Three, two, one, BOOM!

A couple of days ago, I was discussing Book 2 with the Creative Director at my publisher, and she suggested outlining or breaking down the scenes to figure out where I need to add/change things. It was a good suggestion, except I suck at outlines–especially with the templates she was showing me to help. Then a little light bulb came on inside my head, and I thought “Hey, I can draw little bubbles with plot points inside them and connect them with lines, and that’ll let me visualize the scenes.” Y’know, kind of like one of those conspiracy theory-style infoboards.

Turns out this is already a thing called mind mapping, and there’s even software out there for it. Guess that light bulb was already manufactured elsewhere. Since prebuilt scene templates were already giving me a headache, I decided to go old-school and literally draw it out. I ended up with about half of the “Scribbles” section of my new planner, well, scribbled on. It’s a good thing I know my own writing.

I found places in almost every chapter where I can add onto and/or revise to make the scene(s) longer. Not necessarily fluffing the scenes, but enriching them. Adding flavor, adding depth…and yeah, I admit, adding word count. I even found a couple places where this expansion can create a couple new chapters, with better, more exciting action going on. Book 2 is going to be a little dark, but I think you’ll like it. Especially if you get to the end of Abnormal and think, “WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!?!” 😉

Speaking of Abnormal, three days to the cover reveal and preorder going live! I’m getting really excited–and more than a little anxious–the further down the numbers on the countdown widgets on my phone get. Three days to the cover reveal/preorder. Seventeen days until Abnormal’s release date. Seventy-nine days until Tucson Comic Con. My heart’s racing a bit right now just looking at my phone.

Three days. Two and a half working days (I was off this morning, but soon I’ll be headed in to work for the afternoon). A meeting Friday morning. Then, finally, I can show the world what Abnormal will look like, and give them a link to order it.

Soon. So soon.

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It’s getting closer and closer to Release Day, and in the hopes of getting some blurbs for the cover of Abnormal I’ve started sending out emails to other authors to see if they’d be interested in and Advanced Reader Copy to read and comment on. It’ll be interesting to see who bites and reads it.

I’m also doing an advanced read on another Askew author’s book (in exchange for her AR of mine), so of course I’m piling more work on top of the work I already have to do. Glutton for punishment, anyone? ‘Cause that’s me.

I had my interview for the promotion yesterday, but since there’s at least one other applicant that I know of (who is as qualified as I am, if not more so), it’s going to be the waiting game for a while. The owner of the practice has to review our resumes and questionnaires with my supervisor before making a determination. Good thing I clip my nails, because otherwise I’d be biting them in anticipation. As it is, my lip is chewed to pieces almost. Lol

SCA life is quiet for a couple of weeks, which means I get to game with friends this Saturday (better brush up on the system, because I’ve played all of one game way back in the fall) and the following Saturday is my birthday. The big 3-9, the beginning of the last year in my thirties. I’m not as freaked out about forty as I was about thirty, which seems weird, but I guess you get to a point in your life where you’re like “Whatever.” Some of my friends are taking me out for a dinner/cider tasting, which sounds like a lot of fun.

Other than that, my time is kinda my own for a couple of weeks. Yeah, I have the AR to do. Yeah, I have embroidery/sewing to work on. Yeah, I have work-work to do. Yeah, I have to finish remaking my Dark Phoenix corset for Tucson Comic Con. Yeah, I have marketing footwork to do. Still, it’s nice to not be running around crazy trying to catch up for a little bit.

(And yeah, all that and then some is me “relaxing” for a couple of weeks. 😉 )

Stuck in the past, no time for the future

So with one Arts & Sciences competition behind me and another one looming this weekend, plus the interkingdom arts exchange project I’ve been working on, plus another period craft I plan on doing, plus the Kingdom A&S competition in the fall, I find myself with little time for mundane sewing. This poses a slight problem, because I have to completely remake my Dark Phoenix corset before Tucson Comic Con in November.

Yeah, November’s a ways away, and I’ve made corsets before with much more of a time crunch, but I want to do this right. I want to look nice for my “fans” (okay, for random congoers who happen to stop by my table) at the con, but the previous corset I made was entirely too big. This time I’m going to go strictly by the pattern and not try to alter it to make it bigger. A corset’s supposed to be tight anyway, right? Sure. That’s the excuse I’ll give myself when I’m muffintopping out of it. Good thing I made a shirt to wear under it.

I need to get a few new materials, too. I have the basic top fabrics, but even with some careful seam ripping I’ll need new canvas for the inner layers and some new bias binding. Oh yeah, and new grommets. Maybe new lacing. *Sigh* So there’s the money aspect I need to take into consideration.

I also have to find the time to make the corset in the midst of weekends of SCA events, gaming, birthday (less than 2 1/2 weeks to go ’til 39!), etc. Then there’s the book marketing that I’ll have to do, with potentially time taken away for interviews and in-store events, and the Advanced Read Copy of another book from my publisher that I need to read and comment on. And I applied for a promotion at work that will take up considerably more of my time than I’m currently spending on the clock. Guess I’m a glutton for punishment.

Once the corset is made, I need to try on all my costumes again to make sure everything still semi-fits. I’ve gained entirely too much weight in recent months, and I’d rather not have a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of the con. That means I might potentially have to alter or remake other small pieces (but not another corset–if I have to do that I’ll probably cry lol) so I can comfortably sit at the con. Yay for skirts with elastic waistbands and Spandex pants! Lol

I’m trying to also factor in for potential embroidery commissions/requests in the interim. Right now, I just have the arts exchange project and the one craft project for myself, and one little bit of “tiny embroidery.” Basically, embroidering someone’s arms in miniature, so a max of 1.5 inches wide, maybe thinner.

The future is fast approaching, but I think if I buckle down and focus I can make it there with a corset to wear. I mean, how many times now have I had the Cosplay Con Crunch to deal with?

Yeah. I got this.

 

Lack of sleep has robbed me of my wit

No catchy title here. No play on words, no hidden meaning. I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up in time to get ready for my surgery shift this morning, so I only took a half of my trazodone pill. When did I wake up? About midnight. Yeah. I mean, I got some more sleep on the couch as I piddled around on the Internet, but overall I think I got four hours, maybe four and a half.

Oh, and I also forgot to take my pills before I left the house today. I managed to get them from the medicine cabinet and shove them in my purse just as my coworker arrived to give me a ride, but I didn’t have any water to take them with until we got to the office. Adderall still hasn’t kicked in, so I’m yawning so much my eyes are watering.

Otherwise, my last twenty four hours have been hectic. A long, busy work day, dropping stuff off at a friend’s house, going home to pick up my husband so we could go to a class on acid etching, then going home and crashing from pain and exhaustion. Because my coworker had to be in earlier than I normally do, I ended up back at the office less than twelve hours after I left.

Tonight doesn’t have anything scheduled to go out and do, but it’s getting to the point where I need to do laundry or else I will have no socks, underwear, or scrubs… all of which I will need for tomorrow morning.

I’m going to try increasing the trazodone this weekend to see if I get more solid sleep with a higher dose. I don’t know why none of the sleeping meds I try seem to last more than a few hours before I’m wide awake. Lately I’ve been able to get back to sleep on the couch after a couple of hours, but it’s not much help. I get things done (when my brain is functioning) like writing, sewing, editing, etc, but it’s not adding up to being worth how tired I am later on.

We’ll see how the higher trazodone dose works. See if it makes me too drowsy after only four hours of sleep or if it allows me to sleep for an extended period of time and wake up functional.

If not, I feel like I’m kinda at my wit’s end….

Oh hey, I managed to make a play on words after all! Maybe the Adderall is starting to kick in.

Ever the student

i have no idea what im doing

Well, it’s getting to Documentation Time for my Arts and Sciences projects, so of course I start with the hardest one: the research paper. I haven’t done a research paper since the last time I was in college–so twelve years. Twelve years rusty. Why did I choose to do a research paper again?

Oh yeah…I had a brilliant idea.

No, I won’t go into it here. I only have two very rough draft paragraphs done, and it’s going to take this whole week to get it done and up to snuff…and to document the arts project. That one should be easier, but first thing’s first.

A lot of people have told me that they do the research first, then the thing. I ended up going backwards on my arts project. I did the embroidery using stitches that I knew to be used in period times; now I have to prove that they were used. D’oh!

With the competition a week away, I have to put Book 2 on hold. I guess that’s a good thing, though, because I’m kinda stuck a bit. Not stuck-stuck, but stuck enough. I’m at that point I usually get to in my writing where I’ve reached the near-end before enough has happened. I have to add more action, more description, and/or more dialogue. I think I’ve dialouged things out, so it’s going to have to be the former two.

I started my research on local media outlets, bookstores, and libraries for Abnormal‘s release, too. There are a lot of libraries in Tucson. I haven’t finished there yet, and I still have Phoenix left to go. I plan on taking one of my half days/partial days at work to start making calls to set up potential appearances/book signings/etc. I want to have the marketing materials in hand though, so I will have to just research until then. Maybe by then I can narrow down where I want to go to plug my book.

The web media sites I haven’t really gotten into yet. I need to, but it’s a bit hard to weed out the clickbait sites and find the real entertainment/book websites. I also have to avoid the “pay to be put on X lists” sites. I want none of those shenanigans.

Proofreading is done, the publisher loves the ending, and things are moving along. I just need to finish my Arts and Sciences writing, finish the second first draft of Book 2, finish a bunch of illumination/scrolls that I said I’d do, and oh, yeah, the arts exchange project and…..I’m probably forgetting something in there. Work! Yeah. I have to work. Damn day job.

I guess that’s enough rambling for now.

 

The battle (moor) is over

We have left Battlemoor behind, and soon Colorado will be in the rear view mirror and we’ll be staying the night in Albuquerque before we go home.

I had a great time, but I miss my Rory-kins and my River monster. It’ll be good to be home and have them happy to see me. It’ll also be nice to sleep in my own bed … and write on my couch.

I managed to get a decent amount of writing done while on vacation, but I’ve got a lot left to do. I’ve gotten my MC into a sticky situation, and I’ve got to get her out of it… but I’ve got half a book to go for that.

I met many new people and made a few new friends this past weekend. Got some good rapier fighting in, and (in a rarity only found in out-of-kingdom events) managed to get to fight only people I’ve never fought before. Won a few fights, lost a few, but thanks to my rapier teacher I’m trying a new thing where I try to remember at least one thing I learned from each fight to help teach me new things and learn how to improve. I wasn’t able to get over my shyness to ask other fighters for pickup fights, but a couple of people asked me so I did get a few non-tournament fights in.

Tuesday I go back to work and fully back to mundane life. It’ll be a little bittersweet, because I’ll be back to normal but I’ll have to leave SCA life behind for a while. Not completely behind–I never get completely away from it because I’m always working on craft projects in my off time. I have to buckle down and get my A&S projects finished when I get home. I’m not going to try for Champion this go around. Novice for me this time, but maybe for the Kingdom A&S in the fall. We shall see.

Speaking of down time, I should get some writing in while I’m sitting here in the back seat.

Salvage

victory

Victory! I’ve nearly doubled my word count in just a couple of hours, and it’s all thanks to having enough of a salvageable first draft to cut and paste into the rewrite.

Granted, I still have a long way to go to tell the story I need to tell. I used multiple POVs in both books, and I had to cut the secondary POVs from the first book. Though think it still works for Book 2, I know my publishers won’t want to put out a sequel that differs that far in format from the first book. It’s going to be tricky telling the story I need to tell through only one character’s eyes, but hey, that’s what telepathy’s for right? 😉

I’m feeling more confident that I’ll have a workable draft in the next couple of months, despite having a lot of other work to do. I’ve got work-work, SCA-work, and some personal projects like gifts and such as well. Still, my mornings are my own for a while, so I have time. I don’t have a specific deadline for the Book 2 draft yet, but I should still keep pushing myself so I have something for betas to read soonish. Not necessarily by the fall, but by the end of the year for sure. And I think that’s a reasonable self-deadline.

I’m stoked for Tucson Comic Con, but I have work to do to prep for that as well. I’ll have to purchase books to sell at con, and I’ll have to get promotional materials printed and ready (once the publisher has sent the files to me). Still, I’ve been making little graphics of quotes from ABNORMAL and posting them on Instagram about once a week or so. I’m trying not to do too many, because I don’t want to give away too much, but a few here and there to get attention and garner interest.

ctd2842018131529

I found an app that lets me do cool stuff like that. It’s called CTDesigns, and though it has annoying ads immediately following any saving of an image, it’s pretty cool. I can use my own photos, too, which turned out pretty cool in this one:

ctd2842018143341

Not bad for a cell phone image of a full moon, huh? I need to take more pics that I can use, because then the images are my own. I’ve got more, but I want to release them on Instagram/Twitter first. If I don’t, I won’t be able to keep track of what I’ve posted and what I haven’t. Lol

Things are all moving along. I just need to keep on trucking.