A Slaughter Chronicles Update

NEWS

Hi there, readers!

I’m doing a few formatting/administrative updates to my Slaughter Chronicles content. If you’ve already downloaded your free copies of either Demon Moon or Dead Girl Moon I want to assure you that there have been no changes to the content (except for, you know, that comma that I kept missing through 12 rounds of editing or that word that was meant to be “cheese” but somehow autocorrect through it should be “wheel barrow.” I fixed that word. Thank you, autocorrect).

Demon Moon has a new cover for font consistency.

The Sneak Peek of Havoc’s Moon that was at the end of Demon Moon has been removed because while I was finishing up Moon Shine a secondary character decided he was going to be more of a main character than I originally thought and now he’s making me change the entire story (exaggeration) so he can get all snuggly and cozy. Typical.

(Note: I guess that is a content change but not really because the story of Demon Moon is still the same and not dependent on the Sneak Peek.)

I have fixed some formatting errors (ePub/mobi page layout stuff) for Dead Girl Moon and a new version of that will go live on MAY 20 with…

PUBLICATION OF MOON SHINE!!!

Save the date! Moon Shine, the next installment of Regina’s story and The Slaughter Chronicles will go live May 20, 2019.

You will be able to download your free copies from:

iTunes/iBooks

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

Google Play

Smashwords

And all other free Draft2Digital distribution platforms

And, of course, Prolific Works, where you will be able to download a mobi file for your Kindle.

Lastly I just want to say THANK YOU for reading my work. Writing isn’t just a “job” or a “hobby,” it’s a true labor of love for me. Writing and self-publishing my stories has greatly improved my quality of life and I hope that you all get as much enjoyment reading them as I do writing them (even if they’re bloody and scary). πŸ™‚

Series Update: The Heart of the Forest Cycle

Writing Life

Series…Serieses? Is that a word? My spell check says no and suggests Series’. But it’s not the series(es) possession. It’s plural. You get the idea.

Anyway. I am currently writing two story arcs: The Slaughter Chronicles and The Heart of the Forest Cycle. The Slaughter Chronicles is about my main character Regina Slaughter and all her adventures and mistakes. The Heart of the Forest Cycle is about several different faeries, or fair folk, or fey, depending on how you see them.

The Slaughter Chronicles are mainly written in first person limited point of view. I am writing a few novellas that focus on the supporting characters and those are written in third person slightly limited, slightly omniscient depending on how I feel.

The books in The Heart of the Forest Cycle are third person limited and the perspective flows across multiple characters (if you hate character jumping I sincerely apologize).

What I enjoy immensely about writing two different stories at once is that if I get burned out on one I can switch to the other. In a perfect world that kind of transition is seamless and productive. In reality, it’s more often jarring and annoying, mainly because I want to keep to my self-imposed deadlines and when the story doesn’t flow I can’t meet my deadline.

So, my plan was to finish the final draft of the first book in The Heart of the Forest Cycle this month, during Camp Nanowrimo, and work on editing the manuscript over the summer and self-publish it in August.

The story isn’t’ ready.

I have to re-work the magic system. I have to re-write all the things! (Well, not really all the things but it sure feels like it!)

And all while those thoughts are going on Regina is clawing at the back of my brain and screaming, “Tell my story, bitch!”

So after about a week of thinking about how to solve all my problems and two days of not writing (sometimes you just need a break) I have decided that I’m going to put The Heart of the Forest Cycle on the back burner AGAIN and write Regina because her plot holes are WAY easier to fill and smooth over than all my fey drama.

(They wouldn’t be real fey if there wasn’t any drama.)

The thing that I’ve learned/realized that I need to do in order to be a successful writer is to write whatever wants to come out of my brain regardless of what project it fits into. If I had listened to my brain and wrote that one scene when I first thought about it I would probably not have as hard a time solidifying my characters for The Heart of the Forest Cycle but I said, “No! I need to think about this other thing now.” And then the problem got bigger and bigger even though the other thing got done.

My hope still is to publish the first book of The Heart of the Forest Cycle this year but if I don’t, I’m not going to cry over it. I’d rather have a good story than a rushed story. I still love both my stories and all my characters even when they argue with me. Eventually both will be out in the world in full force but Here and Away probably won’t be ready until 2020.

Who else is working on more than one project? More than one project with different genres?

I’d love to hear how y’all do it πŸ™‚

Camp NaNoWriMo 2019

NaNoWriMo

It’s the second week of camp and I’ve had a pretty rocky start…but I’ve also finished the final draft of Moon Shine, the next Slaughter Chronicles Novella!

If only that was the project I wanted to work on *sigh* but I am by no means ungrateful.

Moon Shine was a spontaneous side project that came out of the 3rd draft of Havoc’s Moon (book one of the SC). I was brainstorming with Mr. J and needed to come up with more backstory for Regina’s pack, the Gluttons, and I was writing loads and loads of “info dumps” that were slowing down the story.

So I decided to do what I did with Dead Girl Moon. Dead Girl Moon was originally the prologue for Havoc’s Moon but Regina’s backstory was too intense for me to cut down into a short introduction. Since Moon Shine was turning into its own entity, I decided to give it room to grow and make it into a novella.

Moon Shine was originally supposed to be only 20,000 words maximum and all of those words were supposed to focus on the daily lives of all of the human monster hunters who turned werewolf in the line of duty. The story, before the final edits, is now sitting at 36,000 words. (If only those words went to Here and Away! *cries*)

But now that the final draft of Moon Shine is finished I can devote more attention to finalizing the final draft of Here and Away.

My goal for camp was to write 70,000 words. That’s a lot, and I won’t lie, 34,000-ish of those words are already written. I want to use my word count to add to the existing manuscript and build it until the end.

I don’t like to edit and write at the same time, I don’t write as much when I do but that’s what I’m doing with Here and Away because, when I finished the last round of drafting I realized I needed to make drastic changes to the beginning of the book. It is still eluding me but I am confident I will be on the right track by the end of the month.

So really, I won’t be editing so much as I will be hacking at the existing chapters with a pair of hedge trimmers until everything flows together in one cohesive dreamscape.

Yeah, good luck to that.

I’ve taken to writing both at home and at the library. Since I’m currently not working, I’m taking a page out of Ray Bradbury’s book and treating writing like my day job. I get up, shower, brush my teeth, tame my hair into something that looks semi-respectable, and go out into the world like all the other humans in my neighborhood. I spend 4 or 5 hours at the library and then I go home and work on my mom’s house and clean anything that needs cleaning. I run errands for my mom and take care of general maintenance things while she grades or preps her classes (mom teaches college level political science). And then after dinner I write a little bit more. It’s a pretty good life.

So that’s how my camp experience is going so far. I’d love to hear how things are going with you. What’s working? What’s killing you?

If things are tough, know that I’m rooting for you and you are not alone!

Keep writing!

March Stats

Lists, Writing Life

Days I didn’t write

6

How many words

35,274

Projects I worked on

Morning and Evening

Roadkill: a Slaughter Chronicles short story

Changeling: a Heart of the Forest short story

The Firebird’s Daughter: a Heart of the Forest short story

Moon Shine

What I actually wanted to work on

Just Moon Shine

Goals for next month

Finish final draft and edit Moon Shine

Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo and finish the final draft of Here and Away

Submissions sent out

2

Submissions accepted/rejected

1 accepted πŸ™‚

Notes

So the daily micro poem thing was severely impacted by traveling in March. I’m hoping to continue it but as the launch date for Moon Shine draws near and more traveling/moving on the horizon for May and June (nothing exciting, I promise, just time consuming) I’m going to be a lot less strict about missing days than I would like to be but right now the fiction has to come first. Writing good micro poems is harder than it looks and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve now been writing fiction non stop for over a year now or something else but poetry isn’t coming as easily to me as it was back in 2014. Go figure. But those will keep happening one way or another, they’re good mental exercises.

Character Consciousness

Writing Life

This is an example of one of the ways I think up characters:

Me: (recording poems for my audiobook)

Icharus: I want to be a character now.

Me: But you already are.

Icharus: In a book.

Me: …what?

Icharus: I want to be in a book. I didn’t die when I fell. And I love Orpheus.

Me: You do? Ok just hang on a–

Icharus: And I want my book to be like every James Baldwin novel but with more sex.

Me: I don’t know if I can be that brutal.

Icharus: And it’s going to be a trilogy.

Me: Really?

Icharus: Yep.

Me: Well you’ll have to get in line behind Regina, all the Echos, Helen, and everybody else.

Icharus: Did I mention I love Orpheus? And maybe one of the gods too. Apollo could be very metaphorical.

Me: Take a number and get in line!

Icharus: I really, really want a book-trilogy.

Me: You’ll get one just shut up and let me work!

Icharus: I don’t trust you.

Me: It’ll happen! You’re in the queue. I promise!

Icharus: You’re going to have to do a lot of research. Geography is really important.

Me: I know!

Icharus: …maybe Achilles…

Me: Don’t push it.

*

And on and on it went and that is how I made the decision to eventually write a gay romance. A character popped into my head that wouldn’t shut up. But really this character has been in my head since 2012 and didn’t find his voice until day before yesterday. Before that he was a shadowy idea floating around in my brain meat.

It happened during a writing exercise I did back in grad school (see how long ago). The exercise was to look at a book cover and write the synopsis on the back. No influence from the real synopsis or any other information from the book. Just write something based off the cover. You should try it, it’s super fun.

When I read my little blurb the girl sitting at the table directly across from me lit up with a smile and after class she told me I had to write that character, that his voice was so clear to her.

At the time I wasn’t writing fiction but I thought she was super nice to say so, so I put the suggestion away and now almost 7, count em, 7 years later here’s that voice again.

But this time I am writing fiction and I don’t want to tell him to go away. So I guess I’m adding another project to my publication schedule.

*

How do your characters come to you?

Or, if you’re a poet, how do poems happen?

Writing Advice #13

Writing Advice

DO THE WORK: RESEARCH!

In my humble opinion, it is the WORST IDEA EVER to make up something, especially for science fiction or fantasy and not put work into researching your subject.

Example:

I have a character that became a vampire in 6th century Britain. As I was working on his backstory a spontaneous cemetery scene popped into my head. I wrote it and then re-read it and something felt off.

Specifically, the setting. I got the clothes and the political climate right–because I researched them–but I had no idea what a 6th century Cornwall/Devon-ish cemetery looked like. I knew nothing about the burial customs of Anglo-Saxon England.

I do now.

Because I researched it. Cremation was a thing. Pretty cool stuff. Here’s a link. And then I had to go a step further and research battlefield burial practices in Anglo-Saxon England. Here’s another link.

Now you might be thinking: but if I’m writing science fiction or fantasy isn’t everything already made up? Why does it matter?

Because if your details, timelines, or invented technologies don’t add up your writing isn’t going to be strong and you might face a lot of criticism once you put your book out into the world.

Another Example:

As I was summarizing the plot of a science fiction novel A writer acquaintance of mine once commented, “Laser fire won’t work, you can’t have lasers as weapons in space. Light doesn’t hurt things in space.”

And while I told her the word “laser” was just a place holder for the IDEA OF THE THING until I figured out what would work as a super spacey technologically advanced weapon system that NO ONE ELSE HAS DONE YET (haha yeah right), I really appreciate her comment because even though it means more work for me, it also means that when I get the work done and figure out what would work instead of a generic and inaccurate trope.

I’m still researching and working on that one, by the way.

Helpful Hint #1:

I will often use Wikipedia as a starting place for narrowing the specificity of my research but I DO NOT take everything on there as fact. Anyone can add things to a Wikipedia page, it might not all be true.

I like to use newspapers and academic sites (.edu) for sources because they usually have to fact check, have additional source material, and have to adhere to some standard of quality and credibility.

Academic and research papers from sites like JSTOR are good as well.

Helpful Hint #2:

When you’ve finally found your source you want to make sure the information is presented in an objective manner. If you found a nifty academic paper with a thesis statement, that’s cool, but you don’t want to waste your time reading someone’s 20 page treatise on their OPINION of the subject when you want facts.

Objectivity is key. Look for facts, not opinions.

Helpful Hint #3:

This may seem like a time waster but you’ll be better off in the long run. VERIFY YOUR INFORMATION by finding multiple sources that say the same thing. If more than one person repeats the same fact/date/whatever, it’s more likely to be true.

My teachers in college always told me to do this and me, being a terrible student, was all like, “I am not wasting my time like that!” And then I got an F on the paper because I’d used fraudulent sources. Because I didn’t check to see if my source material was actually right. I was so embarrassed. Don’t let that kind of thing happen to you.

So to sum up:

1. Research your subjects

2. Use credible sources

3. Get concrete facts

4. Check those facts across multiple sources

Fact checking is so important, not just in research for your work in progress, but in how you conduct yourself as a creative person, especially on social media. Make sure you have all your information before you post that tweet or that blog post.

Follow up question:

How does researching treat you? Do you love spending hours jumping down knowledge rabbit holes or is it a necessary evil?