Progress – 07/17/17

July 17, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 10,738 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  119 words

Writing month to date total: 29,096 words

Writing year to date total: 216,313 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted, for complete paintings, but I did practiced in my sketchbook.

Audio: I spent 5+ hours recording and editing audio.

Week’s happenings: My writing streak continues now at 40 days. This last week was a hard-won week too.

I took the week off from my day job as a bookkeeper so I could spend some time focusing on getting my branding done across my books. I’ve been doing that to the covers, but I hadn’t spent any time on the interiors in that fashion. I figured, “9 days, 14 titles equals 2 titles per day with a couple days left over for writing.”

Well, there’s a saying: Man makes plans and God laughs.

I managed to get 10 of the 14 titles done. That was still while writing and dealing with all the mud that kept getting slung at me all week. I still had to go into work (okay, I volunteered for that one because it’s an important client and things needed to keep rolling along, but it was only a couple of hours). My website got messed up by someone else’s hand; why do people have to be destructive? Grrr! Oh well. I’ve started rebuilding and it will be better than before. Plus, now maybe I’ll get all my websites hubbed together like I’d been thinking about doing. While I continue to hope that Loki cuts off their hands for their “handiwork,” they did spur me to put my thoughts into action. I’m taking my time at the moment – I’ve rushed before and not had a truly great fit, so I want to be sure this time. I had “discussions” with neighbors — when my “live and let live policy” gets stepped on, I will rise up. I had to help both my boys with college stuff. And I fought a war with these stupid bugs that come in my office every year and I’m declaring that my office will be free of the pests this year. I’m proud to report that I might be winning that battle.

I did get some reading done this week. I also had a lot of fun in Stacy’s morning water aerobics class. I swear, after I finish one of Stacy’s workouts, I spend the next two hours walking around and feeling like I have a completely flat stomach once more. Always a great core workout! (grin) I know it’s only in my mind that I’m skinny, but I’ll take that feeling. I’m going to miss those morning workouts. (bummer!) I also got to spend extra time with my kids. What could be better? Mowed the lawn; didn’t get to cutting down some very overgrown branches yet — really need to knock that chore off my list soon.  And I went for several walks and a bike ride.

While I didn’t feel real successful about last week, I can say that reflecting on it now reminds me that there is balance in it all. I “tended the garden” of my books and while I’m sure they still aren’t perfect, I keep moving them in that direction. I’m building. I want something that stands for centuries, not just a house of cards or a sand castle. I’m working toward a career that will last my entire life — I never plan on retiring from my art. I persist.


Progress — 07/10/17

July 10, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 13.012 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,755 words

Writing month to date total: 18,239 words

Writing year to date total: 205,456 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted, for complete paintings, but I did practiced in my sketchbook.  I also did some more painting, but  I’m not sure I like what I accomplished. Since I’m still painting over the original painting that I didn’t like, I’m just wondering if this canvas is jinxed. Maybe it needs a cleansing ritual. (I say that half jokingly. Half!)

Audio: I spent 6 hours recording and editing audio.

Week’s happenings: My writing streak continues at 33 days. Some days it’s not so easy. For some reason, this week has been a mixture of easy days and hard days.

I started reformatting all of my books both ebook and print versions. I’m just about done with The Loki Adventures. Over the weekend, I was trying for two per day.  I managed to get all the way through to the print book on For More Mischief, Call Loki.

Yeah, this week has just been weird. Troubles in my personal life – nothing major, but it’s making me rethink some things. That thinking has given me a bout of depression. Again, nothing major — nothing some sleep couldn’t handle. (grin)  I went to adjust one of my websites (after doing that major thinking) and couldn’t get things wrangled around at all – weirdness. I feel like I’m going to have to rip the whole thing apart and start over because there’s so much junk in there. Then I went to update another of my websites and realized I couldn’t — yeah, that chaps my hide — enough said before I get on my soapbox. I’m looking at another of my websites and considering some changes with it. Again, that deep thinking.  I’ve really wanted to get it going again. Maybe once I get the other two sites functioning, I can think about this one again.

Sorry to be cryptic there, but, yeah, you really don’t want to read my growling or frustration any more than I want to put it into words. Don’t worry; I’ll save that emotion for my fiction.

In other news, the good variety, I received a print copy of The Three Books and I love the new look and cover. So now I have the “classic” edition and the “new” edition on hand.

I finished reading through the manuscript for the other author I spoke about a couple weeks ago. It’s the third one in her series and fits really well with the others. I can’t wait until she releases it.

In audio work, I’ve been working on The Three Books. I can tell I’m going to have my hands full with this project.

Well, once I get all my books having a standardized look to them and all corrected for all the issues I know about at this point, and I get my websites functioning, then I plan on enjoying the rest of my week and getting some additional writing done. I just have to remind myself to keep taking deep breaths and not let the world get at me. Is it any wonder I like to write and escape?

I have often asked myself why I write and paint. I keep coming back to the following thought: I want people to see the beauty of the world around them and enjoy it. I want to give humanity hope and inspiration, to give them courage for their own lives, to make them want to be better people for themselves and their loved ones. I want people to be entertained (because I am the first one who gets to have the adventure before I share it).  In short, I want the world to be a better, more enjoyable and entertaining place. There is really no reason that it shouldn’t be.

So, I hate it when others are out there to tear others down.

Do me a favor this week: go out and use your energy productively, not destructively, and see how much better that makes you feel.

Live long the adventure!


Progress – 07/03/17

July 3, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 10.579 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  865 words

Writing month to date total: 53,999 words for June, July to date is 3,472

Writing year to date total: 190,689 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted, for complete paintings, but I did sketch in my sketchbook thanks to one night when I was wide awake from 1:30 a.m. to 4:30-5:00 a.m. I also did get an hour of painting in one evening, which means that I finally destroyed a painting I’ve been staring at for a year wishing that there was some way I could save it and knowing that it was a total loss. Painting over it was the final confirmation that I had failed it. Yeah, that’s okay. The new painting that is emerging is pretty neat so far. Not all of the underpainting is covered yet and in some ways I want it to ghost through. It’ll be fun to see what happens. If nothing else, I’ll have a new painting to stare at for a year wishing I could save it and knowing it’s hopeless. (grin)

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches. Nothing official, since I was practicing in my sketchbook. I was practicing hair.  Maybe someday I’ll show some pictures.

Audio: I spent 8 hours recording and editing audio. This is actually only the time I logged. I spent a lot more tinkering around. Boy do I have some foul news. More below.

Week’s happenings: My writing streak continues. Yeah! I am now at having hit my daily word goal for 26 days. But I will tell you that sometimes I wish I would convert it to a weekly goal, rather than daily because some days are tough. On the other hand, if I hadn’t pushed myself to sit down and get the words done, I wouldn’t have had such a brilliant thing happen in the 5th Sacred Knight book. I won’t go into it now, but let’s just say that cosmic forces really needed to align for this event to happen. If I’d been distracted, I would never have seen it. But my heart said I needed to work on Steigan, rather than trying to kick the words out with Loki (he’s easy to write and I can do 1,000 without hardly thinking). I’d been dinking around with a scene all week, not getting more than 350 words done at a time. I had no idea what was going to happen — I just knew that I had to have one specific character tell Steigan something very important. That was literally all I knew. And, of course, the first think the character had done was walk off the scene, leaving Steigan to deal with everyone else. Argh! No matter how much Steigan begged, pleaded, cajoled, etc., no one was going to tell him. If you’ve read the series, then you know exactly how bad of a situation that is when Steigan asks a question and doesn’t get a reply. Yeah, it’s that bad. But neither Steigan nor myself knew what was going on. Then, the feeling came on that I had to sit down and work on it. No light bulb had gone off in my head, so I hoped that I wasn’t sitting down to lose an hour of time to only getting another 350 words done.

Then the gates opened. The character returned to the scene and started talking to Steigan. None of it was good news. Yet, it all fell in place with the story. I love it when that happens!

Trust the process.

In case you’re curious, I’m currently working on 4 novels and 2 short stories. I rotate between all of them and usually work on pieces of several of them in order to get my words in. A few hundred words here on one story, a few more on another, just keeping building until I have my word count for the day. It always seems that I’m anxious to work on one story or another and that’s the one that runs with it that day. My brain, meanwhile, is sitting back thinking about all the others. Unconsciously working on stories. Then I just get to sit back and play. Yeah, best job in the world.

Now that I’ve shared the exciting part with you, let me break the bad news. I have to re-record Loki. While recording The Last Ant and The Doorway Prince, I just made too many adjustments to my booth that I can’t duplicate the sound for corrections on 1-800-Mischief. I hear every one as clear as day. That’s just not the quality that I want to put out. One chapter is already completely re-recorded and edited — I had to do it because the ending of the chapter was so messy that re-recording was the only option. I got so close with duplicating the sound. But so close wasn’t close enough. I keep telling myself that now at least all the books should be similar in sound quality since I’ve finally got a mic placement I like. Still, that doesn’t help for the last month of working on all the audio, thinking that it was going to be ready soon, then discovering it was an epic fail. I keep telling myself the same thing that I do with writing and painting: trust the process. There has to be a reason that I’m having to do it over. I have to be happy with the work first. If it bothers me more than it entertains me, there’s a problem. Unfortunately, I didn’t uncover all the issues until chapter 7. With an 11 chapter novella, that means the one or two things I had to clean up in earlier chapters could have been overlooked, but when the ending of the book just falls apart, it’s better to scrap it all and move on. So, I’m back to square 1 – record the book. Argh!

Practice, I tell myself. I’m still learning. I am improving.

UPDATE: After writing about that, I went back and listened to it again with a different set of headphones. I re-did so of the earlier corrections I had done, but I haven’t merged them in yet. I am hoping to salvage it. It’s hard when I know what corrections I’ve made; I hear them. My job is to make them as seamless as possible. So, cross your fingers and let’s hope that I don’t have to redo the whole thing. I will if I really need to, but I do like this version and I’d not be able to get it read like that again. Besides, I’m ready to move onto the next recording. 

Last week, I also released Fall’s Confession for Kindle only. If you are an Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read it for free until September. After that, I will take the story to wide distribution like all my other stories.

That’s been all for this week.

I hope everyone in the U.S. has a happy and safe 4th of July.  See you again next week.


Progress – 06/19/17

June 19, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 13.243 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,021 words

Writing month to date total: 32,296 words

Writing year to date total: 165,514 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 7.5 hours editing  audio.

Week’s happenings:  This last couple of weeks have been amazing for writing. I am currently on a writing streak of hitting my daily word goals for the last 12 days. I feel like
Read more!


Progress – 06/12/17

June 12, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 9,131 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,649 words

Writing month to date total: 18,032 words

Writing year to date total: 151,250 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 7 hours editing  audio. More on this below too.

1-800-Mischief audiobook

Week’s happenings:  From the cover picture above, can you tell what’s coming? Yes, I hope to have the audio for 1-800-Mischief uploaded to ACX by the end of the month. I had previously recorded the audio and so far it sounds solid enough that I’m going to use it.  I figure I’m almost halfway through editing it right now — still some touch ups to make, but it’s coming along nicely.

Keep reading!


Progress – 06/05/17

June 5, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 7.865 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,290 words

Writing month to date total: May finished out with 29,064 words and June to date is at 7,252

Writing year to date total: 140,470 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted. I did get my Cintiq set up so that I can draw on it again and I spent some time last week working on Weblinks. I have a new page which I haven’t yet posted because I’m tempted to give Lucky a couple extra lines of dialog on the page and I haven’t looked at it to decide if I want to do that or not. I also spent some time inking and coloring the page for one of my children’s stories. More on that below.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches. I don’t have my digital work included in this count since that’s kind of hard to do.

Audio: I spent 4.5 hours on recording and editing  audio. More on this below too.

Week’s happenings:  Like I said above,  I set my Cintiq back up in my office. It’s been sheltered away for far too long and I was getting such an urge to get back to drawing that I could no longer take it. Then, while I was watching the videos for the writing class as well as another webinar video this week, I was working on my webcomic and children’s book. Let’s just say that my webinar video wasn’t very good, but I realized why I haven’t been drawing. Okay, it wasn’t really a new discovery. It was more of me finally admitting it to myself. I often realize something then spend another six to eight months of pounding my head against the wall to really get the lesson before it sinks into my hard head.

Last October when I was sitting in the writing masterclass, Dean Wesley Smith was talking about how he would quit if writing wasn’t fun any more. I made notes in my journal about the fun. My writing had definitely taken a turn away from that many years before, but I remembered when it had been fun and I’d just been writing for joy. I admit that I’m still trying to get that back and only recently have I really let that lesson sink in; it’s my own damn imagination and I’m telling stories to entertain me. If someone doesn’t like my stories, well, they can go find whatever best-seller they want to worship this week. I want to write for me and no one else. I write because I enjoy my worlds better than this one. But I’m wandering away from my point.

As I sat there trying to color my kids’ book, I was trying to think of realistic colors and what overall color scheme I wanted to have for the book. I sat back and looked at it and asked myself when I had decided to pick “Martha Stewart colors.” A couple hours later, the answer hit me. I had forgotten to play. In all the art studying I’ve been doing over the last decade, I forgot to have fun with it.

I was making it work.

I had totally lost the play. Worse, I had let someone else into my head to control my art, more than just Martha Stewart. I had let everyone who has ever made me conform to the standards of this world into my room. Pick a color scheme. You have to have a plan. Color inside the lines. Be smooth. Don’t clash. Don’t do something someone will hate. Do these jeans make my character look fat?

Argh!

So now I have to go back and fix the pages, pretend I have no clue what I’m doing (not hard since I usually don’t) and make them my own. I need to go have fun with them.

In other news, I didn’t spend a lot of time recording and editing audio this week mostly because I was busy listening to The Doorway Prince. I probably should have been recording my time, but since I was doing it here and there, I didn’t capture time.  I also spent several hours this last weekend resetting my microphone. I’m still trying to find that sweet spot for it. I’m hoping I’m there.  That was another 2.5-3.5 hours that I didn’t record time for.

By the way, I went back to take a look at my time from when I uploaded The Last Ant until when I uploaded The Doorway Prince and saw that I have spent nearly 100 hours working on the audio The Doorway Prince. Yep, that’s a 100 hours of recording and editing for a audiobook that came in at just over 2 hours in length. Yes, that is a bit high, but probably not too much. That is why I reset my microphone and I keep hoping to learn to get cleaner and clearer audio. I am still learning.

I also finished a short story this week. I had a bit of trouble with the ending. I kept thinking to myself that I write about outcast heroes and this character was more of a villain than a hero. Crazy to boot. I could accept the crazy, but I didn’t like the things that he had done, even though they took place in the story’s past. I kept feeling like it wasn’t complete. Good hadn’t triumphed. My brain attacked it with a vengeance.  I feared that I was going to have to do something more with it, maybe make this story part of a frame for a larger story. I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I just had to sit down and fill in some parts, then poof, it was done and I felt good about it.

I sent it off before I could stop to think any more about it.

I also have a feeling from things I’ve been writing this week, that I’m going to get back to writing some fantasy romances. Shhh!!!  Don’t say that too loudly. Yes, romances. I’m just not sure I have it in me. But, the writing may take me back to that play land once more.

As for Loki, I have about 7,000 more words that I want to write in the story. That’s just my guess at how long I’d like to make it. He always has other plans.

Onesong is making me want to beat my head against a wall. I keep trying to look at it, but I have so much to fill in and my list keeps growing. At least since I’ve been focused on that, I haven’t been killing off any more characters in my Sacred Knight series. I haven’t brought Aeribela back to life yet either. I did find a scene that I wanted to incorporate into the story, and to do that I really need Aeribela alive (unless I’ve already added the scene and just don’t remember it. Yeah, don’t ask me how many projects I have going right now and how I keep them all straight — my answer is “Don’t know.”).

As you can see, it’s been crazy busy. It needs to stay this way because I’m so far behind on my word count to my yearly goal that I’m just stupid enough to think that I can catch up if I focus and work really hard. Then I have a case of “Oh shiny” and move off to something else. Thanks for listening.

Until next week!

 


Progress – 05/29/17

May 29, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 4.133 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  4,592 words

Writing month to date total: 26,161 words

Writing year to date total: 130,315 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 8+ hours on recording and editing  audio.

Week’s happenings:  I feel like the main reason my word count was up this week is because I started writing a non-fiction book. It’s one I’ve toyed with over the years and I’ve already written massive amounts of material for. I kept dropping it though, thinking that I’d rather be writing fiction and feeling as if I didn’t have my own angle for it. That angle came this week. I’m even thinking about incorporating my Rockin’ Life comics into them. As I was writing this post, I went back to Rockin’ Life and realized that I had started something (I thought was) pretty cute. This was actually what I had decided to do as an early version of my non-fiction book; maybe I just really need to get back to my original idea. What do you thing?

I’ve been listening to The Doorway Prince trying get the audio finalized. I keep finding things that need fixed. Argh! What a project.

The boys and I spent the weekend at Anime Oasis. Again, it was a fun time to listen to the voice actors. I even got a few helpful tips for my own audio work.  I also bought some new artwork from one of the artists in Artist Alley. One picture held so much grief in it, that I wanted to cry right along with the character. I know that I have to bring Steigan right to this point as well, so it will be hanging in my office as a reminder.  It’s always a success when an artist can bring such emotions into the viewer.

Well, still hoping to finish the audio for The Doorway Prince this week and get it uploaded. Then, my next project will hopefully get me to doing some drawing as well. More on that later. But, for now, I better get back to it.