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.


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 »

Prince – Stick a fork in it

April 5, 2018

It’s done.

The manuscript for Prince of the Ruined Land is done.

Well, more accurately, I am done tying it all back out after ripping it to shreds and making it not look like Frankenstein’s monster.

I am currently up to chapter 5 in my final read-through and I haven’t made any major changes. Still making some minor tweaks as I go along, but it’s usually the changing of a word or a phrase — not the major changes to scenes as it has been for the last couple of weeks.

Last night, I also started the character list for the book and I worked on tweaking the cover again thanks to some issues pointed out to me (Thank you, Sean!). I still need to work on the map too.

Prince of the Ruined Land cover small

It will be ready for release on time.

I’m so excited (and a little nervous). How about you?

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 »