Update #1: the publication of Moon Shine, the next novella in my Slaughter Chronicles series, will be delayed a few weeks because one of my beta readers isn’t finished giving me feedback yet. I want this book to be the best that it can be so I have to wait a bit.

Update #2: I have put up all my books (excepting the Prolific Works Exclusives) on Kobo. They were live there before but I was distributing them with Draft2Digital. There are a few pros and cons to using a publishing service to “go wide” as they say, I may discuss them with you later but for now let me just say that Draft2Digital is awesome and I have no problems with the service, I just want to do the distributing myself. So I have. New Kobo links to all my books will be available shortly.

Update #3: TINY RICK IS BACK WITH ME!

Tiny Rick, our Feline Immunodeficiency Virus cat, is living with me now as Mr. J prepares for the next phase of job traveling. I am still living with my mom and Leela and Titain who, excepting my mom, are not pleased by his arrival.

Note: Yes, he’s named after the Rick and Morty episode 🙂

Note the second: We are well aware of the risks of adopting a FIV positive cat and introducing him (in this case) into a pre-existing healthy cat environment. I can report right now that Leela and Titain are FIV negative and have been living with Tiny Rick since 2017 without any problems. We try to make sure everyone is as healthy and safe as possible while keeping in mind that Leela and Titain (and Tiny Rick) are all elderly cats now and they will die eventually from something so FIV contamination isn’t really a big deal for us.

As I’m winding down the final edits for Moon Shine (goes live in 12 days) I thought I’d compile a list of steps my draft goes through when it becomes “done.”

1. Draft/Edit: it can feel frustrating at times but really it’s the most fun part of the process.

2. Finish Draft: then put it down for a week to let it simmer.

3. Proof-read + make notes of repetitive words.

4. Make corrections

5. Copy edit #1

6. Proof-read again + fix dialogue

7. Read draft aloud + Copy edit #2

8. Proof-read #3 + find continuity issues

9. Add to fill plot holes

10. Read aloud again

11. Take list from step 3 and use thesaurus. Use the fuck out of thesaurus.

12. Proof-read #4 fixing problems from notes taken during steps 1-11

13. Read aloud #3 + Copy edit #3

14. Give manuscript to final beta reader (Mr. J)

15. Re-read manuscript specifically focusing on using correct names/descriptions/actions/mechanics of firearms (if applicable).

16. Final read aloud

17. DONE

Note: Reading your draft aloud is the best thing you can do for editing, in my opinion. I catch so many grammatical errors and passive voice issues when I read my work aloud.

Note 2: Throughout the editing process I look for A) filter words, B) repetition, and C) passive voice

Note 3: Throughout the editing process I make notes every time I re-read the manuscript. I write down questions I have about setting changes and character development. I also write down/highlight all plot holes and anything I think is boring.

Note 4: I do not spend money on a freelance editor and copy editor. I have an MFA in Creative Writing. I do all my edits myself because I know how (feel free to argue with me in the comments if you’ve read my work) but I do use beta readers to gauge plot pacing, character development, and identify possible sensitivity issues.

Note 5: As important as it is to work consistently on your manuscript (especially if you have a deadline) it is equally important to give your book some down time. I try to take days off whenever I feel myself getting frustrated with a scene or when I feel myself over-editing. Remember, writing is supposed to be fun. You’re doing something you love, don’t burn yourself out. Also, taking breaks lets new ideas emerge and distance allows you a fresh perspective.

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 🙂

pelvic bone

demolition

painkiller hotel

and hunger

cold coffee the

shattered lover

intoxicated

vertebrae

tangled

in the

Delta

transformation

night

sky-

dive

THE MAJESTIC HOTEL

BURNED FOR NEARLY

48 HOURS

Big Dipper

spiraling

catastrophe

*Found poem. Source: The New York Times, April 2014.

The declaration

is so soft

no one notices and

when our breath catches

in our wine swollen throats

we wonder how

such debauchery

could have snuck in.

For my birthday

I asked for a 12

pack of toilet paper

and a sturdy pair of boots.

The first to fight

the ration shortage,

the second to fight

standing still.

For your birthday

the state of Virginia

banned oral sex

along with all the other

crimes

against

nature so I

sent you a picture

of me

pleasuring

the turkey blaster.

We still manage to see

fireworks even though

they are not

really fireworks.

In some distant

country not yet at war

with us the arches

of a cathedral crack.

I make an altar

out of pilfered bird

bones by the river

you will never see again.

Five tornadoes

touch down inside

the cradle

of a 10 mile radius.

We all raise

our arms

but we cannot

hear each other scream.