Saturday, December 28, 2013
Novel Series 12: Face Snatcher
Genre: Crime Fiction set in the real world.
Word Count: 80,323 (probably a bit big for crime fiction but considering I'm a fantasy writer writing crime fiction, not danged bad)
Prompt: So, funny story. Back about three years ago now a friend I made through FaceBook (Cassie, I'm looking at you ;) ) directed me to this video about a girl who went around chopping people's arms off then potted them like flowers for a garden until she chopped her own arm off. It was Japanese animation style and I probably couldn't find the video if I really tried. Anyway, my first thought was: What if someone did that with people's faces? And thus, Face Snatcher was born. It took six months before I knew who the detectives were and another two years before I finally sat down to write the thing. Yeah.
Main Characters: Detective James Reeves, Detective Mia Liu, and the Face Snatcher.
Minor Characters of Note: Chief Patterson, Lucy McGregor, Michael Brown, Catherine Taylor, and Sarah Clark AKA victim number 3. Special mentioned to Ceria as well as David Jones.
Summation: Someone's going around taking people's faces and it's up to James and Mia to track that someone down.
High Points: Brown. He's that character who adds the comic relief to the book but is way useful besides that. You know something's going to happen to him in a later book because I always treat the funny ones horribly.
Low Points: James having a kind of mental breakdown about being under so much pressure. It's his and Mia's first really big important case so he doesn't want to screw it up.
The World: Ours, as it is, right now. No magic, no future tech weaponry or hovering cars. Exactly as it is, right now.
“He took her eyes carefully too, I’m not seeing any kind of scraping on her supraorbital process, lacrimal, zygomatic, maxilla, palatine, oh, there’s a bit on the sphenoid but that could be natural structure. I hate to say it but he’s good.” McGregor said.
“Um, I don’t know how to spell most of that.” Mia muttered. (Neither did I Mia, don't worry)
"...Anyway, the optical nerve is severed pretty deep. So he pulled the eye out as much as possible before making a single, clean cut with a pair of scissors. I only know that because the nerve looks kind of pinched here in the left eye. It’s sliced a few times in the right so he switched tools after taking the right eye and realizing that a scalpel wouldn’t cut it. Er, bad pun, sorry..." (I had to take a break to laugh at that. Ha.)
“The work emails can be hacked into by a 12 year old in one hour. I refuse to have anything sent to me through that email but ads for Viagra.” Brown said.
“Hi yourself, Reeves. They’re just about done with the pictures so you won’t really have time to interview the bartender if you want to stick around for me cutting off these bandages. I’m pretty sure we all know what’s not going to be under them though.” McGregor said with a frown.
“What a brilliant ray of sunshine you are.” Mia muttered.
“It’s a guy this time.” McGregor said.
“I see that. Our unsub must be strong. This victim must have bench pressed cows for fun.” James said. (He totally didn't realize he made a joke, btw)
“Triple B is warming up to you. I’m pretty sure Hell has frozen over.” Mia returned with a grin.
“Actually it doesn’t start snowing in Michigan until December.” James told her. (OMFG James. How are you so oblivious to these jokes? Ha)
“Welcome to my lair, leave your souls at the door and come on in.” Brown told them.
"Yeah. I need coffee but don’t want to work that stupid machine in the staff room. I swear it hates me or something.” Mia said.
James chuckled and she huffed at him.
“It’s an inanimate object and feels no emotion. It can’t hate you.” James told her.
“Reeves?” Brown asked through the door.
“Liu.” Mia said.
“Oh, better. Come on in.” Brown returned.
“I know you don’t like talking to people much, I mean, okay, that came out wrong.” James started.
McGregor smirked so quickly that James was sure he had imagined it.
“It’s okay. I’m known as the building’s bitch. The other meaning of Triple B is “Big Bumbling Bitch” seeing as I’m tall, don’t like talking to idiots so sometimes answer in monosyllable and, well, bitch is obvious.” McGregor said.
“That’s just not nice.” James muttered.
“You learn to deal or you jump off a bridge. Anyway, what else did you want?” McGregor questioned.
“Coffee?” a waitress asked with a smile.
“Can you set up an IV drip of it for me?” Mia questioned.
“Sorry about that. We got called out right after I got off the phone with you.” James said.
“No problem-o. Is that a laptop you’re holding wrongly?” Brown asked.
“Just do me a favor: don’t call tech support if your computer randomly restarts. That’ll be me. Just let it go, okay?” Brown asked.
“Tell me next time, okay? No matter how much I’m sulking or how upset I look, just tell me what you’re thinking so we can work together. I should have been there with you.” James said.
“Yeah, date night with my girlfriend, Annie. We were going to watch some slasher films then make out.” McGregor said.
“Okay, what part are you confused about?” James asked.
“The slasher movies. I didn’t think someone in our field would watch something gory, you know?” Mia returned.
“Focus on the case. My love life or lack thereof isn’t important right now. Besides, she’s not my type.” James told them.
“Triple B is warming up to you, Brown is calling you Boss and Taylor hates you. I think you’re having a good couple of months, all things considered.” Mia told him.
“You’re not even worthy of your badge, Liu. You’re lucky that you were partnered with Reeves or you’d have been fired years ago.” Taylor told her.
“Thanks, Brown, really, thank you. You’re amazing. I don’t know how everyone else around here gets things done.” James said.
He meant it. For a long moment all that came over the line was heavy metal music. James strained to listen to the song but could catch none of it. Brown chuckled over the line a moment later.
“Boss, if my head gets any bigger I won’t be able to get out of my office. But thanks, it’s nice to hear that once in a while. If you need a favor outside this case, let me know.” Brown said.
“Yo, yo, Taylor, chicky, way to be a bitch. Ya know, I don’t like people messing with people I like and I like the Boss and the Bossette. You’re gunna get a call from the Pats-man in 2.5 minutes I’m sure. Just long enough for her to look over the video feed I put on her desktop.” Brown said.
“He thinks he’s a kind of God. That he’s entitled to collect what he wants because he is who he is.” James uttered.
“Yeah, that’s terrifying. God complexes are the worst.” McGregor added.
“Who dares disturb the Dragon?” Brown called out.
“Boss and Bossette.” James said before he could stop himself.
“You need a shirt and I know you started storing backups at your desk. That and it would be nice to have a bullet proof vest just in case the unsub attacks either of us with a TASER again.” James said.
“You are one sick man.” Mia muttered.
“I’m just a simply collector.”
“Simply lovely.” (the killer) uttered.
“I hope you remember my face. Because I’m the one who’s going to make sure you never see the light of day again.” McGregor said.
“You’re an adrenaline junkie.” James told her.
She grinned at him then took another sip of her coffee.
“And you’re an oblivious neat freak who won’t trade up partners because no one else knows or will bother to learn how to deal with you. So, you up for doing something like that again?” Mia questioned.
"Takes all kinds."
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Is it June yet?
I work for a start up company. There are four of us trying to get these products that are really awesome into the world. I've been doing it for about six years now and haven't been paid for it in over a year.
Now you're thinking: Renna, why don't you just quit? Well, that would be the easy way out and I'm a stubborn git. I haven't quit because despite hating driving myself deeper into debt: I love my job, my boss has become a father figure to me, and I believe in the products. I believe that they're great and if someone would just take a damned well chance on them we could make improvements to the markets the products are in.
With that being said: the company can't keep going the way it's going and we've decided that if we can't make it by June then we're shutting it down. My boss is in no way a quitter and he didn't even want to give it up but his wife is right: we can't keep going the way we're going.
Which means if we don't make it by June I'll have to start looking for real work. If you clicked on the link in the first paragraph you'll have seen that my goal for this year was to write two books a month, finishing my crime fiction series in June. I'm not 100% sure if I can pull it off as giving that final push for work might cut into my writing time. If it does, when June does come and if we're not getting cash flow, then finding a job definitely might cut into writing time.
So, life has happened. The unexpected came up again and I'm left trying to plan for something I'm not entirely sure will or will not happen. I could be an optimist and say that with our combined efforts the final push will pay off but small business rearing in this economy, eh, not so much. I could be the pessimist and say that I'm prepared to start looking for a new job in June but the reality is that I'm not. I don't do well with change.
I really don't like not being able to plan for the future. I don't like that the plans I did have for my writing year have gone awry. I don't like a lot of things that have happened the past decade or so of my life but like always I'll have to deal. I'm kind of sick of dealing but hey, crap happens. We wipe it up and move on.
The thing is though that no matter what happens I'll always be a writer. It's the one constant that will not change and really, it's the only thing keeping me sane. But even that hasn't helped all that much.
This month has been exceptionally tough as I haven't been writing as much as I normally do (I like to take a month off in December) and I found out the above news last week. I'm conflicted on the news because it means I can finally leave without feeling guilty but again: I love it there. Normally I bury myself in a writing hole but I just can't this month.
I want to but I don't want to. It's weird, I know but I never said I was in any way normal. The news is kind of sitting in the back of my head and I can't think of doing anything beyond June. I know when I meet up with my one friend tomorrow it won't be a fun meeting. I'll be talking about this and how we can't go on vacation this year or to the convention we normally go to. It sucks, it really does.
And when I meet up with my other friend I'll have to give some form of explanation to her about why I don't want to go on vacation (or do other things that require money) this year and it'll suck worse because she won't exactly be supportive of it. It's complicated. Then if we do close shop in June I'll have to explain to my family and that'll be another mess. I'm looking forward to start Milwordy but I'm wishing I could stay stuck in 2013 so I won't have to deal with this.
But, we deal. That's what we have to do to go on right? Either that or give up and I'm not the giving up type of person. I mean I've been self-pubbed for four years, haven't broken even or come close to it and yet I still write. That's either tenacity or stupidity and I'd like to think I'm not stupid.
Anyway, writing will always be therapeutic for me so getting all of this out has kind of helped. At least for now.
Until next time: Comments, questions, rants, rage and everything in between can be directed to the comments.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Novel Series 11: Seeker
Genre: Low Fantasy or Supernatural
Word Count: 78,795
Prompt: Sequel to Seer that kind of appeared out of no where.
Main Characters: Ice and, well, only Ice really. It was from his P.O.V and he kind of left everyone from Seer behind.
Minor Characters of Note: Claire, Dawn, Ray, Eva, Zillah and his men, Valko, Jasmine, Felix, Krasimir, and Odin.
Summation: Ice is tired of waiting for people to find out how he and his twin brother Dawn became immortal or why Dawn is so much weaker. He's going to find out himself, even if he has to become a serial killer to do it.
High Points: Ice running into a "Love Shop" to avoid Claire. Oh and Ice realizing that, YES, he does love Ray.
Low Points: Dawn.
The World: Ours but with immortals.
Major Plot Twist: Zillah and his men
"I will continue to do what I have done every night of my life."
"Try to take over the world?"
"I am going to go to New York and force out others like us if there are others to be found."
"Unlike you I can enjoy the company of a woman without the need or want to have sex with her." (Go Ice.)
"He's some kind of angel of vengeance or something. This must be for killing that dude and all the others."
"I am not so good as my looks imply."
"You know we all come with secondary powers. You'd be wise in remembering that."
"You know there's something to be said about a man who risks his life to help his brother."
"I am ready." "Darling, those are words every woman likes to hear."
"Of course I care you fool. You are my brother."
"The question is: would you die to let your brother live?"
"I know it's not what you were looking for but you should know better than anyone that you can't always get the thing you want. Life sucks, you grow old and you die. You have to make the most of it and all that new-age bullshit."
"I am also decidedly stupid for not realizing sooner and I apologize for that."
"And you made an ass of yourself. I know you're under some kind of pressure here and I want to help. I think I'd be more helpful if I wore more clothes, you know?"
"It's Eva. She wants to know why you're still killing people so famously and I'm trying to tell her that you haven't hunted in a week. She says seven people have fallen victim to the Ager. I think we've got a problem."
"Bonjour mes petite imbecile."
"What? You like Ice. Besides, I'm your older sister and you shouldn't be taking our mother's name in vain."
"Someone took him. We don't know who and we couldn't stop them."
"We're loyal, not stupid."
"Freedom, hm? Thank you Anthony for your final gift to me but you are free too, dear brother. I will miss you."
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Novel Series 10: Changed
With all that being said I'm sure I didn't touch on some of those issues as much as I wanted. This will likely be the first one I do a full read through and add a lot to. Also, this is one of the first where I had to go to the NaNo forums to ask people if it would seem insulting to trans* people. Some did find it offensive. Most didn't once I explained myself a bit better. I also have to add the point that it is possible for a male to female trans to get a working uterus. It's *almost* possible in this day so it should be in the future. Anyway, here we go:
Genre: Science Fiction
Word Count: 66,456
Prompt: "Memories don't lie" - Pain Redefined by Disturbed.
Main Characters: Jordan, Jayden Sanderson, and Eric Sanderson
Minor Characters of Note: Billy, Bull, and Nadine
Summation: Jayden Sanderson, daughter of the ruler of the world, wakes up in a hospital with amnesia after surviving a brain surgery that should have killed her. The problem is that she feels like she is no longer Jayden Sanderson.
High Points: Um, Billy was a high point in general. There's always that one character that helps make a novel less depressing and he was it. Then I hurt him. Badly. Poor guy.
Low Points: The whole freaking thing. No really. I don't think there's a particularly nice thing about this novel.
The World: The future, obviously. But the gap between the rich and the poor has widened even more to create the Esteemed and the Shanties. The Esteemed are those with the "superior" genes: no genetic disorders, better body/face structure, stronger, smarter and faster. The Shanties are those who are genetically predisposed to diseases (anything from cancer to having a too big nose).
The Shanties people are tired of being at the dregs of society just because they're "inferior." They're tired of working in the mines, working in factories and not being able to eat every day, or live in a home that doesn't leak. They're tired of not having the latest tech or not being able to go to college just because they're Shanties. They're tired of living behind an electric fence, not getting medical care and being treated as dirt. They need a leader to replace the one who has gone missing. They find their leader in a completely unexpected place.
Also: there is a one-child per person ban on the ENTIRE world to control population. This becomes exceptionally important to the novel in later chapters.
Major Plot Twist: Jayden Sanderson and Jordan in a HUGE way.
"Good. Continue with the procedure. We need her alive."
"It was an operation to cure you from that horrible malformation. You're healed now, at the expense of your memories it seems. Don't worry though: it won't be hard to help you remember who you are."
"It's really none of your business."
"That's the problem: I don't remember, in case you forgot."
"We're Esteemed. The cooks don't cook with things that would fatten us up. All those scrapes go to the Shanties, remember? I could survive on junk and not gain a pound. Even if I did I could get it scraped off, right? I mean, we can afford that?" (This is said with anger, not in a matter-of-fact way. It's meant to be insulting and tells you all about the segregation in one little block.)
That Jayden had looked happy to be female, relished in the attention her body got her and enjoyed being Esteemed. The Jayden she was now did not like dresses, skirts and was coming to the slow realization that she wanted to look more masculine. Jayden frowned when she comprehended that she was about to take part in another Esteemed cardinal sin.
The Esteemed were not enthusiastic about men who dressed too much like women or women who dressed too much like a man. There were distinctions between men and women that had to be followed and only those in the Shanties were stupid enough to question the gender they had been born with. Changing that gender went against God and that was not right.
Jayden stared at the blonde on the screen. The blond was wearing a white dress that bellowed out around the hips. Her hair was curled sweetly and there was a pink bow in her hair to match the pink sash around her waist. That Jayden, from six months ago according to the time stamp, looked like a precious doll.
The Jayden watching doll-Jayden was in a pair of formless white shorts, a baggy white tank and eating cheese chips straight from the bag. Doll-Jayden’s nails were perfect and her skin looked flawless. Watching-Jayden had chipped nails with bright orange junk stuck under them. Her skin was greasy from sweat and eating crappy food right now.
"You're an Esteemed and you hate the Shanties. You're supposed to be in dresses and skirts and attending meetings with me. I don't even want to take you because of how you are now. What is wrong with you?"
"In case you forgot: I have amnesia. I'm pretty sure those tumors did something to me or took something from me. You're not helping. Shouldn't you be more concerned?"
"I don't know anymore. I'm born-Esteemed, I think or something but that doesn't make sense. I know this place. I know you Bull."
"Guys, we can't just let her go without figuring out who she is. I mean, she knows us. Esteemed Jayden Sanderson knows us."
"Who's Jordan? I recognize the name but," Jayden started.
"He was our group leader. No, more than that. The people here in this city (the Shanties): they loved him. We loved him. He was the Golden Boy, you know? If you had a problem you went to Jordan and he'd fix it. Kids needed medicine and he'd go into the Esteemed places to swipe it. People needed food and he'd find a way to divert a hover car meant for the Esteemed here. He went in a few weeks ago and hasn't come back. I was supposed to go with him but I got sick. It's my fault he's gone." Bull said.
"Keep it (about a hover board Jayden buys for Bull). Unless you can outfit everyone here I'll be a target." Bull said.
"Sorry, I guess I forgot." Jayden muttered (she remembers after she tries to hand it to him that Shanties people will target their own if that person has better).
"You've got amnesia, I can't blame you." Bull returned.
"I don't really feel like a girl." Jayden said.
"Aw, I totally get it. I don't feel like a boy. Too bad we couldn't like, switch bodies." Billy said.
"It's okay here because well, we don't believe in God the way Esteemed people do. God is the final judgement of what we do, you know? So if it's wrong for me to want to be female when I was born a male, I'll take my punishment." Billy said.
Jayden blinked and nodded. The answer had come to her a moment after she had asked the question. Somehow she knew more about the Shanties life than the Esteemed life and it made no sense...
"Are you coming Bull or are you going to paw at the ground and wait for me?"
"You're not male. You're female through and through and always have been. You will always be too because my daughter is not getting a sex change. You'll be thrown into the Shanties for that."
"What makes us (Esteemed) better anyway? A few genes that give us brighter skin, bigger eyes, shiner hair, pouty lips, natural thinness, stronger bones and muscles all with less potential for disease? There are people in the Shanties who are just as,"
"I'm not Jayden Sanderson, am I?"
"I want to talk to her alone. She's my girlfriend and deserves the privacy to kick my ass if she wants it."
"I don't know whether to kiss you again or smack you."
"I'm always ready, dingbat." (Best nickname for your lover, ever, btw)
"I want the Shanties, no; I want all people to be able to live in unity. No fighting for food in the dirt, no choosing between paying an electric bill or feeding themselves, no dying from common colds, no forcing them into jobs they don’t want to do, no living in darkness because they can’t afford to turn on a damned light or can’t buy candles. I want people to have the ability to live to their full potential no matter what genes made them.”
“The time of the Esteemed is over. The time for unity is beginning and if it takes a war to bring unity, equality, and life to all then so be it. I’ll stand and fight. I’m not afraid to die for my people, all people. If you agree that everyone should be able to reach their full potential no matter what genes made them or if they have “bad genes” then you’ll be in this new world. If you still think that the Shanties people are worthless, below you and don’t deserve to live proper lives then you will be eliminated. That is my promise and unlike the other people in the Sanderson family: I keep my promises.”
"You deserve your rest and I'll be here when you're awake again. Good night, dingbat."
"At least you're not crying."
"You know I don't cry."
Nothing needed to be said between them. They were Shanties. They were strong. Death was commonplace to them but this time Jordan knew what it truly meant.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Another Million and General Thoughts
MilWordy is a challenge to write one million words in one year (12 months). It runs side-by-side with WriYe which is to just write every day out of the year. Milwordy doesn't have an official website but WriYe does.
Anyway, MilWordy No. 2 is done for me at 1.3 million words as of Nov 29th. I'm planning to do a third MilWordy in 2014 or 14 COMPLETE novels in 2014. Yes I know I'm crazy but I'm pretty sure if you've been following me for any length of time you'll have figured that out. I'm also fairly certain my limit is going to be 14 novels in a year just because of you know, life.
As this is the end of the year and the end of NaNo I figured I should say a few things.
I notice that around this time of the year a lot of talk starts up about self-publishing. As someone who has been self-published for four years in March (omfg, right?) I know a fair amount. I know what works and what doesn't but I can say with confidence that if you have the DETERMINATION, TIME, and CASHFLOW YOU CAN SUCCEED.
Yes, you will need some start up fees. Editing ain't cheap (I did that deliberately), neither are cover-designs and no matter what you should NEVER skimp on those. Also: you're a writer. What's the thing you do best beside write? No, no, not watching YouTube videos about cats because of procrastination. No, no, not reading though reading is important. RESEARCH. Yes. Research: your editor, your cover designer, HOW TO market and promote, and self-publishing in itself.
It may look intimidating at first (and it kind of is) but don't worry. If you do it right then you can succeed. I normally don't name drop without reason but go check out Russell Blake if you think I'm lying. Also, check out his self-publishing advice by clicking on these words. He's sold about 200,000 e-books this year at about $5 a piece. You do the math my friend, then come back and tell me the industry is dead as some other self-publishing authors say.
Being self-published isn't about writing. I know, right? It's about being able to MARKET and PROMOTE. If you can't do those two things then it doesn't matter how AWESOME your novel is: you're going to fail. There are authors out there who have written absolute CRAP and are still making money. Heck, there's published (as in with a publishing company) authors who have written absolute crap and through clever marketing are making hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Anyway, enough rambling about that. I wrote a million words this year or 13 novels and a bunch of short stories. The final, er, four novels, will be posted here every Friday if you'd like to learn more. I'll also be attempting to post things every Monday (or mid-week) for writing advice and tips. Both have their own sections so look up. Not at the ceiling silly, look at the top of this page for links.
Now, because I'm doing MilWordy, I made a thread about it over in the NaNo Forums that I hope to be checking every week (at the least) so if you're doing some kind of "write all year challenge" that can be the place to hang out.
Of course it wouldn't be MilWordy if I didn't have a plan so here's my plan (taken from another thread in the NaNo Forums, ha):
December: Read Face Snatcher and Hangings to get back into the series and make sure everything's consistent. I'm pretty sure it is as writing at the break-neck speeds tends to help me remember where I am/what I'm doing and keeps everything good. But yeah, I need to read through those to so I can be back in the grove.
January: MilWordy begins. This will be dedicated to writing Dryer and Witches.
February: Car Jacking and Hunter
March: Disease and Control
April: Wedding and Bloody X Mas
May: Pieces and Senses
June: The Tattooed Man which will finish the 13 novel crime fiction series. This would bring me to 11 novels in the year and 825,000 for MilWordy. I likely won't get two per month but, hey, I can dream. I am aiming to be done the series by the end of summer (August) at the very least.
July: Editing the above 11, or finishing them off.
August: Editing the above 11, or finishing them off.
September: Another novel. Not sure which one yet, hopefully the re-write of Tale of the Twins.
October: Another novel. Again, hopefully the re-write of book 2 of Tale of the Twins.
November: NANO! I'm going to go for 250K again. Maybe. At least 225K. So that's three novels, or one and a bunch of short stories. If I went the three novels route that would bring me to 16 novels in the year. I have a weird thing for numbers so I'd like to keep it at 14 rather than 16.
December 2014: Editing/re-reading/chilling till Jan 2015.
Until next time: Comments, questions, rants, rage and everything in between can be directed to the comments.