So a-mused

Finally! After months of next to no real inspiration on the novels I’m working on, I was blessed by my muse with nearly 1000 new words of prose (even with quite a bit of cutting) that I think add depth and clarity to the story. Things that I’d gotten some constructive feedback about, mostly in areas that weren’t clear enough, now seem better and the flow is improved. It feels great to be back at it.

Except…the new inspiration comes at the cost of other things I need to do. Yeah, I’ve got Talk Nerdy With Us work to catch up on, sewing to do, social media stuff to tinker with….I should probably be chiding my muse for her terrible timing. Haha.

Still, I’m glad to have her back. I guess even muses need a vacation every once in a while.

Squirrel!

What to do, what to do? I want to draw; I want to practice calligraphy/illumination; I want to sew; I want to embroider; I want to write … Making up my mind should be a simple enough thing, but this morning it’s just not happening.

I woke up early with a rumbling stomach. Guess I didn’t have enough for dinner. I ate a snack and drank some hot chocolate to try to calm my restless mind, but the longer I was up, the more I wanted to get done…and the less I actually accomplished. I started one sewing project by cutting the pattern pieces, then decided I should put that aside for another sewing project. Then I decided I wanted to try drawing some illumination designs. Then I decided I didn’t want to do either of those. Then I tooled around the Internet for a while. Got hungry again. Made more food. Printed out some designs to try to embroider (those are still on the printer, because I then decided I wanted to write).

Guess my Creative Attention Deficit Disorder has kicked in again. As soon as I set my mind to one task I’m flying off to another, and it’s terribly nonproductive. I’ve gotten my hands dipped into too many creative ventures/projects, and now I’m in creative overload.

Maybe I’ll skip creativity for more practical activities. I have a couple of articles to write–maybe by the time I get those done I’ll be better able to decide what the heck I want to do.

Another year gone by

Here it is: 38. Feels about like 37. And 36. Et cetera et cetera, ad nauseum, whatever. It doesn’t even feel a year closer to 40. It just feels like another year.

I’ve gotten a lot accomplished in the last year, I guess. Completed two full cosplays in record time (for me); finished the first draft of two different novels; started learning rapier fighting; taught myself how to sew Viking garb and stuffed animals…not too bad of a haul for a year.

Oh yeah, and there’s that house thing. Starting the process of building a home from the ground up. I suppose I should count that in my accomplishments. That’s more of a joint venture, though. The husband and I are in it together, through the thick and thin of it. Six and a half years together, five years to the day since he proposed, and a little over four years of marriage.

Do I have any special hopes for this birthday? Well, I have a few things I’ve been hoping for gift-wise, but that’s selfish stuff. I hope that work goes well. I hope that I get to leave work early enough to make it to the city for birthday dinner. I hope my friends enjoy the restaurant we’re meeting at. I hope for a free dessert. I hope the drives to the city and on to my in-laws’ are smooth and uneventful. Lots of hopes, but mostly just hoping for a good day with friends and family–after work of course.

Yep, I’m working on my birthday. I do most years; it’s kind of just another day in the grand scheme of things. Sure, sometimes I request for a vacation day so I can spend time with my family or take a day/weekend trip or just chill at home, but not always. There was even one time where I worked at two different jobs on my birthday. You gotta do what you gotta do, after all.

I’m wondering when the impending big 4-0 is going to hit me. For 30, it hit exactly one month before I turned 29; I was suddenly filled with anxiety and dread over reaching that milestone, which now seems insignificant. Will 40 be the same? Will I become obsessed with the notion that I’m “old”? We’ll see.

The age-old dilemma

Once again I find myself waffling on an important writing decision: Do I self publish, or do I attempt to publish traditionally?

Not that I’m exactly ready for either kind of publication–I still have a ways to go on book 1 of my dystopian/sci-fi series–but I need to prepare myself for whichever decision I make. If I’m going to self-pub, I need to start looking at cover designs and the like. If I’m going to try to submit to publishers, I need to figure out how to write a query letter. First thing though is to make up my mind.

The idea of going through an agent and publisher is still terrifying for me. I have no idea why exactly, but it’s a definite road block. Is it fear of rejection that’s stopping me? No, I don’t think so. I know that rejection is part of the process. I think what really bothers me is the uncertainty of when/if I’ll get published. I have stories that I want to tell, and I don’t want to wait years and years for a publisher to pick them up. On the other hand, if I self publish those same stories are going to go largely unread because of my inexperience in marketing. How do I get more sales? I sure as hell don’t know. Granted, if I were to traditionally publish I’d still have to work at the marketing aspect, but at least then I’d theoretically have someone telling me what to do. On my own? Yeah, aside from telling all of my friends who would listen and tweeting the link for my novel, I am clueless as to how to get word out there.

I’ve taken to Twitter to ask what my writer/publisher followers think. I need some kind of input/feedback on which is the best choice. I know that self publishing is the easiest, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the best. I have enough author and publisher followers that I think I can get at least a push in the right direction. Sure, the publishers are going to say to traditionally publish (because why would they tell a potential client to fend for themselves?), but the information in their responses could be more informative than they realize.

My first novel, which I self published, did I guess relatively well, given that I didn’t advertise outside of telling friends and family that I’d published it. I had several friends and family members buy it, but sadly the best it ever did in the Kindle rankings was the first time I had it up for a free promotional period. I got all the way to #6 in one genre, which totally blew my mind, but of course it was free so that helped me a bit. I doubt it would have made it that far without the free promo.

I’m hoping that, regardless of which method of publication I choose, the fact that it’s a series will give me a leg up. People seem to enjoy stories that continue on to further books, and potential publishers might like that as well.

Which to choose, though? Do I stay patient and wait for a publisher to realize what a great story I have, or do I plunge in and self-pub it just to get it out there?

Counting down

It’s getting closer–another birthday, another step closer to 40. I wasn’t worried about 30 until a month before I turned 29, and so far 40 is not causing undue stress, but it makes me wonder about my life and where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going.

As far as major life events, my 30s brought me a husband and the ability to call myself a published author. Granted, I self published, but it was published nonetheless. Before I’m 40 I’ll be a homeowner, and I’ll be inducted into a HEMA rapier/swordfighting group. I’ve gone to pop culture conventions and cosplayed, and I’ve learned how to sew. I’ve gotten a great job that keeps me engaged and is almost never boring. Life’s pretty good.

So what will 40 bring? We’ll have to wait and see on that one, but here are a few of my hopes for it:

  • Become traditionally published
  • Learn enough swordfighting techniques to be able to teach as well as train
  • Become adept enough at sewing to be able to make more things and sell the things I make (while making some semblance of a profit)
  • Lean some elements of clothing design to where I can devise my own patterns from measurements that I take

That’s not all, but I think those are reasonable goals. Not quite bucket-list-worthy (except for the publication) but still things to shoot for and work on. I’d have to sit and think about what I’d want on my bucket list. What activities or life events do I want to tick off before I clock out? Maybe I’ll do that one day soon…

Heroes and Villains

cat typing gif

Now that the stress of impending preapproval is lifted, I can focus more on novel work. I’ve fleshed out the first batch of protagonists and “primary secondary characters” (in my world that’s a thing), so now it’s on to the antagonists. I already know much more about my characters than I did previously, including details that may not even make it into the story. I’ve heard that doing this can help make the characters richer and more “real,” but we’ll see. If anything, it might inspire me to make some tweaks that could enhance things.

Is this a stalling tactic to avoid actually working on the story? Possibly. I am still waiting on a critique/edit from a friend (who is doing it pro bono, which is totally cool and worth the wait), so having promised that I wouldn’t make changes to book 1 before getting her feedback back I have to be patient…but that also means I have to be careful how much fine tuning I do to book 2, because I don’t want to “perfect” it only to have to go back and make sweeping changes based on her notes. The last thing I need to do is have to go through a book and a half of story to make things fit and flow.

As it is, there are already changes looming on the horizon. Some of the characters decided they wanted certain aspects of themselves to be recognized, so I’ll have to see about getting that done. Luckily they’re small changes, but they’re changes nonetheless.

I’ve also gotten new ideas for book 3 and possibly book 4. Some of the characters I’ve devised don’t even appear until 3 or 4, so it gives me confidence that I’m moving in the right direction story-wise. If I had gotten to the point I’m at without books 3 and 4 brewing on the back burner, I’d be worried. Book 2 leaves off on a cliffhanger, after all…can’t have that happen without knowing what comes next!

It feels so cool to have a whole series blossoming in my head, especially for a girl who once thought she’d never have more than a short story’s worth of idea. Now I have one novel under my belt and many more to come. It’s an awesome feeling.

But enough about that. It’s time to get off my butt, sit down, and get cracking.

Missing in action

It’s been a few days since I’ve blogged here, but I haven’t been slacking. On the contrary, I’ve been busy with that crazy thing called life.

After Rory was found safe, life hit full-force. Work, home, organizational stuff, gaming, laundry, work, meeting with a mortgage loan company, work…

Oh yeah, the mortgage thing. Yep, my husband and I have been pre-approved and will begin construction on our first house hopefully in October. We meet with the builder again this evening after I get off work. It’s both exciting and terrifying; on the one hand, we’ll be free of apartment life (forever, if we have anything to say about it), but on the other hand it’s a buttload of responsibility. Mortgage payments, repairs, upkeep, taxes, garbage pickup, etc. … plenty to keep us occupied–and harried.

It’s all new and different and a little more than overwhelming. There was a time in my life where I thought I’d never own a home of my own, let alone freshly build one from the ground up. Now it’s more than just a dream; it’s a swiftly-approaching reality. It will even be complete before our fifth anniversary. Some anniversary present, isn’t it?

Once the house is built, I suspect our social life will evolve in several different ways. We likely will have to adjust to the new, higher cost of living before our ability to participate in activities stabilizes, and we’ll probably host more get-togethers at “our place” as we get things settled. We’re already planning two or three major housewarming parties (family, work, friends) as well as having several out-of-town friends and family members come visit. We’ll need more furniture for sure–can’t have visitors sleeping on the floor, and guests would likely want places to sit–which will mean more spending. It’s cool to think of our house being done, but weird to think of it as being empty. There’s enough furniture to fill our two-bedroom apartment, but with three bedrooms (one of which will be a craft room), a great room, dining area, garage, kitchen, etc., it will be a while before the spaces are filled comfortably.

I almost wish I could speed up the process of finishing my latest novel. I know, I know, the likelihood of getting published any time soon (even if I finish tomorrow lol) is slim to nil, but the thought of being a traditionally published author and a homeowner is thrilling. Like, maybe some day there will be a photo of me standing on my land with the mountains in the background on the back cover of a trade paperback. That would be cool. (Better than the selfie I took outside of my old apartment, anyway. Granted, the selfie looks pretty decent for a selfie, but it’s not the same.)

The going has been slow on the writing, editing, and revising, mostly due to that little thing I mentioned earlier called life. I’m going to try to kick it up a few notches, though, and finish the character sheets I started while I wait for the most recent edits of book 1 to be done. I’ve debated starting on book 3, but I think I should slow my roll until I know what changes I’ll have to make after the edits and critique come back. I don’t want to get too far in and then have to make sweeping changes. That would suck. It feels good to have the next two or so books brewing in the ol’ noggin, though. I’d like the series to continue further, but a quadrilogy would be okay. Maybe a quintilogy. (Spell check says that’s not a word, but Google says it is, and who am I to argue with Google?) Not a trilogy though; there are too many ideas for just three books.

I hope that some of you blog readers will be interested in reading these books. Is dystopian sci-fi your thing? A little bit of politics, some action, some sexyfuntimes? (I know that’s not a word, but I don’t care lol) Keep an eye here for updates on how they’re going. My goal is to have something ready to submit to agents/publishers by the end of the year, with my goal for next year being to have book 2 ready for pubbing. I know it’s not likely that I’ll be anywhere close to having book 1 even published by then, but if I have more installments at the ready I’m hoping it will let publishers know that I’m serious, and that there’s more to come.

Will I be a household name? Probably only in my own house, but that’s okay. I can deal with that.

My own house. Damn, that sounds good.