Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 Novel Series #12: The Tattooed Man

In the beginning there was light. There was likely also some kind of really loud booming sound, but mostly there was light. Anyway. No one knows what will happen in the end though there has been a lot of speculation. Hell, I wrote a whole anthology of short stories about it and plan to write at least one (other) full post-apocalyptic novel. Moving on: the following novel holds the title of being the last in a thirteen book series. That's right, THE LAST IN A 13 BOOK SERIES.


Sorry. I got excited. Honestly I'm still on a high from writing "The End" on this thing instead of "To be continued in *name of next novel here*"

It has taken 10 months (November 8ish 2013 until September 1 of 2014) to write it. That's 938,886 words NOT including the short stories that go with it (Memories) or the alternate zombie apocalypse novel I wrote between the 12th and 13th books. Yeah, that scared the crap out of me too.

I have reached the end of a 13 book series and this is the final summation for my first (and possibly only) attempt at thriller/mystery fiction set completely in the real world.

The Tattooed Man concludes the events started in Face Snatcher and continued in *deep breath*: Hangings, Dryer, Witches, Car Jacking, Hunter, Disease, Trust, Child, Bloody X Mas, Pieces, and Senses. It is the end of an era.

This is the 12th book I wrote for the year and I was kind of hoping it would be number 13 because, you know, 13th book written 13th in the year. Ha. Actually. It is the 13th book. I wrote a novel-length piece of fiction between all the books. HA!

Okay. Sorry. ONWARDS with the summary:

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Word Count: 65,818

Prompt: So, I was touring the NaNo threads like two years ago (maybe more) and was in the adoption section because I was procrastinating on something. I stumbled upon the adopt-a-villain thread and saw a description for "The Tattooed Man." I ran with it. Honestly, I didn't have the plot for this one until about four months ago, maybe less.

Main Characters: James Reeves, Mia Liu, Lucy McGregor, Sable Abella, Michael Brown, Gavriila "Karma" Saytakhmetov, and the Tattooed Man.

Minor Characters of Note: Chief of Police Patterson (who finally told me her first name), David Jones and his boyfriend Andy (I know, again), Jasmine McGregor, Simon Jenkens (who was supposed to be MMC3 in the whole series), Mike Clemmons (you'll remember him from Witches and Trust), and Sandra Gideon.

Summation: Mike Clemmons finds a body in the woods and suddenly the team finds the grave sites of 16 women, all victim of a mass murderer that no one's know about till, well, now.

High Points: Michael and Gavriila's relationship.

Low Points: Yeah, see those six named main characters? One of them dies. No I'm not telling you which one.


Memorable lines:

James let out a breath and wondered why he felt like something was going to go wrong. He wished he knew what that something was but he knew he wouldn't see it until it was about to happen. James only hoped they could be prepared.

"Son of a fucking bitch." McGregor muttered.
They'd hit a particularly large root or rock or something. As long as it wasn't the body she was somewhat happy. Hitting her head (against the roof of the CSI van she's driving through the woods) wasn't great but at least it wasn't the body. Screw optimism.
"You okay?" Sable asked.
"I've been better." McGregor said.
"I've never been glad that I'm short." Sable said. (She's five foot four inches)
"No, you're average height for a female. I'm freakishly tall. Ow." McGregor said. (Five foot ten inches.)

"The unsub poured some kind of metal over the victim's face." McGregor said.
"Metal?" James asked.
"Metal, kind of like how Drogo killed Viserys in A Game of Thrones, er, I've been re-watching, sorry. Anyway, yes, hot metal poured over the face staring from the forehead and ending at the mouth. Lots of pain until the metal got into the throat: a slow death." McGregor said.

"I am coming in December." Gavriila said. (Brown's Russian girlfriend)
Brown stopped typing and stared. She was grinning at him. They hadn't discussed anything about an actual visit. Apparently Gavriila didn't give a shit. Brown opened his mouth then closed it. He tried to find words but didn't know what to say.
"Are you okay?" Gavriila tried.
She was frowning.

"You broke my brain. Gimme a minute to get it back online." Brown said.
Then again, she was coming to Woodborough to see him. His girlfriend was coming from across an ocean to see him. Brown let out a long breath and stared at her smiling face.
"Michael?" Gavriila asked.
He really like the way she said his name. (D'aww)

"He's established, comfortable, unlikely to make a mistake, and will be exceptionally difficult to find. Adding to it, if we count those ten potentials as victims then we've got another mass murderer on our hands." James said (about the unsub).

"And we ran into some reporters downstairs asking about what we're working on. I glared, they took off, standard stuff." McGregor said.
James was glad McGregor was intimidating, really, but she didn't have to be so blasé about it. (Hehe)

"Hope doesn't exist, really. You make shit happen. You don't hope it'll happen."

"I should give you cooking lessons." James said.
"It'd probably go over just as well as me giving you shooting lessons." Mia said.

"Whoever he is, he's patient but not angry. There are no other signs of torture. He's basically strapping them down, pouring the pewter over their faces, waiting for them to stop moving then carrying them out into the woods to bury them. It's not a proper burial so he doesn't feel any remorse for what he's doing and like we've said, he's doing it because his significant other likely miscarried and can no longer have children. I don't think it will be any kind of doctor." James said.

"Do I dare ask how the case is going?" Amy questioned.
"You all ready did." James told her.
"Smart ass." Amy said.
"It's Doctor Smart Ass. I have a degree and everything." (Haha)

They were looking at him like he'd grown a second head. Brown wished he could screen cap real life. It took him a second to realize that was called taking a picture and he wished he could laugh. Maybe they did need the others to look over things.

"Yeah but I want the whole thing: the guy to kill the spiders, the father, the man in the bed all the time, ya know?" Jasmine (Lucy's sister) said.
"I can kill spiders." Lucy told her.
Jasmine almost spit out her wine. They started laughing and it took a while to settle.
"Naw, ya don't kill 'em, ya catch 'em, study 'em then let them go when they start freaking out about the woman poking at 'em. Ya scare spiders into leaving." Jasmine said.
Lucy laughed. Jasmine had a good point.
"Maybe that's why we haven't seen any in this place." Lucy said.
"Or Raven eats 'em all." Jasmine said.
Raven meowed from his position on Lucy's lap and Lucy petted him. It was probably a combination of both.
"Here's to hard cases and no good men." Jasmine said.
"Yeah, no shit. That's why I date girls." Lucy said.

"Woodborough Police Department, how may I direct your call?"
"To Hell I say, sorry. It's Dragon-God. I have a pizza coming, paid for." Brown said.
"Sorry, I can't direct you to Hell, Dragon-God. You could make an extension 666 and direct it to well, somewhere. And I'll ring you when it comes." Carol said.

Draken-Devil: On it like a fat kid on pie.
Agent0069: What he said but not as offensive to fat kids.
K: On it like a ninja ;) (He's Asian...*whistles innocently*)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Writing Tips #2: Contractions

The author I mentioned in Writing Tips #1 (yeah I know this is old, sorry. I suck at keeping track of things sometimes) had this thing with contractions. Taken out of writing context that sounds weird. Oh English, how I love you and your homonyms....

Anyway, in her prose there wasn't a single contraction to be found. Even her characters did not use many (if any) contractions. That's a feat in any kind of fiction.

This tip kind of expands on the first because if you don't use contractions in dialogue your characters will come off as too formal, arrogant or downright rude. Perfectly fine if you want this to happen but not so good if it's not what you're aiming for.

Some examples: in Tale of the Twins, Lysandra never contracts her words. Why is this important? My friend said to me the other day Lysandra comes off as a bit arrogant where Leopold is the more personable (and crazy) of the two. I explained that's how they're supposed to work: Lysandra being the super-organized, highly intelligent twin with Leopold being the complete nutcase. They balance each other out.

Xeros, Tashira, Ayla and Kien from The Cara Series all speak without using a single contraction and when they do use one, people around them know they're really angry or under a lot of stress. Why don't they? Well: Xeros and Tashira are both 10,000+ year old Mages who grew up in a time where being formal as a Mage was looked well upon. It was schooled into them. Ayla is the last remaining member of her family so she wants to come across as more capable (to rule), and highly intelligent. Kien because he's a prince born out of wedlock and wants to come across as capable of being King.

In Seer/Seeker Ice doesn't contract his words either. Why? Because he's cold, emotionless and arrogant. Sometimes he's downright rude, especially to his four-hour younger brother Dawn. Furthering that, one of the 'bad guys' avoids words that could contract at all making him seem a bit insane and arrogant. The vampire Magnus doesn't contract his words and comes across as arrogant and powerful.

How a person talks tells you a lot about that person. It's an especially effective way to get a character's personally to flow into their words in fiction. Accents, contractions, emphasizing certain words all tell reader's stories of what your character is like.

Listen to how people speak. Do most people use do not, cannot, did not, will not, I will? No? Then don't use them in character dialogue. If you know someone who doesn't use a lot of contractions then ask yourself why. Is it their upbringing? Their education? How do they speak? What's their candor and tone? How does their way of speaking make you feel?

You can use contractions in prose, especially if your prose is from the first person point of view because no one thinks that formally either. In third person it's touch and go. It depends completely on what is going on in the scene, what the POV character is like/how they talk, the tone of your book and your intended audience. I've used contractions in most of my novels and they're especially helpful if you want your writing to feel more "real." A quick Google search will tell you that contractions are accepted in prose but like everything else: it depends what is going on at the time.

I'll try to keep up numbered writing tips but no promises. I tend to get distracted by shiny things, writing, kittens, TV shows, and life in general. I'll eventually delve into showing vs telling, and Point of View. Probably a few other things. And if you missed it I'm trying to do a numbered writing series because hey, after writing 3 million words I must have learned something...right? RIGHT? Ahaha...

Until next time: thoughts, comments, rages, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments section.

Friday, December 12, 2014

2014 Novel Series #11: Zombies

Dealing with the fact you KNOW you're going to kill off a character and the death scene is coming is difficult. Adding dealing with crazy killers, gore, morbid deaths, a character with a form of DID/Multiple Personality Disorder, and a lot of emotional baggage from basically every main character and you tend to get a bit loopy.

So, how did I deal with all these horrible, upsetting emotions that would eventually lead to a main character dying? Why, I threw all my main characters into some kind of zombie apocalypse alternate dimension of course! What better way to deal with character death than to KILL THEM ALL OFF!

No seriously. I wrote the characters (major and minor) of the Detective Series into a zombie apocalypse. Then I killed EVERY. SINGLE. ONE...except one. Technically she died too. Kind of. It's complicated. Anyway, here's the summary:

Genre: Alternate Reality/End of World/Zombies

Word Count: 103,746

Prompt: There was this scene in Senses where McGregor and Sable are dissecting a cabin in the woods and Sable's thinking about Walkers/The Walking Dead and yeah...

Main Characters: James Reeves, Mia Liu, Lucy McGregor, Michael Brown, David Jones, Andy Smith (his boyfriend), Gavriila (Michael's girlfriend), and Ashley Reeves.

Minor Characters of note: Patterson, Cade Golding, Jasmine McGregor, Dominique, Lee, Sheryl, Harry, Katherine, Joey, John...too many to name...

Summation: Zombies. Nuff said.

High Points: I...huh. I basically went on a killing

Low Points: I basically went on a killing spree so...

The World: Ours but with zombies.

Memorable Lines:

"So, you're all seeing zombies on screen, right?"

James had a feeling McGregor had been planning this since she had first heard the word "zombie." When in doubt: trust the friend with the darkest mindset when the world ended.

"I'm prepared to die up here if I can give you guys an advantage." Michael said. (He's the tech who sees all.)

McGregor wondered if she could get her hands on a sword. Bludgeoning someone to death, second dead, took too damned long.

He had a backpack and a freaking broom. A broom. Who the Hell brought a broom to a zombie apocalypse?...The things (zombies) couldn't climb and they both (Mia and Lucy) had four magazines on them. And Andy had his fucking broom. (LOL, she can't get over the broom.)

"Um, time delay. There's a horde out back, was a horde, it's moving in." Michael said.

"How big a horde?" McGregor questioned.
Six were coming down the produce section.
"Run." Michael said.
That was a big motherfucking horde.

She couldn't afford to crack. People needed her.

"Better to be paranoid than dead."

"You don't have a magical penis that will make me straight." McGregor told him. (Yes, she's a lesbian.)

"You know how to use that?" McGregor asked (about a sword).
"Stick them with the pointy end." Ashley answered.
It was the first time since 10AM that McGregor smirked in amusement. She frowned a second later.
"We'll never know how A Song of Ice and Fire end. Damn George Martin." McGregor said.

"I didn't notice the scratch until a few minutes ago. I'm sorry."

"I'm thinking logically, not optimistically. Logic wins over optimism every fucking time."

"You were just like "Oh, we're dealing with zombies now? Cool, let's do it." Then did it like it was nothing."

"I'm glad I was an orphaned only child."
"Poor, poor, Batman."

"You know what's ironic?" McGregor asked.
"What?" James questioned.
"I'm pissed that I have no idea what happened on The Walking Dead."

Saturday, December 6, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014: The End

I'm about a week late on this for various reasons. I went to a concert on Sunday so I didn't get to sleep till about 2:30AM, worked the next day for 9AM then couldn't concentrate on anything Monday night. The past week has been crap work wise, writing wise, and everything in between wise. Yes. But hey, better late than never, right?

Final Word Count: 251,956. My NaNo board count is 252K and change but I'm not entirely sure why there's such a difference. I'm fairly sure I beat last year's 250K WC by about 1000 words. This is with missing two weeknights, and a weekend. Yeah...

Novels: Mists of Time Book 1: Discovery, Mists of Time Book 2: Seeking, and Mists of Time Book 3: Finale. Book 3 still has four chapters left in it though so the series isn't over.

Plot so far: The Mist Watcher started going crazy on the worlds he wants to destroy which means Blair, the Ala'gan I mentioned in the last NaNo Blog, Tenkondin, and a few other characters end up world hoping. They visit 8 other planets, one of which happens to be Cara, the world that has a four book series about it. The other is Ambrosia which not only got two chapters but is about the characters and world I've been fiddling with for almost my entire writing career. For those that don't know: almost 20 years. Yeah.

Final Thoughts: The last week was pretty stressful and reminded me why I had originally decided NOT to go for 250,000 words. But I hit 200K by day 24 (or so) and decided "why the heck not? Let's go for 250K again!" The fun part was I ended up getting 10K every night on the 27, 28, and 29 which gave me the final push. I didn't write Sunday (the 30th), didn't even turn on my computer actually, and worked two Saturdays which I normally don't do. Basically even with the few days I missed I beat last year's WC by 1000 words. I didn't think I could do it. I'm glad I did.

I don't regret being less active in the forums. Last year I spent at least an hour a day in there and with my writing speeds I lost about 60K words. I didn't have to be as stressed as I was last year if I hadn't been in the forums so long. I learned it this year. I also learned no matter what, there will always be someone who's faster than you who you will (no matter what) be jealous of. There will also be A LOT of people (more so if you're an over-achiever) who are way behind you and are angry/jealous/hateful towards you.

There was a thread made in one of the forums where people accused those with high word counts of cheating, bragging, arrogance, disrespect, and a slew of other things that frankly, is what makes people like me so self-conscious about saying how far I am. One person even went as far as to say it was going to be their last NaNo in part to the over-achievers. Another implied that OA-ers implied to others those others didn't have the determination of over-achievers.

The hatred is the main reason I decided to say "screw it" to the forums this year. When the event isn't actually happening the forums are a great place but when November and the camps come around, so do all those negative people that have driven OA-ers out of their regions, and out of the forums. I SHOULD NOT be afraid to enter the "NaNo Ate My Soul" forum with a high word count because I'll be accused of cheating or lying or whatever.

People seem to forget NaNo is a PERSONAL challenge. If I can hit 250K words in a month and you can't, it doesn't make you any less of a writer. It just means I write faster and (maybe) have been doing this for much longer. And yes, sometimes it DOES mean I'm more motivated, self-disciplined, and determined to get the extreme word goal. It still doesn't make you less of a writer.

The problem is I (and everyone else) can say it doesn't make you any less of a writer all I want but humans are a naturally competitive bunch so when someone sees someone else succeeding so (seemingly) effortlessly they'll get jealous and angry. Occasionally the success will motivate a person but it's rare.

But writing (playing sports, working out, singing, playing an instrument, dance, etc. etc, etc) relies on practice and experience. The more you write the faster you'll write and the more you'll learn about you as a writer which means the quicker you'll come up with GOOD ideas and BETTER first drafts.

I didn't wake up 20-ish years ago with the ability to write like I do today. My first drafts are solid (minus grammar and spelling cuz I'm not a pro) enough they don't read like a first draft. Re-write isn't in my vocabulary but YES, it used to be before. In fact, everything I wrote prior to 2009 has to be re-written. Hell, even some of the things I wrote from 2010 till now have to be re-worked. Not fully scrapped-start-from-scratch, but re-worked.

But after writing on and off for 20 years, learning about myself as a writer, PRACTICING THE CRAFT, reading, and having the decades of experience: I feel confident in giving a FIRST DRAFT to someone to read. And those someone's usually come back with "I want to keep reading your writing," "THIS IS AWESOME!" "I can't wait for the rest!"

So yes, I can pump out 250K words of quality writing in a month. Maybe you can't but I'm not any better than you. Anyone, ANYONE who takes on the task of writing a NOVEL is a winner in my book. And even if you didn't get the 50K in a month: you're still a winner because YOU WROTE SOMETHING. Even if it was 1,000 words, it was 1,000 words more than what you had on Oct 31. The simple fact is YOU WROTE SOMETHING. Now all you have to do is keep writing something.

Until next time, rants, rage, questions and everything in between can be directed to the comments.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Character Interview: Ryker and Olivia from "Burnt"

Ryker and Olivia are the King and Queen of Seiovania, father and mother to Darius and Rowan.

This is the final interview for Burnt: The Story of the Fire King, well so far. I might change my mind at a later date. Again: I am the interviewer and I'm going to try not to reveal too much. Yes this is a duel interview so "R" is Ryker and "O" is Olivia. Onward!

Basic Information: Ryker Lupine
Age: 28 and up over the course of the book
Occupation: King of Seiovania
Parents: Both are dead and he never really told me their names.
Siblings: Four year younger brother Ryden
Children: Darius and Rowan

Basic Information: Olivia Lupine
Age: 24 and up over the course of the book
Occupation: Queen of Seiovania
Country: Seiovania, originally whatever country was almost destroyed by an Ice Mage centuries ago.
Parents: Dead

Siblings: None, that she told me of.
Children: Darius and Rowan

Physical Description: Ryker Lupine
Height: Six feet and seven inches or so
Weight: 300lbs of muscle
Hair color: Black, thick, and to the shoulders. Starts graying at the temples
Eye color: Black
Skin tone: Pale
Other: Thick bushy beard...and if this sounds a lot like Darius you know why.

Height: five feet and seven inches
Weight: 135 pounds, slender
Hair color: Golden/blonde
Eye color: blue
Skin tone: tanned (think a bit lighter than Spanish decent)
Other: Huh. None.

The Questions
What is your idea of perfect happiness? R: My people's happiness. O: My children's happiness. *Look at each other*

Um, okay. What about your own happiness? R: A king is not a king if he does not have people. If I do not try and make my people happy then I have no people. O: I agree with my husband, of course, but I would prefer our children to have some form of happiness before taking on the responsibility of the throne, especially Darius. *sighs* And Rowan is such a sensitive child.

What's the major differences between your children? Physical differences aside of course. R: Darius is powerful, serious, and thoughtful. Not to say that Rowan is incapable of deep thought but Rowan would rather play than take lessons. I know Rowan pays attention to the lessons though. Rowan is stubborn, sensitive, and a bit emotional at times. O: I agree with that but I do not think Darius is as strong as everyone thinks. Physically, yes, but he is going through overmuch and it is difficult for him. Rowan, so, *sighs* is not meant for Kingship.

Really? Why not? R: *looks at Olivia but nods* Rowan would come to resent the throne because of certain circumstances and would destroy Seiovania, though not intentionally. Darius, he can learn to control everything in his life and take the burdens necessary when he becomes King. Rowan cannot. O: *nods, wipes a tear from one eye and Ryker takes her hand.*

It must be difficult to raise two exceptionally different children and be proper rulers. R: It is and we cannot get into it much as it would give overmuch away. *grins* But the Kingship always comes first then everything else. It is difficult to be a parent when you are not there. O: But it cannot be helped. We all have duties that we sacrificed ourselves for and those duties are important. We would let down many people if we did not do as we are supposed to.

If you could do something differently, what would it be? R: *thinks* I do not think I would do anything differently. It would all lead to the same circumstances and there was no better way to handle certain things as they came. O: You would not take back certain things at your coronation? *grins slyly* R: *flushes then smirks* No, not even that. I would do that twice over. O: *giggles*

Ah, yes, that. *laughs* One last question: What is your motto? R: Strength, integrity, and love: the Lupine motto. O: *grins* They are good words to live by.

*stares then smirks* Right. Thanks. R: You are most welcome. O: And to you.

The King and Queen of Seiovania, parents of Darius and Rowan the main characters in Burnt: The Story of the Fire King. If you really want to know what happened at Ryker's coronation, well, you're going to have to help me get this thing published.

Until next time: questions, comments, rage, rants, and whatever else can be directed to the comments. Don't forget to check out my Kickstarter and help a writer out.

Friday, November 21, 2014

NaNoWriMo2014: Day 21

Tradition, blah, blah, weekly update on NaNo-ing. Let's get things moving, shall we?

Word Count: 165,062. So, I technically only need 84K in order to hit last year's goal of 250K. Which would be entirely doable if I still had two full weekends of writing, which I don't. I only have one weekend of writing which if I'm lucky will give me 40K. If I'm lucky. Yeah. I likely won't get the 250K this year but I'm going to keep writing like a mad woman to see how much I get. Cuz. NaNo.

Words Needed: For the 250K: 84,938. For my official goal of 200K: 34,938 which is way more manageable. Also, fun fact, I'm 1200 words away from hitting last year's Milwordy finishing WC which means by the end of November I'll be at least 33K over last years MilWordy ending WC. Yes I am insane. I think it's been established, no?

Novels: Mists of Time Book 1: Discovery and Mists of Time Book 2: Seeking. I'll start MoT Book 3: Finale sometime next week I'm sure.

Plot so far: We now know why the Mist Watcher isn't acting so kindly towards you know, guarding the Mists. And we know why Blair is the only Mist Watcher from earth and what it means to the Mists to have a planet like earth existing. Oh and Blair's moved into an apartment with xer boyfriend. Last night Blair lost xer virginity which is kind of a big deal. Blair also realized xe can't live without said BF which means I might kill off said BF. Oops?

Thoughts: I'm perfectly happy having sacrificed the forums to write. It's not that I don't miss the forums, I do, but finding if someone's responded to me directly and seeing so many new threads a day is exhausting when I know I have to pump out words, work out, make jewelry and still try to get an episode of House MD in before midnight.

I've also sacrificed on the making jewelry and working out this week. Tomorrow I won't be going to the gym but I will be working most or all day which I'm not pleased about. I never signed up for working weekends but we're moving so crap has to be cleared out of the new building, etc.

Anyway, the novel is progressing smoothly but all of the final book will have to be reworked as I compensate for the bad guy's motivation, subplots and other odds and ends that have popped up.

I also played up the book-ception some more by making some minor supporting characters races from the World of Cara, more specifically an Ala'gan and a Tal'kan woman. I've a feeling they're going to appear in Book 3 somewhere. Thankfully they're not in the Cara series or it would get all kinds of messed up.

Dyns' character isn't as fun as I thought he would be. He and Blair were supposed to have a closer relationship but Blair ended up becoming better friends with Tenkondin who's about to be kicked out of the plot for a short time. The good news is Dyns is foreshadowing his last line in Book 3 which is great because now that last line won't come out of nowhere.

In short: everything's tightening up better than I expected.

Until next time, rants, rage, questions and everything in between can be directed to the comments. Don't forget about the Kickstarter Campaign for Burnt: The Story of the Fire King. Eighteen days to go and I need help. Mental help, I'm sure. ;)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

To be a Writer

There is a question that normally pops up around NaNoWriMo time that always makes me think. It's usually something along the lines of: "Are you a real writer?" or "You know you're a writer when..."

I all ready know I'm a writer and I believe that the reason is different for every writer out there. It's just like how the way I write won't work for everyone else, the reason I write or how I know I'm a writer will be different for everyone else.

Despite this I think there are a few things that every writer has in common.

Perseverance: You can also call it determination. It's the simple fact that even if we're rejected or we fail that we'll keep trying no matter what. We'll plaster our walls with rejection letters before giving up on getting a book published and if we can't get it traditionally published we'll work on being the best damned self-published author we can be. And if we fail at that, Hell, we'll STILL keep writing because at some point we will write a book that someone will take a chance on. It could also be called sheer madness. (I jest)

Ambition: This is the WILL to succeed and goes hand in hand with perseverance. It's the desire to succeed and sometimes it's the only thing that will keep you going.

Tough Skin: I don't mean this literally. I mean that most of writers either have or develop (or have to develop) a hard outer shell so they can take criticism without spiraling into depression or whatever. It takes a strong person to keep coming back after negative feedback and trying again.

Imagination: I think this is pretty self-explanatory. If you don't have a creative mind it's going to be difficult to get into something that begs for originality and creativity. Writers are constantly asking: "What if?"

Courage: You think it's easy to put your work, something you slaved over for months or years out there and not be nervous? It doesn't matter if it's the first time or the 50th time there is still that little voice in the back of an author's head that says: "What do I do if they don't like it?"

Always writing: If you say "I think I've written my last book" then you're probably not cut out for being a writer. We never stop and when we try to stop we come back. Stephen King tried to retire once (maybe twice) and it never happened. Writing isn't a job. It's something that is a part of you that you physically cannot stop. You know those withdrawal symptoms drug abusers get when they come off the drug? It's the same thing that happens to writers when they try to stop writing. It just doesn't work. The only reason a writer stops writing is because they physically can no longer write.

A touch of insanity: Really, how sane are you when you become different people on occasion to get into the mind of your new MC? And how sane are you when you've got an "Inner Editor" otherwise known as this person in your head who keeps telling you how to write or what to write and that you suck?

Blood, Sweat and Tears: Sometimes literally. You will cry at rejection letters or horrible critics. You will sweat your ass off when you send your book to an editor wondering if it's good enough. You might even bleed from stress inducted hernias. Doesn't that sound like fun? But, it's all part of that desire (ambition), determination (perseverance), and daring (courage).

When you think about it, all writers are the same. We all have this drive to keep going, we take insults, we bring to life strange worlds, we put ourselves out there, we don't stop and we're a bit nuts. Most of us are also sleep deprived, caffeine addicted, have an animal as a best friend, and like to be alone with our words. But that makes us sane.

Until next time rants, rage, questions, and everything in between can be directed to the comments. Don't forget to check out my Kickstarter Campaign to get Burnt: The Story of the Fire King out there.

Friday, November 14, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014: Day 14

And keeping with tradition, here's my weekly update on how the NaNo-ing is going. Remember, I've got a campaign to get Burnt: The Story of the Fire King out and into the world so eventually the things I've written for NaNo (and between NaNo events) will be published as well. Eventually. Anyway, check the campaign out here.

Word Count: 104, 771. Last year I tried (and got) 250K. My official goal this year is 200K...though I've been seriously considering trying for 250K again. I could get to the halfway point on it by tomorrow. I'm only 16K off...

Words Needed: 95,229 for 200K, 145,229 for the 250K if I decide to do it. We'll see how it goes this weekend.

Novels: Mists of Time Book 1: Discovery was completed on Day 9 and clocks in at 91,771 words. I started Mists of Time Book 1: Seeking on Day12 but planned 5K towards it on Day 11. And yes I counted the planning because I will be replacing said planning with actual story right in the Word Doc for the novel. So there. :P

Plot so far: Blair has a boyfriend, xe's come to terms with being a Time Knight/saving the world but now there's someone trying to destroy the Mists. The Mists is the plane that separates all the worlds from other worlds and all the worlds from the Mist Beasts which are out to destroy everything. So, someone destroying the Mists puts the entire universe in danger. Blair, Dyns (Blair's tutor), and Tenkondin (the perverted tentacle being) talked to a Keeper (one of the 12 council members in the Mists) who referred them to the Mist Watcher (the leader of the Mists) but the Mist Watcher doesn't seem interested in doing anything about said person destroying the Mists. This is weird because it's the Mist Watcher's job to, you know, watch the Mists and make sure no one's breaking them.

Thoughts: The series has become a real life drama about growing up in combination of "hero must save the world" story since Blair is living a double life: one on earth and one in the Mists. We'll get to see how Blair deals with xer broken family, xer budding love life, xer BFF getting dumped and emotional trauma there as well as figuring out why someone is destroying the Mists and why the Mist Watcher doesn't seem to care. Oh and beating all the Mists Beast. Then there's the whole applying to university issue. Blair has a lot on xer plate...

I've fallen in love with Tenkondin's character. He was supposed to be a minor, comic relief type but now he's become a third main character. Also, two other characters have decided to be important main characters, one who wasn't planned at all and the other who was supposed to do some snooping around then die.

Funnily enough, I did a kind of book-inception in which I mention races and people I wrote about in a different series in this one. The series in question is the Cara series which I wrote back in 2012. The races are the elemental races of the Ala'gan, Tal'kan, Mil'nee, and Nil'shay. I also mentioned the Female Main Character in passing thanks to an Ala'gan. I also mentioned the world of Ambrosia which is a story I've had in my head for about 15 years now and haven't started. It'll be the last thing I write. ;)

I find it funny this book can become a kind of connector book between everything I've written. But, most of my stories occur on earth so, yeah. Though with all the different races I'm making up I may decide to write a few novels based on the various different beings mentioned in this series. It'll be fun.

I've also noticed I'm not participating in forums so much. I know why though. Basically I'm using every ounce of my time to write, go to the gym, make jewellery, watch House, bug my cat, make dinner, and relax. I'm not sacrificing as much as I did last year to participate in the forums and write. In fact, I sacrificed participating in the forums so much. I'm not sure how to feel about it yet.

Now? I'm off to write the next chapter. I'm planning on getting to 110K before midnight tonight so we'll see how it goes. Until next time: rants, rage, questions, comments, and everything else can be directed to the comments.

Friday, November 7, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014: Day Seven

In case you didn't know I did a live-blog update thing on Day One of NaNo. You can find it here. In keeping with tradition, this is my weekly update on how my NaNo-ing is going.

Word Count: 60,740

Goal: 200,000. This is 50K lower than last year's goal because the quarter of a million (as fun as it is to say) nearly killed me. I'd rather have fun writing then kill my motivation when panicking about being behind. So yeah, I reduced my goal and I'll likely forever keep a 200,000 word goal every year I do NaNo until I can write full time.

Words Needed: 139,260

Novels: Mists of Time Book 1: Discovery.

Plot so far: Blair has been forced out of xer house and is now living on xer own. Oh, and Blair thought xe was going insane but xe's not. Turns out Blair's a Time Knight and has to protect the world/universe. Oh, Blair's bi-gender, so physical male who occasionally feels female and dresses/acts according to those feelings. Yes, Blair does prefer female pronouns when xe feels female and wears a padded bra to give the illusion of breasts as well as special underwear to hide her downstairs. No, Blair does not want SRS surgery as even if xe becomes physically female xe will feel male on some days and want to reflect it in xer look and how xe acts. Blair's also 18. So this is kind of a coming of age story with magic thrown in because ooooo--OOOO...magic! :D

Thoughts: I was doing great until I read a thread in the NaNo Ate my Soul section of the forums. The thread was about how people were unmotivated because of over-achievers like myself. One even went so far to say that this was his last NaNo in part because of over-achievers. At first: anger. Then, well, I got upset.

I will freely admit: IT UPSETS ME TO KNOW PEOPLE OUT THERE FEEL LIKE CRAP BECAUSE OF MY HIGH WORDCOUNT. I know how demotivating seeing someone with a higher word count than you can be. Hell, even as an OAer I STILL FEEL BAD WHEN SOMEONE HAS A HIGHER WORD COUNT THAN ME. Here's what I wrote in said thread and I'll stick by it:

Yeah, I have 60K. Yeah, I'm a regular OAer. Does that mean I'm better than you? Nope. Am I going to flaunt it in your face and call you slow? Nope. You're awesome for simply taking the challenge and writing. Even if you don't get the 50K you wrote SOMETHING. That's what matters.

Anyway. Threads like this kill my motivation. Why? Because it upsets me to think something I can do (and have practiced hard to get here) makes someone else upset enough that they want to leave or give up.

So what if I can hit 60K by day six? I've been writing for almost 20 years. That's almost 2/3rds of my life. I know what works for me and what doesn't. I know my limits. I know how hard I can push. I've dedicated countless hours to this craft and written over 3 million words in the past three years. I've practiced writing for quality and quantity in tandem. I've learned to edit as I go. I know what to do so I can hit the word counts I do. I also have no life to speak of so all my free time is dedicated to writing. And so what? I'm not better than you. I still suffer from the writing blues and I still struggle with plotting and getting the motivation to start writing. I still have nights, like tonight, where I don't write a single word because I'm just...bleh.

I can guarantee every OAer was in your shoes at some point in their writing life. Heck, some of the OAers are stunned at other OAers because of even higher word counts. I'm at 60K. There are others at double my word count. Am I jealous? HELL YES. Do I care? Not really. I know I can't physically get to that amount unless I'm not working most of my days and even then I'd be killing myself to attempt it so I'm not going to bother. I'm going to focus on my story and what I can do, not what someone else can do or if they're doing it faster.

NaNo isn't about racing to the 50K or getting over 50K before anyone else. It's not about being better because you have a higher word count. It's about setting out to write a novel. It's about having fun. It's about accomplishing your own personal goals. Screw what everyone else is doing. Focus on what you're doing. And if it really kills your motivation then make it a challenge. Decide that you're going to push your own limits to see how high you can go.
WRITE FOR YOU. This is YOUR challenge, not anyone else's. Don't make this a competition because we are all the same. We're all writers struggling to get our stories out. We all have our own personal challenges and demons to face. We all bleed the same red, shed the same tears, and have the same hand pains when we push really hard. How high your word count is and how quickly you get there means nothing in the grand scheme of things. What matters is you accomplishing your own personal goals and NO ONE can take those accomplishments away from you.

SO CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR WORD COUNT...whatever it may be because YOU are awesome for getting it.

End rant on Over-achieving, etc. The novel itself is going well. I've been having fun with the story, Blair especially as it's awesome to see xer growing and becoming more xerself. Xe couldn't do it at home and now xe's happy. Well, happy-ish.

I've also been (just) informed that I'm representing bi-gender well. This has made me UBER excited as I was nervous about tackling a bi-gender character when I'm not bi-gender myself. But, everything seems to be good with Blair's characterization so I can continue on how I'm going without worrying. Thank you to em--dash and everyone here for that. :)

Until next time, rants, raves, questions, comments and everything in between can be directed to the comments. And don't forget to check out my kickstarter campaign to get Burnt: The Story of the Fire King out there if you feel so inclined.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Novel Series #13: Burnt: The Story of the Fire King

No, I didn't forget about the last two books for the mystery/thriller series. And no I didn't write Burnt after finishing Senses. Zombies (Novel Series 11) was written in the first half of August. The Tattooed Man, the last book in the Thriller/Mystery series and Novel Series #12 was written in the last half of August and first day of September. Burnt was written in the rest of September.

I had to say "SCREW THE ORDER" because this summary is needed before the other two with the Kickstarter campaign and all.

Yes: there is a Kickstarter campaign to get this thing published. Why? Lots of reasons. Check out the campaign page to see why. I'll wait. Back? Cool. Let me tell you about Burnt

Genre: High have NO IDEA how happy I am to type that.

Word Count: 115,834

Prompt: The movie Frozen. I watched it then a couple of days later thought: what if it was two brothers and fire power? It morphed into an exploration about acceptance on a whole bunch of levels with a publically transgender character. There's also a witch. And the Black Plague. No talking snowman though, sorry.

Summation: Darius discovers something about himself that can destroy the Lupine line and any chances he has at being the King of Seiovania. This secret leads to his seclusion and eventually to Rowan (his younger sibling) discovering a secret...

High Points: Rowan in general because of the best one-liners and Rowan was freaking awesome to write.

Low Points: When Darius turns 18, Rowan 16.

The World: Middle ages type setting where magic of all kinds is considered evil therefore anyone who shows the slightest bit of magical powers is killed on sight. There are no racial prejudices. People of Color are Kings just as non-PoC are Kings. Servants are non PoC and so long as you're not the heir to a throne or the one who will continue the family name then you can be whatever you want with whoever you want. Basically: so long as you're the second son you can be with a man or become a woman if you want. But if you're the first son: you're stuck marrying a woman and being a man. Some people are totally fine with this, others: not so much.

Religion is singular, as in everyone believes in the same God. In other countries the rules about being with whoever and being whatever are a bit more lax. For instance, in another country the heir to the line (or throne) can be with a man so long as he takes a wife to produce heirs.

Healers aren't considered evil because they're usually devote to a religion similar to Catholic/Christian and apparently Jewish seventy years prior to events in the novel. Rowan will tell us a bit about that.

Memorable Lines:
I did something a bit different here. This is the prologue/first chapter of Burnt: The Story of the Fire King. Yes, sneak-peak, unedited of course, but sneak peak:

Prologue: Magic

"He burned it all to the ground because he could not control the evil flowing through his veins. From the ashes of our ancestral country Seiovania; came a new hope and a new understanding of magic. Mages were not gods. They were not able to control their talents. They had to be caged and controlled as to prevent Seiovania and the rest of the world from being destroyed. Do you understand, Darius?"

Darius looked up at his father, a giant of a man to Darius' six season old frame. Father was watching him and waiting for an answer. This lesson was important. All of father's lessons were important though as one day Darius would be King like Father.

"I understand, father." Darius said.

Father smiled through his thick bushy beard and patted Darius lightly on the head. Darius felt a surge of relief at answering the way he was expected to. He did understand the horror magic could cause but surely not every mage was born evil. Some of them had to be able to control their power. Why would they exist if they couldn't?

It was too much for Darius to consider. Father shifted on the stiff wooden chair and tucked some of the pitch black hair behind his ears. Darius had father's coloring: dark hair, dark eyes, and pale skin. Mother was fair of hair, blue of eye, and tan of skin.

"I am glad you understand, Darius. Understanding makes it a bit easier to lock up the magic users that are born even if they are children no older than you." Father said.

Darius hated to think there were children of his age locked in the dungeons because they had magic. The dungeons were a frightening place deep below the castle with little light, damp stones, no beds, and rats.

There were a lot of crawling things, things Darius did not want to think about. Any child down there would never sleep easily. Darius wondered if it was fair for someone his age to be trapped down there because of something they could not prevent.

But, father, grand-father, great-grand-father, every man in the Lupine line, and the priests said that magic was evil. It bent the will of the world in ways only God should and it was unnatural. No mortal man should be able to wield the power of God. Darius had to believe. At least it's what he was told.

"We do not hear of many magic users anymore. I suppose they could be hiding well but if God has decided to stop blessing us with magic then we have done what is right." Father said.

Darius nodded. There was no arguing against it, not in his six season old mind anyway. If mages were disappearing then they were doing the right thing in killing them.


Father chuckled as Darius turned. Rowan toddled into the room as quickly as his legs could carry him. Darius smiled at his two season younger brother who had turned out looking like their mother.

"Let's play!" Rowan said.

Both boys looked up to their father and father nodded. With that Darius took Rowan's hand and led him out of father's study. Darius only turned back once to see father rub his temples under the heavy gilded crown and go back to work. It seemed a King's work was never done and Darius did not know if he was up for that kind of task.

"Let's find Xander." Rowan said.

"Let's." Darius said.

Darius smiled as Rowan pulled harder trying to get Darius to speed up. Xander was one of the servant's boys, the same age as Darius and one of the best hider-and-seekers the castle had. Besides, hide and seek was always better with more than two people. Darius followed Rowan out in the main hallway and figured thinking about being the King of Seiovania could wait.

Later - Chapter One:

"Fine. What do you want to play?" Darius questioned.

Rowan grinned happily at having got his way. Darius knew he would eventually have to stop giving into his brother but he was too tired to care.

"I wanna see the fire." Rowan said.

Yeah, that's right, Rowan wants to see Darius create fire with magic, you know, the thing that's illegal. And since I've been saying there's a trans character and Darius is the obvious mage, we can figure out who's going to be transitioning, right? ;)

Check out the Kickstarter campaign if you want to read this thing in print (or on screen) sometime next year. Until next time: questions, comments, rage, rants, and whatever else can be directed to the comments.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

2014 NaNo Day One

HELLO FELLOW WRITERS! *taps microphone* This thing on? Yeah? Good.

If you don't know me here's a brief intro:
  • I'm a writer
  • Some would call me a prolific writer for the sheer amount of words I write but others have written more in a month than I do in 8 months. So there. ;)
  • That said: I've written 3.6 million words in three years, won three NaNos by at least double the goal needed, and won four camps with double my goal for the month.
  • I've written 34 books and tons of short stories
  • I've been writing for about 20 years
  • I'm insane, generally
  • I'm doing a Kickstarter campaign to get one of my novels published: check it if interested
You know the basics and can check the rest of this blog for more if you're so inclined. All you really need to know is that I write. A lot.

I also decided I'd do something different for this year's NaNo since it falls on a Saturday. I will be honest and say I'm writing this part of the post on October 6. The rest of this post will be written throughout the day today (November 1) as we journey through Day One of NaNo together.

That's right. I'm going to be giving an hour (or two hour) play by play on how many words I've written and how I'm doing, mentally. You'll get to virtually hang out with me live all day, more so if you follow my Twitter account.

So you know: I'm planning to write a trilogy this NaNo, or at least a good portion of one. At least the first two books. Because again: I'm freaking nuts. The basics:

Blair is an 18 year old bi-gender biological male who isn't accepted by xer family for wanting to remain physically male and thinking of xerself as both male and female. Blair also only has one friend who's moved away for university and (s)he works in a minimum wage job and has no idea what to do in life. Oh and there isn't a LGBTQ friendly place within bussing distance. In short: Blair has problems.

Blair gains more problems as when (s)he turns 18, xer father either wants xer to pay rent or move out. As if that's not enough Blair starts seeing things that no one else can see. Because a non-accepted LGBTQ person isn't enough for a novel on its own for me. I gotta give it steroids, you know?

Anyway, Blair seeing thing isn't mentally related. Nope. (S)He's magical in today's world but (s)he just doesn't know it. (S)He's also The Hero of the story so yeah, there's going to be a "Baddie" (s)he's got to beat up to save the world. And if you re-read if you haven't noticed: Blair uses BOTH pronouns to describe xerself so it'll be interesting to work that shift into a series well.

We'll get to learn about Blair, well you will anyway. I probably know a lot but characters change, especially Blair. It'll be awesome either way. That's probably a funny sentence if you re-read it. Let's move on, shall we? And let's remember that all the below is written AFTER I've worked on Blair's story for an hour (or so).

The Novel: Mists of Time Book One: Discovery

Hour One: Saturday November 1, 2014, 7:30AM-7:50AM and 10AM-11AM
Starting Word Count for the month: 2023
Word Count: 6044 which means 2616 written from 10-11. :)
Pros: We got to meet Blair and get a glimpse of what he deals with on a regular bases. And yes, he's a he right now for these two chapters at least. That might change when tomorrow comes for him.
Cons: His dad's an ass and people miss-gender Blair a lot...
Issues: I think I had a few too many "that's" but I'll catch 'em in editing.
Plot Fun: Blair's seeing things, just flashes of shadows and what not which is exactly what's supposed to happen. Oh, two college kids couldn't pay for their groceries so Blair had to work through them panicking.
Best Line: Minor Character: "Listen lady, I've got things to do," Blair: "First: we all do. Second: I'm not a lady."
Last Sentence Wrote: He really did need more sleep.

Hour Two: 11:09AM-11:58AM
Word count: 8,430. Words written: 2,359
Pros: Blair's going crazy nicely. ;)
Cons: Blair's family life sucks.
Issues: I think I made Blair's family life suck too much without explanation.
Plot fun: Eh, not much fun this time around, sorry.
Best Line: "Oh yeah, I'm so scared of being grounded. I don't have a life outside of working and cleaning up after the rest of you. What's dad going to do? Tell me I can't go out till 9PM anymore? I don't do that anyway. You can't threaten me but there are lots of things I can do to make your life miserable. So again: stop taking my shit." Blair to his younger sister Natalie who took one of his shirts and ruined it. She does this lots. Blair's also the house-slave of sorts because of reasons that will be revealed later.
Last Sentence Wrote: He was sleep deprived not insane.

Hour Three: 1:00PM-1:20PM, 2:10PM-2:50PM
So I had to take a break because my furnace stopped working and I had to call them in. They came, they fixed and I have heat in my house again. Anyway:
Word Count: 10,949. Words Written: 2518
Pros: Blair decided she felt like a girl this chapter. It was fun.
Cons: Blair is gentler and less expressive as a girl. It's going to get confusing I'm sure.
Issues: Blair's boss is an ass.
Plot fun: Blair telling her sister off for going through Blair's things. Mwahaha.
Best line: Natalie: "Fine. You're such a bitch." Blair: "You've learned from the best."
Last Sentence Wrote: Natalie's eyes went wide before she slinked off, obviously not liking the potential topic of conversation.

Hour Four: 3PM- 4PM
I'm all ready on chapter four. I forgot how much fun it was to write this quick. :D
Word Count: 12,881. Words Written: 1932. I had to do some research. It took ten minutes. Oops.
Pros: Blair (as a girl) talked back to her dad which she's never done before as a female. It's normally her "male" half that speaks up more.
Cons: Blair's sister is trying to understand her more. This is potentially bad because the whole world is supposed to be against Blair. If Blair's sister is trying to understand her then Blair has an ally outside of her BFF and I might accidently kill the sister. Oops? We'll see where it goes.
Issues: I keep feeling like I'm using "that" too often. :(
Plot fun: Blair dressing in denim short shorts with mesh at the hem and a crop top because she can.
Best line: "I'm not changing. This is who I am." Blair to her father when her father says he's waiting for Blair to grow out of this phase. Yeah, not going to happen.
Last Sentence Wrote: Thanks.

Hour Five: 4:15PM - 5PM
Word Count: 14,427. Word Written: 1546 not bad for under an hour.
Pros: Blair deciding to move out.
Cons: This line: "The family doctor hadn't wanted to talk to Blair since Blair started dressing as he felt (either male or female) when he woke up. It was going on five years now and Blair was sure no doctor would touch him unless he was dying."
Issues: I was getting distracted. Oops?
Plot fun: Blair being attracted to his potentially new landlord
Best line: "He wasn't about to conform so he could be treated like a real person. It wasn't fair he had to conform to make other people feel comfortable.
Last Sentence Wrote: Blair nodded in thanks and they got off the elevator at the third floor. (Kinda boring...)
Now I'm off to have dinner, go to the gym, then check on my friend's cat. I'll be writing come 7PM or so. See you then my pretties...mwahaha!

Hour Six: 7:30PM-8:30PM
Yes it did take me two and a half hours to eat, wash dishes, work out, check on my friend's cat, get into my pj's and settle in front of the computer. So sue me. ;)
Word Count: 17,130. Words Written: 2,703
Pros: Blair finding a place to live quickly.
Cons: Blair seeing more corporal visions that no one else sees.
Issues: Blair's mom regrets Blair leaving which wasn't supposed to happen. Actually, I think his whole family regrets it even though his dad is forcing him out so Blair will stop "playing dress up"'s words.
Plot fun: Anne, one of Blair's co-workers is being friendly. She might betray Blair later. We'll see. ;)
Best line: "I'm not playing dress-up and I'm done being your slave." Blair to his dad after his dad says he only pushed Blair so hard so Blair will stop playing dress up. Um, no, your son is bi-gender which means sometimes Blair feels like a girl and will dress accordingly.
Last Sentence Wrote: "Hey, non-taxable money, free pizza, and I get to piss off someone's parents. It's an all around win." Anne to Blair when Blair asks why Anne is helping Blair move out.
And now: a short break to fix a few things (yes I edit during NaNo so there :P) then back to writing.

Hour Seven: 8:50PM -9:50PM
Word Count: 20,243. Word Written: 3113 BOO-YEAH! OVER 3K and a palindrome!
Pros: Blair and Tim connecting.
Cons: Rob touching Blair's ass when Blair doesn't want it.
Issues: OMFG MY WRISTS HURT! This is what happens when I go from not-writing for a month to writing over 10K in a day.
Plot fun: Blair expressing her emotions so nicely and now hearing things that aren't there.
Best Line: Blair: "I'm physically a guy." Tim (new neighbour/friend/crush): "I'm bisexual." WIN!
Last sentence Wrote: "I should probably get back to the house before my parents start rooting through my stuff."

Hour Eight AKA The FINAL HOUR: 10PM-10:45PM
Yeah, you read that right: the FINAL HOUR. I'm tired, giddy and I'm sure I'm going to be correcting all the words for at least an hour tomorrow, perhaps more but I don't care. I just wrote 20K in eight hours which is something I've NEVER done before. It's always taken me at least 10 hours to get to 20K, sometimes more so happy? RIGHT HERE! Anyway, the summary:
Word Count: 22,160. Words Written: 1,920
Pros: I, it went too quick. Ahaha.
Cons: Blair meeting the other MC without realizing she was meeting him. Wait. I think this is a pro because it becomes a really cool subplot. I can't think I'm too giddy.
Issues: Me wrists. I is issues.
Plot Fun: the new subplot about Blair seeing the other MC before actually meeting him. :D
Best Line: Blair: "Well right now I'm your other daughter and until you can accept that I don't want the keys (to her parent's house which she's moving out of)." Dad: "If you walk out that door Friday then don't expect to be able to walk back in until you've grown out of this phase (being bi-gender is so not a phase, jerk.)" Blair: "Then don't expect me to ever walk through that door again after I leave Friday." GO BLAIR!
Last Sentence wrote: Help, please?

Okay, so, I added two chapters because my chapter by chapter planning was more paragraphs instead of sentences like it normally is so I had to split a bunch of things. This worked out great because I only had thirteen chapters planned and now I have fifteen. I also modified a bunch of subplots in ways I can't remember right now (snort) and added a few subplots and potential subplots for later books which is awesome.

My brain hurts, my wrists and fingers hurts, but I'm still wide awake and oddly I want to keep writing. I'm not because it's getting late and I'd like to get at least 6.5 hours for my attempt at 30K before 10PM tomorrow night. At 10PM I will watch the Walking Dead as a treat, assuming I hit the 50K before then. I also have to run at least an hours worth of errands as well as cook dinner and go to the gym so instead of the planned 12 hours of writing I'm down to like 10. Again.

Oh, also, final word count for the day: 20,137. Why is it different from the WC of the story? Cuz I started with 2,023 words of planning I'm not counting towards my NaNo goal but happen to be in the same document my WIP is in. Oops? Sorry but I work better this way. ;)

Thanks for hanging out and joining me in the craziness. I'm not the only one who did something like this, just go hit up the Over-Achievers thread in the NaNo forums and you'll be surprised to see people might actually have completed the 50K goal right now.

I'm going to watch some House MD (maybe), update my word count (obviously) and back up the WIP (MOST DEFINITELY). Rants, rage, questions, comments, and everything in between can be directed to the comments. Thank you and good night.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Writing Tip: Butt in Chair AKA NaNo Is Coming

The weather is getting colder, the ugg boots are making appearances, and the leaves are becoming colorful. That's right: National Novel Writing Month is coming. In fact; it's only three days away. What? Did you think I was going to say winter is coming? Well there's that too.

Every year around this time you'll get the hoard of writers coming into the NaNo forums freaking out because they don't have a plot. You'll get other writers coming in saying they have too many ideas. Others still set goals in the triple digits. At least three will take the "Million in a Month" challenge again after being challenged by everyone else and themselves. And others will stare at everyone with a look of awe on their faces that will either turn to euphoria or dread as they are the new kid on the block.

It doesn't matter if this is your first year or your 12th year. There is only ONE piece of advice every writer, professional or not, needs to hear when the bell chimes 12 times on October 31 (making it Nov 1): Put your butt in the chair and write.

That's it. There is no secret pill, no mantra, special food or drink, extensive routine, or guru. The only thing that can make you write is you sitting in the chair and writing. That's it, that's all.

I have seen, heard, and smirked (sometimes rolled my eyes) at every excuse because I've seen and heard people doing more and still winning NaNo. Go to school full time? Yeah, so is about half the board. I've got 10 hours in the day five days a week where I can't write.

Go to work full time? Me too. Same with probably the other half of the board. Do both? Okay, now it's a bit tricky. Still doable. Single mother? Ah, more tricky, but again: still doable. Family emergency? Okay, now you're entering the zone where life comes first.

Not to say school, work, and kids aren't important because they are. So is personal hygiene and food. But school, work, kids, and general life can be worked around.

Think of it this way: you only need to write three and a half blocks of 500 words. At an average of 52 words per minute that's a little over half an hour. Okay, so you can only write 30 words a minute. In one hour you'll have hit the daily goal to complete 50K by Nov 30. Actually you'll be about 144 words over so bonus.

Most people can hit the word count goal in an hour. And it's not hard to MAKE time for that one hour. Write on the commune to work or school (as long as you're not the one driving), write during lunch or breaks, wake up an hour earlier if your day is packed or go to bed an hour later. Look at what you have to do and manage your time around an extra hour a day. Instead of doing laundry three times a week, do it twice. Instead of seeing a movie every week, go every other week. Instead of sleeping in for three hours or taking a one hour nap: write.

Winning NaNo is all about a person's ability to plant their butt in the chair and write. It doesn't even have to be good or make sense. NaNo is about motivating you to MAKE the time to write. And sometimes free writing (writing without a plan) becomes the best writing. Sometimes writing about your day gives you an idea on where to take your story. And yes, it still counts as writing.

If you're really, truly stuck: write a scene where your characters are eating pie. They'll get a chance to TELL YOU what's going on and you'll figure out through them how to get there. Again: KEEP WRITING. It's the ONLY way you can win NaNo.

Oh and in case you're wondering: I've won three years in a row by at least double the amount needed. I've also won 4 camps officially. Six unofficially. So yeah, I know what I'm talking about.

Still not convinced? I've got a few other writing tips in that section of this blog as well as a bunch of stuff about NaNo in that tab. Take the few days before NaNo begins to go over it all if you want. And don't worry: the NaNo community is one of the nicest communities I've ever been a part of. If you have a question or problem: voice it. Someone's going through close to the same thing and will help you out.

Until next time: questions, comments, rage, rants and other things can be directed to the comments. Don't forget to check out my Kickstarter Campaign for kicks. I'd appreciate a donation if you're willing.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Self Publishing is Hard

I normally don't hit Ctrl+A followed by Del on anything but I did that twice on this post. Why? Well, I wanted to make absolutely certain that what I'm writing isn't coming across as cynical, arrogant, or whatever else negative you want to say here.

There are a few reasons for this particular post:
1) Something that happened last year
2) A post on the NaNo forums
3) Procrastination: I'm doing it. ;)

That's out of the way. We shall move onward to the good stuff.

Self publishing is Hard

For anyone thinking about becoming a self published author I have one simple word of advice for you: Research.

That's it. No seriously, that's it. That's what the entire self-publishing industry boils down to. Oh, you want details? All right. I've got the details. I've been trying to self-publish for exactly four years and a bunch of months. Don't believe me? Go find the first post in this blog. I'll wait. Done? Good. Let's keep going.


There are quite a few posts in the "Writing Tips" tab above this post. Feel free to check them out now (or later) but even writing can be boiled down to research. What kind of research? Well, it can be Google-ing how long it takes for a body to decompose in water. It can be reading about how to take care of a horse. It can be asking a doctor how they can operate on a known killer without having a thought of deliberately messing up. It's also reading. Stephen King says it best: "If you don't make the time to read, you don't have the time (and proper tools) to write." So, everything you read becomes research for what you're going to write. Cool, huh?

Of course you can also read about how to write. You know, all the grammar rules, the posts from other authors about showing not telling, how to create 3D/Human characters, how to world build, how to make things seem believable, all that is research too. And hey, you're only at the writing stage of self-publishing. Don't feel over-whelmed. It gets worse. ;)


You're asking: "Wait, isn't this what this whole post is about? Why does it get it's own section?" Why? Because before you can pass go and collect your $200 you have to figure out what you're trying to accomplish by writing a novel and finishing it. Are you writing for fun or do you eventually want to publish? If you're writing for fun: collect your $200 and move onto the next story. Want to get published? Get some popcorn and keep reading.

There are two ways to publish in this day and age: traditional publishing and self publishing. Traditional publishing can take up to, well, YEARS to do. You'll have to find an agent (researching each one as you go) and hope they'll be able to sell your novel to a publishing house, assuming you don't submit to a small press (after researching each one).

Let's assume you find an agent or publishing house to process your novel and start selling it. Great! Now, the year long wait for editing, formatting, and making a marketing plan. And yes, it will take at least a year to get your novel into a salable form by going the traditional route.

On the other side of the fence, self-publishing may take less time. A word to the wise: AVOID VANITY PRESSES. Anyone who wants you to pay them money to sell your novel is not out to help you. They should be giving YOU money. Also, most of what a vanity press (AuthorHouse, IUniverse, Lulu, etc) does: YOU CAN DO for a lot less. Trust me on that. I've been there, literally.

You know what your task is now? That's right. Go do some research on traditional and self publishing. There are positives and negatives to each and you have to figure out which fits YOUR goals the best. Don't worry, I'll wait.

Done? Good. From here on out we're going to focus on the self-publishing route so if you've decided to go traditional: good luck and god speed. :)


You've finished your novel. Congratulations! It's no longer a work in progress. So, take out the "in progress" part and what are you left with? Work. Yep. Work. And yes, everything after writing your work in progress will be work. It'll feel like you're trying to break through a stone wall with a spoon.

But don't fret fellow writer for there are people out there who are willing to help you. They are Editors and they will whip that novel into shape. But before you get that novel ironed out you have to find an editor. That's right: research. I don't just mean type in "editors" in Google and pick out the first one you see. Dear God please don't do that!

When you find an editor you think might work out you have to do your (that's right) research on said editor. Who else have they edited for? Can you contact the authors that have left testimonials and talk to them? Are there authors that have left testimonials? Are they within your price range?

Wait, what? Price range? Why yes, you'll have to shell out some cash to get your novel off the ground before you start making cash. Hey! Don't look at me like that. You can't edit your own novel unless you've been teaching grammar for a decade or have a major in English. Oh I'm not saying you're unskilled if you meet those qualifications. It's merely a good idea to get someone besides you to look at your work.

Why? Because you're attached to it and you're less likely to "kill your darlings." You're less likely to find the plot holes, inconsistencies, POV shifts and all that other fun stuff if you're the one editing it. So yes, find a good editor and pay to get your novel looked at. It'll pay off in the end.

Editing is like tattoos: you get what you pay for. If you want your book to come out looking totally kick ass, you're going to have to pay in the upper hundreds and possibly close to thousands. BUT, there are editors out there who are in the lower hundred range that will still give you good work. It's a matter of finding them and, you guessed it: doing your research.

The Other Stuff

You've written your novel and you've gotten it edited. YAY! You're not done. Sorry. Now you have to actually put it out there and make it available for people to read.

There's so much that comes to mind for this section that I couldn't really give it a good title. First off you have to (research) pre-market. What's pre-market? Well, it's all that talking about your book that you do before actually putting it out there. Now would be a good time to sign up for Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and a blog of some description. Start connecting with other authors, talk to people, but don't say "Hey, I've written a book and will be publishing it in three months! Go buy it" over and over because people will stop listening. You have to be suave about marketing and you can't keep shoving it in people's faces.

It's hard, I know, and I haven't mastered it. If I had I'd be writing full time and not working a 9AM to 5PM job.

Okay. So you're premarketing, that's great. Good job on making it to this point. Don't give me that look. Yes there's more.

Where do you put it? Keeping our minds out of the gutter, you have to decide how and where to put your masterpiece. Smashwords (online), Amazon (Kindle), and Barnes and Noble (Nook) tend to be the big three. All three have a bunch of legal hoops you have to jump through and different processes to formatting and submitting your novel. If I put it all here this blog post would go over the limit for what I'm allowed to write, I'm sure.

While you're pre-marketing (and even before you're editing) go to all three websites and check out how you submit a novel and what you need to get it up. Oh look, there's that word we're going to love to hate: research the publishing in self-publishing.

All right. You've written a novel, researched how you want to publish it/what you want to do with it, gotten it edited, pre-marketed and you're pretty sure you know how to put it up there. Great!

You're not done. For one: do you have a cover? A summary? An author bio? No? Well, you're going to need them. Covers can run you anywhere from free (if you're good at photoshop) to $500+ depending what you're looking for. What are you looking for? Professional. Eye-catching. Memorable. Neat. Concise and something that gets what your novel is about in one picture.

The summary is a paragraph about your novel that doesn't reveal everything but reveals enough that it makes someone want to read it. I know, I know, confusing. But do some *insert the dreaded r word here* on summaries by reading the summaries of your favorite novels and applying it to your own.

Author bio? Oh that's another hard one. It can be as simple as "John Handcock lives in Texas with his two cats and his muse" or as complicated as "John Handcock lives in Texas with his two cats and his wife. He works for X, and graduated from College with a Degree in X. This is his first novel and he hopes it won't be his last." Please don't take either of those word for word and again, do some research (again) on what others are doing. Writing is one of the few things where looking at someone else's work can help you with your own.

Okay so, you've written a novel, done your research on how you want to publish it, gotten it edited, have a cover, have a summary, an author bio, and set up pre-marketing. Now you can publish and start living the dream, right?

Nope. Oh you can publish it. You can totally hit submit on Smashwords, Amazon and all that and get it up there but you're not done. What else is there?
Continued marketing. You can't just stop marketing once you've hit submit. You've got to keep talking to people, slyly mentioning that your wrote a book and they should check it out. You've got to get reviews (this can also be a part of pre-marketing) and you have to get people you know buying your book.

That's not all you have to do. Oh I know, it's hard enough to market in such a way that is interesting, engaging and won't piss people off. You know what else you have to do? Start the whole process over again.

Yep. You read that right. You have to do it all again, well, minus the research part because you should know all that if you're doing it again. Anyway why do you need to start over? Well, you can't make a living off one novel unless you've got the next Harry Potter in your hands. If you only publish one thing and nothing else people will forget who you are in the myriad of all the other self-published and traditionally published authors out there.

Oh my poor sweet (summer) child, I know, it's enough to make you want to say screw it, right? It says right in the title of this post that self publishing is hard. What did you expect?

No one, and I mean no one, can write a book and become a best seller within three months. It takes months, years even, of dedication to writing and researching (you're cringing aren't you?) before you can finally make writing your living and even then you might be lucky enough to live slightly better than you are now.

Despite what people think writing a novel is not going to make you an instant millionaire and you can't expect to go from writing your first finished piece to self-published author in three months or less. You probably have a better chance at winning the lottery. Even the most successful self-published author I know (Russell Blake) took THREE YEARS to get to the point where he's making six figures. Guess how many books he's written? No, not three. Try a good dozen. Yeah, A DOZEN. He spends all his time writing and promoting and you know what? All his HARD WORK paid off and he's living the dream.

But, yes, it is HARD WORK and there is no short cut. There's no magical spell or pill you can take to make you an instant best seller. Most of it's trial and error. All of it is, wait for it: RESEARCH.

You know the fun part about self publishing? It's just that: SELF publishing. Who's at fault for not finding the right editor? You. Who's at fault for a cruddy cover? You. Who's at fault for sucky marketing? You. Who's at fault for not doing the research needed to be a success? You. Who gets all the credit  (and cash) if you do become the next JK Rowling, Stephen King, GRR Martin, James Patterson, Anne Rice or *insert favorite author here*? You.

Until next time: comments, questions, rage, rants and everything in between can be directed to the comments. And if you want to help a writer out check my kickstarter campaign to get a diverse book published.