June 2019 Stats

I’m really embarrassed to share this information because I did really, really bad this month. But this is how life works sometimes.

Days I didn’t write:

Almost all of them.

How many words:

I’d be surprised if I hit 4,000.

Projects I worked on:

Moon Shine

The Heart of the Forest Cycle

What I actually wanted to work on:

Resonance

Goals for next month:

Draft Havoc’s Moon

Submissions sent out:

0

Submissions accepted:

1

Submissions rejected:

0

SO this month was terrible for my productivity. Mr. J drove up from Alabama in the first week and we stayed in Arkansas for a few days before driving down to the Florida panhandle to visit my aunt for a week. Then further down the state to visit Mr. J’s grandfather for another week. And then a few days in Mr. J’s home port before I flew back to Arkansas.

But even thought I didn’t do a lot of writing (I gave up tallying my word counts and days after the first week) I did a lot of outlining and brainstorming. I fleshed out secondary characters and sub-plots. I worked on motivations and story arcs. It was a productive time in every other aspect of writing except actually writing.

My two other main projects, Resonance and The Heart of the Forest Cycle, are progressing more slowly than I would like but they are progressing. The biggest news there is that instead of being a trilogy of novels, The Heart of the Forest Cycle is going to be at least two volumes of short stories and novellas. I have a lot of characters in that series and tying all of their story lines together was becoming increasingly difficult so I’ve separated nearly everyone’s stories and things are flowing more easily. I might be able to publish the first volume sometime in the fall but I’m still not going to make it a priority. The Slaughter Chronicles comes first.

July is Camp NaNoWriMo. I will be participating this year. I didn’t win camp this past April but I also had unrealistic expectations. So for July, I will work on finishing the first draft of Havoc’s Moon and polishing Moon Shine for publication in October.

Here’s looking to a larger word count in the future!

Moon Shine: this is the last schedule change, I promise!

A few months ago I said that I would publish the next novella in my Slaughter Chronicles series in May. And then one of my beta readers (Mr. J, who is supportive and loves me) asked for more time to go through my final draft and I pushed the publication date forward to the end of June.

And as I was running through my final edits I came to the realization that this book wasn’t going to be a novella. It’s a novel. It’s over 50,000 words long. But I can live with that. It wasn’t part of the plan but it’s fine. Whatever. Story happened. It’s fine.

Well, it is now the end of June and Moon Shine is still not ready because–and this is the truth–I was 99.9% done with the edits and going through my beta reader’s final notes and as we were talking (because he is supportive and he loves me) he suggested that one of the characters I had planned to introduce much later in the series (Book 6) be here, in this book, and here in the series from the beginning.

And then that character spoke up in my head saying: “Yeah, I’ve been here the whole time, actually.”

And I said, “Oh really? And what have you been doing?”

And he said, “Gardening.”

Gardening.

Yep.

Gardening. (Physical and Psychological 0_0)

So now I have to make this work. And it’s not hard. It actually makes sense. There are a lot of good things about this decision. And from this decision I was able to add better layers to the plot holes that I made. Further, moving this character from Book 6 to Regina’s prequel novel has helped me outline one of the possible (and my favorite by far) endings to the entire series.

So it was a productive and positive decision but it also means I have three new paragraphs to sew into the manuscript and more editing to do.

Therefore I am moving the publication date of Moon Shine forward to October 31, 2019. I am going to have a Halloween book baby this year, goddamnit!

Havoc’s Moon, Book 1, will hopefully be released in December this year. I’ve actually got the outline almost done for this one so I’m feeling positive about completing it without any surprises.

To anyone who cares: Thank you for your patience while I work all this stuff out. This is the joy of self publishing.

Thoughts about #authortube

Back in 2017, when I “officially” decided I wanted to take self-publishing seriously, I thought about creating a YouTube channel. I am an avid YouTube viewer/lurker whatever. I love watching videos other authors and writers put out where they talk about their process, give advice based on their experiences, and participate in fun tags or challenges.

I love talking about writing and books to anyone who will listen so you’d think this would be something I would love to do.

But YouTube also triggers my social anxiety, big time. I barely participate in the comments section and if I’m lucky enough to catch a live stream live–not three days after the fact–I don’t participate in the chat because I am extremely shy and introverted. It’s the same reason I don’t do the instagram story thing or have a facebook account.

At the end of the day, I just want to sit in my bubble and write.

But last year I participated in a writing group and we used a video chat app to talk about our projects and I loved making videos for them. It was nothing fancy, I just turned my camera on and talked into it, usually while driving to and from work. And it was super fun. So if I could do something like that where I just talked for a few minutes and then uploaded…

But what about editing and all those cool techno things people do? And music, don’t I have to have music to drown out the static hum of background noise or whatever? And I’d need an intro and a catch phrase because everyone has a catch phrase and already I hear Mr, J’s voice in my head saying, “Don’t do that, that’s fucking stupid.”

And he’s right on two fronts. The first is: I don’t want to do something that I don’t know how to do or that I don’t like because it will be a shitty product and anyone who watches it will see that I am not having fun and they won’t have fun. So if I do the YouTube thing I will not be making fancy, heavily edited videos with music or images inserted or fun backdrops because I don’t have time for that. I have like, 10 books to write.

But the second is: Do I really want to put myself out there? After thinking about it on and off for two-ish years I still don’t know. I like the idea of making YouTube videos; I want to do the author tags and actually tell you about myself and my projects, not just write it down here in my blog. But is it really something for me?

I hope to figure out the answer to that soon because there are a few very good reasons to participate in social media platforms like YouTube. The most important one is it will help promote my books.

I am a firm believer that social media is essential to an independent author. Newsletters not so much (just my opinion) but social media is a must. Traditional publishers love authors with established platforms and readers love all the behind-the-scenes stuff. I do anyway.

And, for the most part (yes, I know about the drama), AuthorTube is full of really cool, awesome people who I would love to be friends with. But I’m so. Damn. Shy. and worried I’d say the wrong thing and offend someone. I’m also terrified of making a complete ass of myself. Etc, etc, etc. And it’s not about what you think about me. Or what strangers think about me, I could care less about other peoples’ opinions. It’s how I would think about myself. If I fucked this up I would never let myself live it down. Mortification and shame forever.

Again, I think I’m putting too much thought into it.

I guess the main thing I’m worried about, more than being embarrassed by my own content, is that it will take time away from my writing.

I’ve thought about doing a podcast too but I haven’t yet because I’ve gotten bogged down by all of the technical stuff. I have made a few recordings of my poems and created an extremely bootleg audiobook that is up on Bandcamp (free, of course). But beyond that I haven’t done anything else.

And that kind of bothers me because if I want to do something, why not do it? It’s not like I want to climb Everest. Making an AuthorTube video is a very achievable goal. So why not try it? If I don’t like it I can always delete it.

But the writing time is precious and anything that cuts into that is bad. But I’d really, really like to try.

Now that you’ve read me flopping back and forth like this, I’m going to end this post.

Are you on YouTube/AuthorTube? Do you like it? Do you hate it?

Meet Vermin!

I’m super excited to announce my collaboration with Little Fears went live today 🙂

Conquest is the story of a tiny monster with big dreams.

It was so much fun watching the art and my story come to life, I am beyond grateful for the opportunity 🙂

For more Little Fears spooky goodness click HERE 🙂

Character Consciousness

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 #10

LOVE ALL YOUR CHARACTERS

Much of my writing advice comes from years and years of poetry. My thoughts on imagery and diction are fueled by my medium. It is this lyrical perspective that gives my prose writing its unique voice. That and my brain is just weird.

But sometimes you have to learn and discover as you go along, otherwise what’s the point of doing anything. And, as a new writer to the world of genre fiction–specifically horror and the multi-omni-many-things-at-once-paranormal genres–there are things that I don’t actually see or realize until I mess them up and then I have the, “Oh, that’s where that went wrong,” moment.

One thing I learned while writing fiction is you have to love your characters. Not just like them and not just the main characters or even the side characters. You have to love all of them. Because if you don’t they won’t sound or look genuine on the page. They’ll look like cardboard stand-ins for real people and, most importantly, they won’t talk to you and tell you what they are doing in your story.

I learned the hard way that characters, much like poems, have minds of their own. Even though I made up those minds I have no control over what they do. That’s part of my creative process. In one of my works in progress, my protagonist’s love interest has changed 3 times. The first one didn’t really want to be with her. And then she didn’t want to be with the second one. And then the third didn’t want to be with her either. Meanwhile, her real love interest was sitting backstage (yeah, my mind is called backstage) with a cup of coffee and a newspaper saying, “I’ll be right here whenever you’re ready, and if you’ve gone to all the trouble of giving me a newspaper there’d better be comics.”

And just so you know, my protagonist’s lover loves Garfield. Garfield translates across time and space. So does Hagar the Horrible. He likes that one too.

But back to what I was saying; those characters didn’t work out because not only had I not properly fleshed them out, I didn’t listen to what they wanted. I tried to force round pegs into square holes.

And I surrounded them with minor characters that existed just to be in this or that part of the chapter. They didn’t work either. And whole chapters of this book have fallen to pieces because I didn’t care enough about the characters to get them where they needed to be.

So, to sum up:

If you don’t love them, chuck them.

You can always make more. Just make sure you love and listen to them.

Love them even if you’re going to kill them. Love them even if you’re going to break their hearts and destroy everything they love. Love them even if they’re the biggest piece of shit-horrible villain you’ve ever seen. Because they are yours. And they matter. Even if they show up in only one sentence, they matter.

Share any funny or frustrating character shenanigans with me in the comments 🙂