NaNo ends, and I lose all writing mojo for a month. In this case, more like two months.
I honestly admire and respect any writer who can charge through December and keep writing. Forget NaNo burn out–the holidays seem all consuming. I blame my own overachiever nature. I decided to hand make gifts which left me no time to write. Or at least, not enough time to spend on writing when I could spend it in a coma instead.
On the heels of that came a January full of sick family members. Everyone got sick but me. I’m still looking over my shoulder, waiting for the flu to sneak up and say “AHAHA FUCK YOU.”
I know writing isn’t a thing you can pick up and put down at will, and yet, I seem every year to take a few months off of the process. I suppose that’s why I’m not a superproducer of stories. I plug along though, stories come to mind and I try to write them down as best I can.
In good news, though, my story New to This finally has a release date! It is part of the anthology titled Fifty Gays of Shade, coming to Torquere Press on February 13th! More news as it comes, but here’s the cover for you:
My story is a sort of response to the whole 50 shades phenomenon. It has nothing to do with the books at all, but I wanted to write a story where BDSM wasn’t thinly veiled rape, and wasn’t about the hurting but the deep respect between top and bottom. About consent, really.
Plus, the main character is super cute. Just sayin’. I’m super excited to be a part of this anthology, and I have been looking forward to the release for months. I’ll post all the details as they come in.
Hope you, my invisible reader, had a good holiday and are feeling ready to get back to whatever it is you’ve been avoiding. Or maybe that’s just me. Sigh.
We are officially one week into NaNoWriMo, and I have already neglected everything in my life including laundry and shaving my legs, so we’re right on track.
I’m working on a romance novel, something I’ve written before but I am attempting to pull off a deep POV, semi-believable romance between two unlikely candidates: an ex-drug addict and a demon.
I tell you, these dudes have beautiful backstories. I can write them alone for hours. Get them in a room together, though, and they just sort of stare at each other, waiting for someone to tell them what they’re doing there. As always when I try something out of my comfort zone, I have a newfound respect for authors of deep POV romance. It’s frigging hard!
I’m ready to write this morning, ensconced at my dining room table with coffee and a laptop. Week two is ever the difficult week of NaNoWriMo, no matter the word count going in, things seem to slow to a crawl this week.
I’ve got things for the blog: A guest post, some Can’t Talk, Reading of my own, and more information on my upcoming release, New to This. In the meantime, enjoy the NaNoWriMo Blog Chain–lots of us crazy people out there!
I suspect my brain has been trained, now, to develop story ideas right around this time of year. I thank the discipline of NaNo for that. I’ve been trying to come up with a couple short stories in the mean time, but the brain keeps returning to the new novel, so I’m just going to let it. I’m working on plot structure and how to really get deep in a POV with characters this time around. I’ve been a dedicated world builder, now I want to focus my attention on the people, really get to know them.
Also, it’s a m/m erotic paranormal romance, so that should be fun I think.
This year my local group is full of people I don’t know well, and the people I used to write with every year have nearly all moved on to other things. I suspect I’ll be relying heavily on the online community and the truly awesome people of the NaNo Blog Chain to keep me motivated.
I’m still excited though! This is my favorite time of year
*Fable is a great series of games, from which I cribbed that title. You should play them, they’re super fun.
Got another rejection yesterday, but it was so nice, I can’t feel sad about it. I mean, a little, but the positive rejections are so much better. I feel like a Real Writer ™ with every step like this.
I’ve been working on Worse Things, I have about 10 percent redrafted now, in first person. I’ve never written a second draft before. I’ve always worked off the first draft and added/subtracted as necessary. Some of this work is that kind of simple editing, but a lot of it has to be rewritten because of the changes I’ve made (a character has changed drastically, not to mention changing all of Caroline’s POV chapters to first person). It’s a little ood. It doesn’t feel as much like editing as I expected, it feels more like writing another first draft.
On the plus side, I’m not finding that I suddenly hate this story, which sometimes happens when I go back to edit. I still pretty much love this story. I love Caroline’s character, and the world I’ve put her in. Apparently I’m happiest as a writer when I’m torturing my characters. Interesting.
Oh and did I mention:
THE RUBY IS RELEASING AT THE END OF THIS MONTH
OMGGGG *kermit arm flail*
I will have a story out! I wish I could give you an excerpt, but I want to be certain all the final editing is done before I do. Wouldn’t want to give you words that won’t be in the final (I hate that, when they do that in movie previews).
As soon as I have final details, I will put them here and everywhere. So excited to have something releasing!!
Other than that, my crazed June is turning into a much more sedate July. Lots more time to write. Monsoons are raging here in the desert, the afternoons are dark and ominous and perfect for writing about demons who eat people and the poor girl who carries them. So, onward!
This is the danger inherent in wearing my NaNoWriMo teeshirts in public.
I’m not embarrassed by my writing, that’s not it. I don’t think it is shameful or wrong to write stories with graphic sex in them. Not all the stories I tell are erotic in nature, but all my available works are. I feel quite comfortable writing for the erotic markets. I’m also happy selling as I am to the ebook marketplace, although that is another source of confused looks. (Oh, where are you published? Online. So… you published yourself? No… etc.)
We live in a prudish world though, at least in my corner of it. People on the whole are not overly comfortable talking about sex, especially when they’re not expecting to be. Just consider that I have to tell the pta dad that I have an epublished book about a m/m/f triad. I get the look, you know? The “wtf” look. Triple X is my most popular story (although, I would argue, not my best story), but talking about it only creates long and painfully awkward conversations with people. Romance, even erotic romance, is the highest selling genre on the market yet somehow no one seems to have heard of it in the real world.
I have yet to figure out how to navigate that conversation effectively. Maybe I should just print up some business cards with my website and let them figure it out? What about just saying I write romance stories? Would that be enough information to get me out of the conversation? Or should I just quit over thinking it and say I write smutty smutty fiction and here’s my card so you can go enjoy it?
I’m not sure. I do know that I write dirty stories, and I enjoy doing so. That’s not going to end anytime soon so I’d better figure out how to have this conversation soon!
Every time I type that I giggle. Curse of the dirty minded.
So, I got a rejection on Waking Kiara and you know, that sucked. But that’s okay. Right along side the “aw bummer” feeling was a more positive one. I feel like getting rejections puts me on the road to being a writer. I wrote, I revised, I submitted, I got rejected. I’m really doing this, doing it the way it is supposed to be done. Can’t learn if you don’t fail, you know? Wasn’t my first rejection, won’t be my last either. Each one gets me closer to being where I want to be and makes me a better writer. Honest to goodness, the worst part was that I got the rejection while at the dentist’s office. Smart phones are sometimes the devil.
(still sucked. There was pie.)
In the interest of being back on the horse, I submitted her again. Courage, imaginary blog reader, that’s what it takes. Courage and pie.
I also managed to submit a short story* to a different publisher. I didn’t talk about this story much here, but it was super fun to write. It’s called The Ruby, a m/m erotic romance tale of pirate treasure and vacations gone awry. I was calling it “Indiana Bones” before it got a title, which aptly describes the silliness level I was aiming for. The best part of this one was that I reused a location I’ve written before, in A Pirate’s Legacy. It was like going home, if home were an imaginary tropical island.
Another call caught my interest so I’m working on a sub for that too. It’s super short, 3K is the upper limit, and due soon. I kind of like the process of writing in a relatively clipped timeline. It forces me to work frequently and efficiently.
In short, I think the writing thing is going well. I’m not *quite* looking forward to rejections in my inbox, but I’m glad to be working. Every story gets me closer to that million word mark, right?
*if a story is 18K, is it a novella, a novellaette, or a short story?
I spent the bulk of my weekend and many evenings last week cleaning. By cleaning, I mostly mean getting rid of things.
I continue to be amazed at how things can collect in corners and unused spaces. I started joking that things kept respawning. I’d clean out a space, only to find more stuff had materialized in the time it took to carry a load to the car. A life lived as fully as possible can lead to this sort of overflowing, I think. That’s what I tell myself when I’m being patient and loving, anyway, lol.
I wonder if ideas work the same way, at least for me. I’ve got a full mind, always have. I don’t do quiet well. I have speakers set up in my bathroom for podcasts while I shower. I listen to Pandora* while I exercise and am apt to knit in front of a great television show.**
I started practicing mindfulness and meditation many years ago and I’m always laughing at myself because there is so much going on in my head. Meditation is more like the me show. Now with less rumination and more random thought bubbles!
Ideas come slow for me, I’ve talked about that before. I wonder if it is a matter of unloading all the busy loud that usually goes on in my mind. I have to clear out the unused “oh don’t forget to”s and “oh hell why did I”s. I have to dig past the same old boring stories I tell myself and look for the stuff I’ve forgotten underneath. My creative mind works, it just lives in the bottom of a cave under a very tall mountain of stuff. My creative mind is apparently a dragon, hoarding its treasure and being very stingy about who’s allowed inside.
Well you know what? It’s the year of the dragon, motherfucker. I’m coming for you.
*http://www.pandora.com/#!/stations/edit/6509559808670288 (if you like folk music)
**I used to be one of those snooty anti-tv types. Then I discovered a show called Firefly. From there, I discovered that television has gotten significantly better than the last time I watched it. Now, I don’t feel at all wasteful watching shows like American Horror Story, Dexter, Doctor Who, and Psych. These are brilliant, witty stories written with amazing skill. I see it as research and actively study the story elements I admire in each. I guess I’m a born-again tv enjoyer!
I spent some time *cough procrastinating on an outline cough* collecting reviews of past works to put on the sidebar. Since my site disappeared and had to be redone, I lost all that information and had to re-google everything.
I feel very blessed to have people read and enjoy my writing. They definitely motivate me to keep on working!
Also, I totally queried Waking Kiara last night! Just one query, I plan more but for now, this was a big step. Everything was polished and ready to go. I’d spell checked 100 times and re-read new passages until I can recite them from memory. Phew. I’m looking forward to the feedback, be it a rejection or whatnot. No really, I am. The direction will be good.
Now back to work! Gotta get some treasure hunting done.
Kiara’s so almost ready to submit.
However. I’ve made the mistake in the past of rushing. I got a very generous R and R once. I rushed the manuscript edits. I was excited and nervous and really, really new to writing. I screwed up. She rejected again, and with good reason. I could have improved the novel, but I didn’t. I rushed through it.
Now whenever I get the urge to just get it in, I backtrack. Usually, I do it by finding a sentence I can rewrite. That will cue a paragraph that needs clarification or get me into the rhythm of working on the piece. Sometimes I struggle with knowing what I want to fix but not how to fix it. Getting into the work can help me find the soft places.
There’s also the question of overworking. Overworking can lead to overwriting and that’s the last thing I want. I shoot for fast-paced, tight work and I don’t want to get too wordy.
In any case, I think it’s good to know one’s weaknesses. This is one of mine. So I’m practicing patience, patience, patience.
I’ve decided to draft a story after I submit to keep my mind off of waiting for emails. The husband and I brainstormed, and I’m hoping I’ve got a great idea for an erotic m/m with some silliness and sexiness. If nothing else, I can focus on that and not on the time ticking away while I wait for GLOWING ACCEPTANCE LETTERS. (originally, I wrote rejections because I’m a realist. But look, why not shoot for the top, huh?) Who needs patience when they can generate more work, instead?
I make up all kinds of words. I’m a real writer ™.
I have reached the end of another round of edits on Waking Kiara*. It still needs a pass through for grammar, and I’m hoping to get some feedback from a couple awesome beta readers. Once those fixes are in place, the novel is ready for submission.
Thank goodness for the find/replace function. I’ve edited out so many useless words, I can’t even BEGIN TO count them. Ugh. (Began has been almost entirely banninated. As has seemed.)
I’ve moved on to the synopsis, for now, letting the words themselves sit for a while. A synopsis doesn’t seem like a difficult task, but it is kind of a big deal. You’re selling the project in three pages or less (preferably two, but right now it is looking like three.) So I can’t just hit the important points, but I also have to show character growth, relationship struggles and resolutions, and exciting bits that make the story fun to read.
Also how do you write down that the characters had the lovins? I mean, I can’t exactly say “they had the lovins here.” Or as my oldest kid would put it, “they did IT.”
A synopsis is more than a summary, but less than a story. It’s an extended movie trailer with the ending included.
I’m motivated, though. I think this is a decent, fun story. The potential for a series is there. Shoot half a draft of the second novel is written already. I’m gonna synopsize until I can synopsize no more. Wish me luck.
*HOORAYYYY! Two huge projects completed in the last six months. Feels good.