Monthly Archives: October 2016

Catching Up vs Staying Caught Up

If you’ve been following my blog (and paying attention) you’ll know that I participate in two weekly blog hops: the LGBT-oriented Rainbow Snippets on Saturday and the more general Snippet Sunday on… well, on Sunday, obviously. (Although the thread is started on Saturday, just because I don’t have enough trouble knowing what day of the week it is.)

Both are through Face Book and between the two of them there are probably forty to fifty posts each week.

The Rainbow Snippet thread usually starts around noon my time and I post my link and then read and comment until time to go to work, and by the time I get home (I work 3 to 11) the Snippet Sunday thread is up.

Once I’m home from work, the first order of business (after I post the link to my Sunday snippet) is to finish the Rainbow Snippet blog hop.  Then, depending how tired I am I either go to bed or start the Sunday Snippets.

I try to stay on top of the posts as best I can while working on weekends, my goal being to have all snippets done either Sunday night or Monday before work at the latest.

I’m usually pretty successful.

Usually.

Sometimes, like last week, for whatever reason, the above plan falls through and just doesn’t happen.  (I think I finished last weekend’s blog hops on Friday, just in time to start all over on Saturday.)

Every time I let myself fall behind (thinking I’ll do both hops on my days off) I am reminded of how much easier it is to stay caught up than it is to get caught up.

Why is that?

I don’t know.

I’m thinking it might be because seeing 20+ comments per thread waiting for you to click and read is kind of overwhelming and makes you feel like you’ll never get through all of them so you may as well just throw in the towel before you even start.

All I know for sure is that it seems to be a lot easier if I don’t wait to do it on my days off.

It’s like that with NaNoWriMo, too.  It’s much easier to get a good lead and try not to fall too far below par than it is to say “I’ll make up the deficit on my days off.”

Sadly, I seem to have spent a large portion of the last few NaNo events scrambling to get caught up, but I’m hoping this time will be different.

This time I’ll have a detailed outline.  (It’s currently at 1800 or so words and still has two weeks to grow and deepen and add layers.)  That will help a lot.  I know me, and I know that my writing (and later, editing) goes a lot smoother if I am working from an outline – and the more in-depth the better.

Also working in my favor for NaNoWriMo is that I’m taking the 31st off, so I’ll have a nice relaxing day and will be caught up on social media and ready to start writing at midnight.  (That’s kind of become my tradition – start writing at midnight and get at least a thousand words in before I go to bed.)

I’m also off the first two days of November, so I’m hoping to be able to get a good jump on my word count.  I’d love to hit at least 10K before I go back to work on the third.

And then I need to stay not just caught up, but ahead on word count, because I’m planning on going to the midnight showing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on the 18th.

Because, you know, I’m sure it won’t stir any more plot bunnies…

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Sunday Snippet October 16, 2016

This is from Book 10 of The Academy of the Accord and it hasn’t seen the editing pen yet.

(By the way, just to avoid confusion, this is from the prologue and is set at a different school (Arcane Academy) not The Academy of the Accord.)

We’re picking up from last week, the last line of which was:

One by one his classmates threw curses at the cadets standing in front of them, sending them to the ground, writhing in pain and gasping for air. 

 

Rarian stood across from him, his eyes calm, accepting. Calef met his gaze and gave his head a nearly imperceptible shake.  He couldn’t do it.  Wouldn’t do it.

“Calef.”  Master Epans’ voice held a note of smug anticipation.

“I won’t do it.” Calef’s gaze never left Rarian.

“If you don’t you fail the class.”

“Then I fail the class.  Rarian is my friend and I will not use my magic to hurt him or anyone else.” 

There was a calm certainty in his voice but Master Epans sneered.

“Friends.”  He practically spat the word.  “Your friends are your peers, other wizards, people of your own rank.  Not a hired guard that can be replaced by any other thug with a sword.”

“No.” There was a calm certainty in his voice but Calef found he was breathing hard.  Forcing himself to relax he watched Master Epans intently, a silent challenge in his eyes.

Master Epans smiled coldly, then suddenly spun and hurled something unseen at Rarian.

“No!”

 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

 

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Rainbow Snippet for 10-15-2016

rainbow logo 1

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

I’m still posting from Onyx Sun, a science fiction novel that is currently in revision. The revisions are turning out to be more complex than originally expected so the release date is, um, to be determined. (I’ve given up trying to predict one.)

Picking up from last week.

 

Agent Capize, was my ship searched while I was off of it?”

“Yes, we searched your ship.”

“On what grounds?”

“It was just purchased from a company that was blown up.”

“What were you searching for?”

“That is part of an open investigation.  I cannot divulge that information.”

“I’ll tell you what you can divulge,” she spat.  “You can divulge who I contact to get a crew back here to clean up the mess they made.  I want everything put back the way it was within the hour or I will be contacting my attorney regarding an illegal search.  Furthermore, if I discover any irregularities in my accounts or with my ship, your department will hear about it and you will be held accountable.”

“Miss Swann…”

“Miss Swann, nothing.  I was detained and questioned as if I was a suspect.  I was not charged nor was I permitted to contact my attorney.  This gets cleaned up – now – or there will be repercussions.  And I suggest that you have the crew here before I finish the call to my attorney.”

 

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Outlines…

Can’t live with ’em, can’t write without them.

Well, okay.  Technically you can write without them but I know me and I do better with an outline. A good outline keeps me on track, keeps me from floundering and from straying too far from the plot, and gives me something to gently herd characters and story line back to when they stray.  A good outline also makes revisions and edits much easier. (Without an outline I tend to have multiple versions of how a scene plays out which is a nightmare in the editing phase.)

So, with that in mind, I’m outlining for November, and I can already see the headaches that it’s saving me.

Like Sutag’s advisor that double-crossed him.  I decided that there was enough going on that I didn’t need a second antagonist, so he is no longer even mentioned in the outline.

And the fact the prologue that I had planned isn’t really a prologue and is going to have to be put into the main body of the book. I’m now toying with not having a prologue at all.  And I’m not even certain that the former prologue should even be in the book. I’ll write it in and maybe delete it in revisions.  (It takes place in the Orc Kingdom and everything around it is in the Drow/Elf kingdom and I’m not sure I like jumping back and forth between places.  But we’ll see.  I’m not sure I can get the needed information relayed without that scene, though.  Fortunately, the outline will help me sort that out — hopefully before the first of November.)

I am kind of stuck in the outline right now.  I had so many potential scenarios that I couldn’t really move forward and work on a “what happens next” scene until I figured out what happened to get them to that point.  I’ve managed to get that mostly sorted out but still need to smooth out a few minor points (like who gets where first). I’m about ready to resort to writing the scenes on post cards and rearranging them, but I think that once I enter the current changes in the Word doc and type up a few more notes and such that I’ll be able to see where to go next.

I sure hope so, at any rate.  October is almost half over already.

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Wednesday Words #94 (10/12/2016)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

You are alone in the house and you feel something grab your ankle.
(Feel free to change POV.)

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Song and Spam

I don’t know what it is about NaNoWriMo that brings forth plot bunnies.  Does it emit some sort of pheromone?  Does some favorite treat only grow during NaNo months and lures them forth?  Does my muse just put out a casting call for out of work plot bunnies?

I have no idea, but whatever it is, it never fails.

This morning, with three weeks left before NaNoWriMo, a new plot bunny climbed out or the woodwork and jumped into the bathtub with me.

On the positive side, it is part of the Elven Bard series (which is growing out of Song and Sword), is pretty much fully grown, and helps me eliminate some of the potential scenarios in the one I’m currently outlining.

On the negative side, I don’t know exactly where it’s going to fit in the timeline for that world.

And on an even more negative side, it wants to steal the title for the one I’m currently working to get ready for NaNo.

So now the question becomes, do I continue with the current book or do I stop and work on an outline for this one?

And what do I do about titles?

I was sort of falling out of love with Song and Shield for the current project anyhow.  The use of “Shield” makes me feel like I need to get the Shield of Truth from Palora’s Crossing to use in it, and it doesn’t really fit into the book at all.

Actually, the shield doesn’t fit into either the one I’ve been outlining or the new one that hopped in, so I’m thinking that they both need new names.

Because, yeah.

Three weeks.

Two stories.

No titles.

(Or maybe lots of titles, courtesy of Cassy and Danielle and Danielle’s dictionary.)

(Song and Spam is not going to be one of the choices.)

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Sunday Snippet October 9, 2016

This is from Book 10 of The Academy of the Accord and it hasn’t seen the editing pen yet.

(By the way, just to avoid confusion, this is from the prologue and is set at a different school (Arcane Academy) not The Academy of the Accord.)

We’re picking up from last week, with Calef thinking over the events that had led him to be seated in the waiting area outside the headmaster’s office.

 

Curses was Calef’s least favorite class. He didn’t like the idea of using his magic to hurt someone, and he spent most of his free time researching how to block a curse and how to lift one, practicing both in his mind until they had become nearly second nature to him.  He didn’t trust Master Epans’ assertion that they were strictly an academic subject.

So when Master Epans had announced that they would be practicing on live subjects, Calef had felt a sense of unease – something in the way the man had looked at him when he had made the announcement had sent a chill through him and made his heart freeze in its rhythm.

And when they had gone out to an enclosed courtyard to find a group of cadets waiting for them he had thought he was going to be ill;  Rarian was one of them and the surge of fear nearly brought his breakfast back up.

He was assigned Rarian as a target, and if he had had any doubt that the pairing had been deliberate, Master Epans’ smirk laid them to rest.  Looking away from the Master he focused on Rarian and knew that he couldn’t do it, and knew what he would have to do.

One by one his classmates threw curses at the cadets standing in front of them, sending them to the ground, writhing in pain and gasping for air. 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

 

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Rainbow Snippet for 10-8-2016

rainbow logo 1

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

I’m still posting from Onyx Sun, a science fiction novel that is currently in revision. The revisions are turning out to be more complex than originally expected so the release date is, um, to be determined. (I’ve given up trying to predict one.)

There may or may not be some creative punctuation involved in the following text.

Taliya has just returned to her ship after being grilled by the detectives regarding the explosion at Vastyne Byrd’s shipyard.

 

It [the ship] felt…unsettled, as if something was wrong.  She did a quick walk through and found that it had been gone through – everything was out of its storage hampers and her personal items had been gone through. 

The first thing she did was check to make sure that the boxes from her grandmother and the box containing her ashes were safe, and then she placed a call.

“Pendelia Four Planetary Investigations.”

“This is Taliya Swann of the Vain Glory.  I need to speak to Agent Ridi or Agent Capize.  Immediately.”

“I am sorry, ma’am. They are both out of the office.  I can leave a message for them and they will contact you when they come in.”

Taliya took a grip on her rising anger.  “What part of ‘immediately’ makes you think that I want to wait until they return to the office?    I know they are reachable.  Put me through to one of them. Now.”

“One moment, ma’am.  I will transfer your call.”

Eventually the blank hold screen was replaced by a face she had hoped she would not have to see again.    

 

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Ask the Author #1 (Self Publishing)

So, welcome to my first “Ask the Author” blog post.  I’ll probably be doing these every other Friday unless something exciting happens (and until I run out of submitted questions).

(Speaking of which, please feel free to comment with questions for future posts.)

This week’s question comes from Kari at Inspiration Cauldron.

“You’re publishing your novel independently, aren’t you? How is that going?”

Yes, I do publish independently.  Both Song and Sword and Sanguine have been self published and the current plan is for future projects to be released the same way. Having never published through a company I can’t really compare the two, but I do know that I get complete control over my work (and therefore have to take complete responsibility for it).

I also hold all rights to it, can price it as I see fit, use it in giveaways, etc.

As to how it’s going…

It would be going better if I didn’t suck at marketing my own stuff.  But then, from what I’ve seen and read and heard through the grapevine, even if you publish via a more traditional route it seems that you have to do a lot of your own marketing, so, yeah, that would be about the same, I think.

Although, if you’re published through an actual publishing house, there’s a layer of… respectability? authenticity?… that seems to be lacking if you’re self-published, so there’s that.

Other than marketing, I think the hardest part (for me) is finding a cover artist to work with.  I did the cover for Sanguine myself (and it shows) but I’m not 100% in love with the one for Song and Sword, either.  I think when I get the sequels (and the prequel) ready for publishing I might get a revamped cover for it.  Ditto for when I do the sequel to Sanguine (which might happen next November).

Okay, I’m not a fan of formatting the book, either. Granted, that’s a step-by-step process and both Amazon and Smashwords have great step-by-step walk throughs, but for some reason it makes me insanely nervous, and I pretty much save the file under a different name for every step of the process.

I don’t enjoy the endless rounds of revisions, either, but I think you’d get that with a traditional publisher too? I know that Daelyn Morgana did when she had a short story submitted to an anthology.

And at least I don’t have deadlines!

On the other hand, deadlines might be a good thing to keep me focused on one project at a time so that I don’t have so many half-finished novels sitting around.

But on the other hand, I get to work on whatever appeals to me at the moment.

So, all in all, I think I’m happy with self-publishing.

Except for that marketing stuff, and there will be more about that in two weeks.

 

 

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Wednesday Words #93 (10/5/2016)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

ww-10-5

(Click for larger image.)

(Found on FaceBook.)

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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