Kismet…or something

After all the worry, stress, and anxiety, things fell into place in a way I never expected.

Followers of this blog might know that I’ve been working on a little thing called a book series, and that I’ve been agonizing over deciding between self publishing and traditional publishing. I was so nervous about the decision that I couldn’t even consider when or how to start the submission process…so imagine my surprise when I got an offer this morning from a friend in publishing for Book 1!

Things are still in the works, but I’m ecstatic. I’m not going to get too excited though, because I still have a ton of work to do on the manuscript. I’m only halfway through on the adverb issue, and I also have the POV problem chapters and the telling and… yeah. Can’t let my head get too big just yet.

I almost–almost–wish I wasn’t at my first out-of-kingdom event. Almost. I’m ready and raring to dig in to revisions. Get this puppy started. Well, not started. But closer to finished.

Finished… and published.

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The long road ahead

Got my critique back on Book 1 of my series….*sigh* Lots of work to do.

I knew I had a lot of “telling,” exposition, wordiness, and adverbs, so those comments weren’t surprising, but I still don’t quite know how to fix the issues. Some pacing issues that I was kind of aware of as well, some that I hadn’t noticed…and a few chapters of different POV that I thought necessary but the readers, not so much. So now I have to also figure out how to convey that info–which my main character has no way of knowing until the end–without switching points of view. Fuck.

It’ll all be worth it in the end, I know, but damn. I’m kind of overwhelmed. Some of the “problems” are part of my personal style, so I have to get into a different mindset to write it “right,” but some of them are things that flustered me to start with and are just beyond my current ability–or maybe just my current confidence–to fix.

The POV thing is really bugging me. I tried to throw in some politics and intrigue and plotting but now what do I do with it? Chuck it all? If I do that, the ending makes no sense. None. It comes out of left field without the snippets of the antagonist’s POV. Hell, the antagonist comes out of left field without them. Although apparently the ending needs a lot of work, too….

There’s a lot of rereading and revising and rereading and brainstorming and crying and tearing my hair out and revising and cursing and… Yeah. It’s like that.

Well, maybe I should take it in stages. Chapter by chapter? Issue by issue? Do I attack the exposition first then the adverbs then the pacing? Ugh. So much all at once. With Whispers of Death, not only was I self-publishing but I was also getting critiques a chapter or two at a time. So it was much less overwhelming as far as fixes go.

I can do this. I have to tell myself that. I can do this. It might take a while, it might take a lot of work, but I can do it. I also have to remind myself that I’m way ahead of schedule as far as where I wanted to be when I made my “new year’s resolution.” I thought it was a reasonable goal to have the first draft of Book 1 finished by the end of the year. Now it’s 2/3 of the way through the year and I’m on like draft 6 or 7 or something crazy like that, plus draft 1 of Book 2 with a few ideas on where to go with Book 3. So I have that going for me.

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this….

As I ponder, bright and cheery

Yeah, despite the hour (it’s 4:15 in the morning where I’m at right now), I’m actually in a pretty good mood. I woke up during the night but went back to such a peaceful sleep that I almost feel like I don’t need the coffee I made. (I know better–the rush of a decent night’s sleep will fade once I get to work).

It helps that recent events have given me a boost to the ego. I did well in rapier tournaments at the last two events I went to–well for my experience level, at least–and I even got selected to fight in the finals of last weekend’s tournament despite being eliminated. It was a shock to hear my name called as one of the finalists, but it still felt damn good. No, I didn’t win–but considering I was up against fighters with years of experience compared to my five months and considering I was using a sword length that I’d never used before, I think it’s an accomplishment worth noting.

I’m also enjoying revisions on Book 1 of my series. I should have feedback on the last revision (yeah, I couldn’t resist–I revised before getting my feedback) soon, and it’s exciting to think I’m nearing the next round of edits before I move on to–you guessed it–more revisions. I want this as polished as possible before I work up that last bit of nerve necessary to brave the world of manuscript submission. (I’ll take a rapier fighter with twenty years of experience on me over a query letter any day of the week.)

My industrial piercing is angry at me but otherwise healing well. I often forget it’s there, and I’m super excited to get my sword barbell put in at the end of next month. Because c’mon, swords kick ass…quite literally, in the right hands.

I’ll also be doing more artwork in the coming weeks and months, which will be a boost to the spirits as well. I’d felt like I was in a rut artistically and almost kind of gave up on accomplishing anything worth looking at. I can’t show off the things I make here, but I know the recipients will love them and that’s what really matters.

So there you have it: a good morning. A rarity for sure, but welcome nonetheless.

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?

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.

As the dust settles

Now that I’m winding down from the most recent event, I have to take a moment to think about what I want to do next.

For the first time in months, I don’t really have anything I have to do in the mornings. I could sew. I could write. I could do a lot of things, but there’s nothing so pressing that it can’t wait. I’m not quite sure what to make of it.

I suppose I should enjoy this rare free-play time, but it has been so long since I’ve had time like this that I’m not entirely sure how to handle it. The feeling that I’m forgetting something vitally important is nagging at the back of my brain. How can this be?

This seems like the most opportune time to write, I suppose. Didn’t a famous individual once say, “When in doubt, write”? A (cursory) Google search doesn’t show it, but we’ll say it’s been said before. Book 2’s lackluster “ending”-in-progress needs to be amped up, along with several chapters leading up to it. There’s a rough idea of where it needs to leave off in my head, but when I wrote the last words (or are they the last?) it just fell flat. Time to find a way to add to the sense of urgency…and to fix those goddamn holes.