Progress – May 14, 2018

May 14, 2018

My son was home from college last week and we had a lot to accomplish in the time he was here since he was going back to keep his work study job through the summer. It’s going to be strange with him not at home, but hopefully we’ll still get to see him often.

It’s just been a strange week and I know part of it has been having him home and knowing time was short. I got dictating done, but transcribing came much later in the week. I got to fill in a couple of scenes for Onesong through. You Wednesday readers, you have another week added to the story. Lucky you!

I feel like the most important thing I got done this week was putting together my Loki cover.

Microsoft updates, followed by Adobe updates and issues because of the Microsoft updates, really slowed down my progress too. I lost dang near a whole day because I was either waiting for updates to go, researching issues I was having with programs, or just generally being frustrated because things were going wrong. I really hate IT work — there’s a reason I made a choice several years ago not to pursue it deeper. I deal with enough computer problems as is that I certainly don’t want them in my creative work. Unfortunately, it’s an evil in nearly every profession these days. I need a non-tech hobby! Maybe something like blacksmithing. Or spinning. I do like weaving.

Kidding — I don’t have time for a hobby now.

I tried to get a print version of my children’s story ready, but that’s been painful and frustrating. I prepared a cover, but that’ll have to be redone now. I’m glad I’m dealing with all this now before I start my next story, but dang… This is where I’m learning a lot, but pounding my head against the wall at the same time.

I had an outdoor show on Saturday which got cut short due to rain keeping most people home. It was cold and I was sore on Sunday, but I got to hang out with a friend and sold a couple books, so that makes it a good day, right? Dumb me decided to go home and make the spaghetti I had in the freezer rather than heating up the leftover chicken I’d made the day before in the crockpot and had been planning on for dinner. Even with the short show, I really didn’t have the energy. It left me tired as well on Sunday. I should have been writing more than I did after my son left and the other one went to work, but I didn’t have the focus. I thought I’d been writing well, but then it ended up being less than 600 words.

I did get to hear from readers this week that they are excited for Onesong and 1-800-IceBaby. Those moments have been the highlight of my tired week. Thank you for your notes to me and your words of encouragement.

Fiction words written last week: 3,445 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,435 words

Score a big #5 for my weekly word count streak.

Writing month to date total:  11,636 words

Writing year to date total: 130,131 words

Drawing/painting last week: None

Audio: I spent 3 hours editing audio.

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Progress – May 7, 2018

May 7, 2018

Can I just chalk last week up under the category of “Strange & Bizarre” and move on?

Yeah, let’s do that.

But because of events of last week, I haven’t quite been feeling myself. I’m okay, but at the same time, something is off. It’s like an annoying slightly pulled muscle, the kind where you twisted your ankle or something and it hurts just mildly enough to let you know it’s sore.

Yeah, it’s weird.

And, it sent me into designing covers mode. You saw the cover for Tangled Magic. After I finished that cover, I went back to the cover design for the 6th Loki novella. I hope to have that finalized this week. I also have design ideas for Dragons of Wellsdeep and Walk the Path (what I am going to call the 2nd Onesong book — more on that in a moment). So here I am with stories I’m working on and covers already in process. I have to admit that it feels a little strange and bizarre — in my new processes of being more prepared for the publishing side of the work, it just feels weird to have titles and covers so early, before the manuscripts are even completed. That’s just unnatural for me. I’m glad to see it, but there’s still the part of me that’s screaming, “BUT WHAT IF YOU CHANGE SOMETHING?” I hate it when the critical voice shouts at me, especially in all caps.

As most of you know, I started Onesong as part of Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month held in November). I finished the 50,000 words and had almost a complete novel. Afterwards, I realized that I really had two novels that I’d been writing at the same time – an interesting feat that probably is also under the category of “Strange & Bizarre. Half the novel was Rivic’s story, which I had titled Onesong. The other half was part of a novel I’d actually been writing nearly 25 years ago now. I only have a portion of that manuscript — most of it has been lost to time, mail, bad events, floppy drives, who knows. I still have the general plot in my head and I was trying to recreate it without having to suffer the agony of rewriting a book I should still have — yes, I do have another one of those stories (a complete manuscript called Enchantment’s Flame of which I have only the first three chapters of and which probably suffered the same fate as the one previously mentioned. I’ve tried to rewrite this manuscript based on what I have and new parts I want to add and it’s frustrating. I have cried over the loss of this manuscript.) So, yes, I was subconsciously rewriting a new story which would take over my heart and allow me to release the old draft like a dying phoenix to let the new rise from the ash. Honestly, when I realized my Nanowrimo manuscript was really two, that previous metaphor is exactly how it felt. Oh, it was painful making the split because the stories were like conjoined twins who shared organs.

I haven’t even gone back to the section that I’ve split off yet because I don’t know how much patching I will have to do. But if I’ve learned anything this last year, it’s that I can sew Frankenstein’s monster back together and make it live.

I’m really not sure how I like the idea of conjoined twins being compared to Frankenstein’s monster in regards to my manuscripts, but it feels appropriate.

After a discussion about what the title of the first book for Onesong should be, and agreeing that it had to be Tangled Magic, I soon realized that of course it had to be called Tangled Magic because it’s twin book was already called, Wild Magic. Yes, that’s the title of the story I’d started writing 25 years ago. And, I have this feeling that once I sit down to write it, the manuscript will be of similar length and needing divided into two books. I don’t know what the series title will be, but I’m certain that the second book in that series will be Blaze the Path.

Onesong               Unknown series title

Books #1:   Tangled Magic                 Wild Magic

Books #2:    Walk the Path                Blaze the Path

I know the missing information will fill in.

I suspect, even though I haven’t started designing them yet, that Wild Magic and Blaze the Path will also have similar covers to the Onesong stories. Oh, and before you ask, yes, Wild Magic and Blaze the Path take place on the same world as the Sacred Knight and Onesong stories. The Wild Magic story is about a set of Plenelian twins. (And now you begin to see why I say that the analogy of conjoined twins is appropriate – grin.) And, if you’ve been following Sacred Knight and understand who the Plenelians are and what the deal is with twins, then you begin to see the inherent conflicts in this story. Oh yes, this is going to be fun.

What I don’t yet know is if Wild Magic is before Onesong or after it. I know my brain has been working on it because over the weekend it was spitting ideas like slinging mud at a barn wall to see what sticks.

See, the main issue I have with placing Wild Magic is that I know I have to allow room for Elliot’s story. (You ready for this tangle? Strap on your seat belts and make sure your tray tables are in the upright and locked position because this is going to get messy otherwise.) You see, Elliot’s story is actually the aforementioned story called Enchantment’s Flame. I have the general plot, again, stuck in my head. Both Wild Magic and Enchantment’s Flame started off as fantasy romance stories. Both had major plot issues. Both had publishers request them from my synopsis and sample chapters and both were rejected. Enchantment’s Flame was written first. Wild Magic I was just finishing as the idea for Quest for the Three Books came to me (and yes, that also use to be a fantasy romance, and Keteria was the heroine in the original drafts). At the time, none of them had any relations in their stories.

But then I realized I was working with three timelines in the Sacred Knight series and it all exploded. Suddenly, I knew that the castle that was in Wild Magic was actually in Dubinshire. I also knew that the continent where Enchantment’s Flame took place was on the same world as Sacred Knight. When Ithanes mentions (I believe) in To Birth a Destiny about his father taking him to the northern continent, that’s the setting for Enchantment’s Flame, which I’m now calling Elliot’s story.

So, I’m essentially rewriting my own books, taking them out of fantasy romance to be this colossal, epic, sword and sorcery fantasy which is bigger than me most of the time. In those moments of overwhelm, all I can do is stand back, breathe, and remember to take one step at a time.

Yet its frustrating because I can’t just fix up two of these stories that I’ve already written.

But after a week of doing whatever I can to avoid working on Let’s Make a Deal (a story about an ice nymph that I wrote about 20 years ago), I can say that it’s not always easy to rework a story you wrote so long ago. If I was smart, I’d write a blog about that someday soon.

This has been an exceedingly long post, so let’s get to the numbers, shall we?

Fiction words written last week: 3,561 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,785 words

Score a big #4 for my weekly word count streak.

Writing month to date total:  22,718 total words for April, 5,756 words for May

Writing year to date total: 124,251 words

Drawing/painting last week: Zip, zero, zilch – I so need to get back to painting though.

Audio: I spent 3 hours editing audio.


Progress – April 30, 2018

April 30, 2018

I can’t believe we are here at the end of the month. A third of the year is now done.

Hmm, that brings up an interesting question: why do we divide the year into quarters and not thirds? Maybe this hits me strangely now, because I just did my quarterly business meeting with myself over the weekend. I chided myself, as is best when you are having a meeting with yourself because people look at you strangely when you blur out random admonishments at them (Dude! Really? — seek what I mean), that my meeting was coming awfully late; I’d already lost the first month of the second quarter. I’m already starting off this quarter behind. But, considering that people are so naturally tuned to the number 3, why we don’t have 3 thirds with 4 months in it? As I sit here writing and wondering this, I must wonder if I should move to a setup like this. It would force me to think four to eight months ahead instead of three (or two as usually happens) to six (or five) ahead. You know, I might try that for the rest of this year and next year, just to see if that fits my internal nature better. (No, my dear accountant friends, my bookkeeper side is not having issues with that. I already work monthly and yearly, but quarterly only effects me for payroll reports. I am not bothered one bit by shifting my thinking this way.)

I finished the draft of Onesong. There’s still something nagging me about the last chapter, but I’m trusting the process that I already have something rolling around in my head and I just need it to spring forth. It will. It always does. I’m not forcing it right now. And, some of it may come with where I decide to split the story. It’s right about 140,000 words total after all the extra stuff is chopped off. I haven’t looked to see if some of that fluff really needs to stay in the story. I also have a list of things that I kept thinking needed to happen which I need to sift through and see if it’s really as important as I thought it was when I started the list. (which reminds me, I have another Anne Dillard quote that I found when I was researching my previous blog to make sure her words hadn’t been pulled out of context. It pertains to this list exactly. I must write that next blog.) Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – April 23, 2018

April 23, 2018

It’s been a good week and I feel almost human again. I did spend the first part of the week all scattered and distracted, but as it progressed I got myself together.

Prince of the Ruined Land was released and I got my print books just a few days later. This made me able to fill orders pretty fast and that made me happy.

I finished my review edits of the sixth Loki novella, designed a cover, sent the book package to my reader (since I’m trying to not be behind the 8 ball in publishing any more), argued (grin) with my reader about the cover, debated, and decided she was right. I haven’t put together the official cover yet, but I’m certain there will be a reveal soon.  Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – April 9, 2018

April 9, 2018

First I lost my daily word count streak, and now my weekly word count streak tumbles.

There’s just been too much going on. So I must learn from this experience and move on. It’s all I can do.

What did I learn? Mostly that when I plan a publication date, I really have to look at other factors in my life that can put me behind. Even though I’d set the publication date for Prince far enough in the future, I didn’t think about having extra work hours, taxes for three people, and having to put my book back together because I couldn’t trust my instincts about the story to begin with and what a landmine that would be. Okay, that last one I couldn’t have foreseen, but it should have been a “what if” factor. Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – March 19, 2018

March 19, 2018

Much like the ruins of New Lilinar, my story has crumbled.

With less than a month until publication, I have discovered too many issues with Prince of the Ruined Land. My final flaw which brought the whole thing down was realizing that Steigan had been bitten by gargaxes three times and no one says anything about it for about 20 pages.

Talk about dropping the urgency behind it.

That was after I had discovered that the main climax scene comes and I really felt like the story should end, but I was wondering why it continued on for five more chapters. Unfortunately, they were five chapters that really needed to follow for the story to work.

Again, a lack of urgency had dropped the ball.

In general, these are things that are really easy to fix. I’d already done that in the beginning of the book several months ago.

But then I was trying to think of another way to increase the urgency other than the way I’d been thinking, just in case I’d missed something, and was explaining the story to my son. He kept giving me funny looks. Then one of his questions really blew things apart. I realized I had way too many scenes that detracted from the story and really needed cut.

So I spent five hours figuring out which scenes could be cut and stripping them out. Now I have new transitions that need to be written. Plus an important scene to figure out how to put into the book. I’m at a point now where I’m trying to see if it’s needed right now in this book. Parts of it have never fit. I’m not even sure I can make them fit with what I’m going to try to do in the next book in the series.

Poor Steigan. He keeps trying to be a bad boy and he never gets to succeed.

Now, no worries. The ebook is still available for pre-order and will be released on April 17, 2018 as promised. I do also plan to have pre-order setup for the book soon, but I’m going to wait just a little bit in case I don’t have enough time to order a proof copy of the book as I had planned. This might delay the print version of the book by a couple weeks. Trying not to have that delay, but I will also take the necessary time to make a good story. A little give, a little take.

If this quick retake of the novel doesn’t work, I do still have the original and can go back to it in a flash. However, I suspect that the story will be so much better when I’m done. I trust the process and since it kept telling me that it wasn’t right, I was bound to find flaws that would strength the breach of me knowing it needed more work. A deadline, a very firm one now, will assure that I stay focused on getting it done. There’s some significant patchwork to be done, so I’ll be getting words in.

Also on the Sacred Knight front, I have finished recording Quest for the Three Books. I wish that was the first time I’d said that, but I think it’s about the third. Practice makes perfect, as does a good mic and a professional setup. I listened to a section of the second book that I had recorded some time ago and let me tell you: the difference between what I was doing then (and I thought it sounded good) and what I’m doing now are two totally different levels. I’m really glad I did a few other projects before continuing on this book.

I also splurged a bit on my audio setup last week. I bought another microphone stand, a new shock mount because the one I’m using now is broken, and a new stand for my iphone. Since I bought a shroud for my mic, I haven’t felt comfortable in my booth; it just feels crowded. A 3 1/2′ x 3 1/2′ booth is small enough without feeling claustrophobic in it. Now, I know that logically adding another mic stand to my booth isn’t going to give me more space, but if it gives me a way to shroud my mic and still read my copy without feeling as I do now, it’ll be good. I must remember to take before and after pictures.

I have my son home for spring break this week, so I’m not sure how much I’ll get done. Fortunately, he’ll have his brother around to entertain him. (grin) I get the fun of sitting back listening to them play video games together. I really have been blessed with two good children who have always been friends with each other and who help me out greatly.

I haven’t yet even begun to look at what I’ll be posting for Onesong this week either. I hope its something good. (grin)

Since I’m trying something new with Prince of the Ruined Land in order to figure out what needs fixed, I figure that will also be helpful in Onesong when I get around to patching it up. Strangely enough, the list of chapters for Prince now looks nearly as bad as the one for Onesong which I’ve shown on other posts. Maybe I’ll post what they both currently look like here later in the week. I think it’s quite funny how they both look similar. But that might just be humor that only a writer could get.

Fiction words written last week: 3.098 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,808 words

Writing month to date total:  15,776 words — my writing streak for hitting the weekly goal is now at 11 weeks. I do want to point out that I wrote ever day last week, I just didn’t hit my goal every day. I still got the weekly word count though. I suspect it might be like this for a while as I get Prince reshaped, then I read through stories to remember where I was at in them. I really ought to figure out a way for me to keep track. I’ve seen the process other writers use, but I’ve never found a system that works for me. I think I just need to tame my writer child to only work on one story at a time. Dang that sounds boring!

Writing year to date total: 82,544 words

Drawing/painting last week: I spent about 1 and a half hours working on Weblinks.

Audio: I spent 6 hours recording and editing audio.


Progress – March 12, 2018

March 12, 2018

I lost my word count writing streak on Wednesday. I was so depressed that I really wanted to quit. I had no energy left. I went to bed. After spending all afternoon holding back the tears, I really wanted to cry myself to sleep. Of course, then the tears wouldn’t come.

It’s truly devastating to be told that the last 13 years of your life have been hijacked by a company who won’t play nice because you’re going to take your business away from them. I’ve spend less than $100/year with them between all my domains. Certainly this small amount can’t be worth that much to them. They can’t possibly be making that much after paying the domain Registrar for the renewal. Really? You’re going to be a baby over a few dollars at most?

But I have learned a very important lesson — never let someone have full control over the name on your domain (the Whois listing), and never let them be able to lock your account without you being able to unlock it. Yes, I will be doing things differently in the future. I’ve learned my lessons. No matter what happens, I will take those lessons with me. And, if that little piece of advice above helps someone else, great. If you own a domain and you have no idea what I’m talking about there, go dig around in your site and learn. Purchase a domain from someone else just to see what features they give you or don’t. Teach yourself, learn, observe, Google questions that arise. Don’t let all your domains be held by one company. Read the Terms of Service.

Yes, I am working on a backup plan. If I’m going to have to rebuild, I rebuild. It means that all writing is probably coming to a near-complete stop and that really is bad (in fact, if you’re a reader who really needs me to put out more, this really ought to upset you). I have to focus on Prince of the Ruined Land. That is quickly becoming priority one. Then, I have to rebuild the interior links all of my books as well as on the covers – print and ebooks. I have to redirect websites. I have to go into a ton of websites and update email addresses. On the bright side, this is probably a good time to set up the imprint lines I began considering at the end of last year — I considered this for the different age levels of my books. Since I’m getting so many, I don’t always remember what age they are appropriate for when I’m under pressure at a show and have a million questions coming at me at once. There’s also my newsletter to update. New banners. Business cards Updates to all of my websites — new directs for them (books, comics, art).

Do you see now why I was so depressed?

13 years. Read the rest of this entry »