaah!

October. Oooooh, aaaaah!

*Weird story: I’m pretty sure it had me say, “Je mange les femmes” yesterday, meaning “I eat women.” I’m not entirely sure what they’re implying… this could go in a few directions. Of course, they also think “Je suis un homme,” so you know. Whatever.


ROW80 Update: Party Closet Edition

We went on a family adventure to Fogo Island yesterday. I’ll have more pictures and stuff tomorrow, but for now I just have to share one thing.

I found the party closet.

IMG_5887

Tell me that doesn’t sound like a good time right there. It’s on the ferry between Farewell and Change Islands/Fogo. If this is everything you’ve ever wanted out of life, YOU’RE WELCOME.

(And guys? It’s not flame-resistant apparel. It’s a FIREMAN’S OUTFIT.)

Anyway.

Things are going well with my little schedule plan. Sort of. I’m doing really well with the whole “get up early” part. It’s just the “get right to work” thing that’s making me stumble.

I keep getting distracted by the “checking sales and rankings” thing and the “should I be doing some kind of promotion” thing and the “I wonder what my friends are up to on Facebook OMG THAT’S SO WACKY” thing.

I’ll get there. I will.

I’m making progress on Torn, and it’s SO much more epic than the last draft was. I kind of dropped the ball on a romance sub-plot in drafts one and two, and that’s really blossoming now. I’ve figured out a few things that smooth out rough patches in the plot, I’m taking characters to places they’re not too happy about, and I’ve got a whole lot of surprises for anyone who loved Bound.

I’m so excited!

Speaking of Bound, the book in the #1 position had the decency to run out of time for new release eligibility*, so Bound is (at the time of this posting) the #1 Hot New Release in Amazon’s YA Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery category! It’s on the charts in a few others, but that’s my big, happy excitement for the day. I also woke up to a beautifully written review, so that was WICKED GOOD.

Mini-goals for this week: Finish up this one character’s scenes, move on to Aren’s (which should be my biggest challenge, because DUDE. Ugh. I love him, but this is a tough story to balance in terms of not letting him get too emo). Contact a few book reviewers if I can get my nerve up. Get on that blog post for tomorrow. Maybe do a few more promo pics, though I’m not sure how much good they actually do. Finish reading last week’s WIPpet Wednesday posts. Read other blogs.

But the priority is writing.

And also housework.

Ick.

 

*I’m pretty sure it was out-selling my book by 10 to 1, so this really was the only way I was going to get there.


ROW80 Update: Getting There Edition

This morning I told someone my brain was like a flock of birds, and that is the absolute truth. Sort of a murmuration at times, little starling thoughts all flying together in formation, working together and mostly heading in the same direction. Other times it’s just chaos, a thousand different species all pecking at each other and going off in different directions.

I suppose this is to be expected a month before one’s first book release.

Business. Promotion. Publishing. Formatting. Waiting on reader responses. Organizing.

Exhiliration. Self-doubt. Questions. Distractions. Perfectionism.

For the record, I’m not complaining. I chose this path, and though I think it’s perfectly valid to complain about the things we’ve chosen (hello, parenting!), I’m really not. As crazy and sometimes overwhelming as this all is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. For the first time, I’m attempting something big. Something that’s so challenging that I might fall flat on my face. Or maybe I’ll soar like this:

…or more likely, I’ll survive the business bits, get this book out, and move on to the next one. Because though I’ve put myself in the role of publisher, that’s just a thing that I’m doing. It’s not what I am. I’m a writer. I’m going to write.

ROW80 Update

I guess it’s time to look back at my goals from the start of this round to see what’s done and what’s not.

  • Edit Bound  DONE
  • Write back-cover copy  STILL WORKING ON IT. This is is harder than writing the book, I swear.
  • set up Facebook author page, change personal account name for consistency DONE and NOT DONE. If you’d like to give my page a like, it’s here.
  • hire proof-reader  FRIENDS/READERS WORKING ON IT (God love them)
  • find reviewers who might be interested in YA Fantasy (again, if you know anyone, or are someone and want an ARC, see below)  HAVE PEOPLE SIGNED UP FOR ARCS. STILL A FEW SPOTS AVAILABLE FOR E-BOOK ONLY.
  • put together front-matter and back-matter for the book, metadata, keywords, etc  WORKING ON IT. Dedication, acknowledgements, legal notice, etc. done. Need to research keywords, etc.
  • send out newsletter  DONE, and revealed a piece of the cover. Next one goes out in June, with release date, cover, sale information, etc.
  • Formatting (kill me now) HIRED SOMEONE. I have enough going on without this, and the guy I got does gorgeous work.
  • cover reveal here and on other blogs  SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 2
  • apply for ISBNs DONE. Easy peasy. I’m an official publisher!
  • submit to CreateSpace, order proof copy, correct all the things Waiting on proofreads and formatting
  • Prepare for awesome-yet-smallish Facebook release party TBA (looking at June 26)
  • Add to Goodreads, set up give-away Not yet– need finished blurb first. Will add on cover reveal day.
  • revisions on book 2 (we’ll call this a stretch goal) HAHAHAHA! Just starting today

 

Wow. So really, we’re looking good as far as goals go.  Coming up: revising book 2 for JuNoWriMo, which I hope will take my mind off of everything else. The story is there, but I need to add to it. There’s a love story that needs more attention, and I think the rest could do with some punching up.

So there we go.

I’m getting excited.

YAY!


ROW80 Update- Receding Waters Edition

*Enters blog space, collapses into comfy chair*

Well, we’re home. Just two weeks after I first posted about our basement flooding, we’re pretty well back in business. The problems with the septic system were far more extensive than anyone suspected at first, including a bad installation 12 years ago and collapsed pipes under a neighbour’s yard. The guys fixing it had to dig a trench across the yard next door… and the house beyond that (and their driveway)… and across Main Street before the problem was totally fixed, but they did it.

We have working toilets. We have hot water. Our washer and dryer survived. The flood waters have left us, the guys cut out the bottom section of drywall everywhere to prevent mold, the floors are reasonably cleaned and disinfected.

And best of all, we don’t own this house. I think seeing the bill for all of this would be the end of me.

I think the only one who’s sad to see the end of the water is this guy:

20140426-162709.jpg

He made me laugh when I found him swimming around the basement like he owned the place. Gotta laugh when you can, right?

We spent a few nights with AJ’s parents, then a few with mine, then another with AJ’s parents before we got the all clear to move home. But it was good timing, really. Not only had I just finished my “no heavy lifting for a week” rule after surgery when it came time to hoist appliances, but the kids had last week off of school. At least all of this kept them busy.

So now I need to get back to work. I’ve edited a few chapters in recent nights after the kids have gone to bed, sitting at the dining room table and trying to concentrate. I’m finding that it’s hard to get started every time*, but once I get the document opened and start, things are going well.

No promises on release dates or anything right now, but right now it’s still looking like June or early July. Thank you to everyone who has offered to help with cover reveal/release/ARC stuff already. Youse all is the metaphorical bomb.

I can’t really set my office up the way it used to be, what with the guys coming back some time in the next month to finish the walls. Still, I worked hard yesterday to set up a place to work, and since the kids aren’t allowed to play in the basement right now, I kind of have privacy. I miss my bookshelves, but at least the desk survived.

 

20140426-162744.jpg

Check out the bottom– you can see exactly how deep the water got in my office (the high spot in the basement) after I took the drawers and fled.

So that’s my update.

Oh, and I didn’t set reading goals this round, but last week I read “Write, Publish, Repeat” by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt. It was an excellent read with very non-gimmicky advice on indie publishing, and was entertaining and encouraging without promising the moon. Sometimes it’s incredibly comforting to hear, “yes, you have to work like a dog, but you can do this” instead of “FOLLOW THESE TIPS AND RAKE IN THE DOUGH” (which is always BS, in my experience). I like their ideas on product funnels and on balancing the art and business aspects of writing. Definitely worth the $5 price tag.

There we go. Updated. Now that I have my space back (sort of), I just need to find the time to work in it.

*This has nothing to do with the situation… this is just how I am. I sit down to work, and my brain starts searching for distractions. They make a pill for that, don’t they? :/


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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