I haven’t been posting. Well, obviously. We shifted formats for ROW80 to the FB group, so I’ve just kinda let the blog languish. The name of the game all year has been buckle down, nose to the grindstone, get stuff done. And I have. Grand total, I put out, let’s see…how many books?
Dance Me A Dream (part of the Romancing The Holidays anthology, releasing November 25th. Preorder yours today! :end shameless plug:)
So, yeah. Six books. I also wrote Book 2 of my Sooper Seekrit Project. I wrote Book 1 for my NaNo project last year, and I didn’t put in adequate planning, so right now I’m back to that one doing a true second draft.
OH MY GOD I HATE TRUE SECOND DRAFTS.
I haven’t had to do one since I started using The Story Toolkit and given that this is coming on the heels of If I Didn’t Care (which was a total gift book that practically wrote itself), I’m struggling. I was already behind schedule on this book (I was meant to be finishing it this week and starting on Book 3), and then the election happened and all the fallout from that has been terribly distracting. And, of course, life stuff. I can’t keep my head in this book. When I do a read through of what I have, I like it fine, I’m interested, I think it’s going well. But I haven’t been able to maintain that connection with my characters where we’re having those constant mental conversations. And that’s made this book feel like a Job with a capital J. Which means I’m really not having fun. Not that you always have fun when you’re a career writer, but just…UGH.
I can’t decide what I want to do. Some of the changes I’m making to the story will necessitate changes to Book 2 (relatively minor, comparatively). I’m contemplating possibly setting Book 1 aside for a little bit and going ahead with those revisions to Book 2. Then I can send it on to my editor while I go back to fight with Book 1. I have already given up any aspirations of making my original deadlines this year. I don’t even know what the story to Book 3 is yet. So I’m shooting to have Books 1 and 2 finished and Book 3 outlined by the end of the year. We’ll see. But I’m just…in a funk.
Well, how’s this for crazy? I set up all the stuff for Round 3 over at the ROW80 blog and never got around to actually posting my goals. A lot of that is because I went immediately on vacation down to the coast for some writer time with Lisa Kroger. We had a spa day and lots of brainstorming, which was fantastic. There’s no telling what the lovely ladies doing our pedicures thought of our conversation. I sorted out what was missing from my current book and did a read through in order to incorporate the new material about my hero. Now, I’m sitting here with an epic case of page fright trying to get back into things. The teenager gets back in an hour or so from a two week stint with her grandparents, so time is short for words tonight, but then we’ll be getting firmly back into routine. So, with that in mind, it’s time to set some goals:
Oldie but goodie, write 20 days out of every 30.
Finish writing Turn My World Around, the Wishful novel (#6) I’m 2/3rds of the way through with.
Finish revisions on Dance Me A Dream (#8), another Wishful novella that’s my contribution to a holiday anthology releasing later this year. I actually wrote this one last Christmas and just need to make a pass through to deepen some stuff and generally flesh out a couple of things. That should be nice and quick.
Revise Sooper Seekrit Project Book 1. The first draft of this was…almost devoid of conflict because I didn’t fully understand the conflict until I was nearly through. Took out all the narrative punch. Plus I didn’t know my hero or shero or world well yet. So, this will be a full on new draft (mostly).
Plot out Sooper Seekrit Project Book 3. This one’s plot has been eluding me, so that’s why it’s been pushed off to after this other stuff.
Begin formatting Wishful books for print editions. I need to just take a long weekend somewhere and knock them all out.
So it’s start day for Round 2 of A Round of Words in 80 Days. It also happens to be Day 4 of CampNaNo, which I decided to participate in to try and get properly adjusted to morning writing on Daylight Savings Time. I managed 5:35 this morning. I’m rotating back by 5 minutes a day until I get to 5:15, which is what I pulled off for NaNo proper in November.
Post at least twice a week on my blog. I never used to have to make this a goal, but I was absolute CRAP at blogging last round. Was very much wrapped up in life stuff and prepping for a double book launch (that happened last week–feel free to check out Just For This Moment (Wishful #4) and Wish I Might (Wishful #5, in the Virtually Yours anthology)).
Write at least 20 out of 30 days. Oldie but goodie.
Do another round of Whole 30, with minor modifications. Hubs and I did this in January to great results. And then fell back into poor habits in February and March and gained a fair bit back. So we agreed to do it again with beverage modifications (that was the hardest part). I get to keep my tea, he gets to keep his coffee, and he gets his (less) sweet tea.
Finish Sooper Seekrit Project Books 2 and 3. I wrote Book 1 during NaNo last year and I’m a little over 20k into Book 2 now. I should finish Book 2 as part of CampNaNo, then have the rest of this Round to knock out Book 3. I’m aiming for back-to-back releases in July, if all goes according to plan.
Get my new website launched. This is close to being finished. I have a few other things to line up before I switch over.
There are other things I want to do but, I’m keeping it streamlined and simple this round.
I hesitate to say it, but I think I’m finally getting back into a groove. After a couple of days with very low word count over the weekend, the last two days, I’ve hit 1k+ each day, and I feel like I’m sort of shrugging back into the story like a favorite pair of jeans. Yesterday I hit on a really important detail for the shero that will very much control how she goes through the relationship arc of the book. There are 10 days left in the month. I’ve got 3 and a half new scenes to write to get to the 22k chunk I wrote before I stopped to replot. And then there are changes that need to be made in that original chunk. Depending on how things go, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that I could get through all those changes by March 1st, so that’s the new short-term goal.
Yesterday I did some pontificating about the 50 Shades franchise and the issue of character agency. There’s some link love for a number of posts I’ve read the last week, and I also pose the question of why there are so many books/movies/series out there that are ragingly popular, wherein the shero has no character agency. I think there’s been too much dichotomizing of the issue and name calling, implying that the women who enjoy these stories are somehow deficient or stupid or [insert whatever derogatory remark], and that’s totally not cool. This is NOT about bashing those women and their preferences. People have the right to like what they like (as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else). I pose the question, NOT to insult women who are actually into this stuff (“stuff” being, in this case, stories wherein the shero has little to no agency, wherein the plot mostly happens TO her, not because of her), but because I’m truly trying to understand the appeal (’cause I totally don’t get it). This is a much broader question than the issues of sketchy consent and abuse dressed up as romance brought up by 50 Shades. So if you’ve got time to pop over to yesterday’s post and enter the discussion, please do!
Honestly, I feel like I’ve been scrambling to get back into some kind of routine since the start of the month and just failing miserably. After three weeks off (Christmas break + being sick before), my body had plenty of time to both rotate to it’s natural biorhythm (aka, going to bed at 11 or 12 instead of 9) and sleeping as long as it wanted (10 hours compared to 7 and a half). Trying to get myself back on my normal Evil Day Job schedule has just been brutal. I haven’t been able to get myself back into any sort of workout routine in the mornings yet. Mostly I’ve been turning off my alarm and sliding instantly back into sleep, so I’ve been doing good to get up in time to do my 15 minutes of traction to start the day.
But I have at least been walking two or three times a week and going back to taekwondo, so I haven’t been doing NOTHING. This morning I started with the Pushups app (it’s designed to build you up to doing 100 pushups with workouts 3 days a week, much like the C25K, but for pushups instead of distance). And I went through all my forms for TKD (something I need to make a daily practice anyway). So I’ve just decided to stop beating myself up over what I haven’t done and the fact that I haven’t just been able to turn it on and pull a Nike (just do it!) like I usually do. I’ll gradually add things back and just go with it. Courtesy of my dairy allergy, I didn’t put on any weight during the holidays, so it’s not like I’m in some scramble to drop that extra 5 pounds.
Things on the writing front have been…busy. I took half of last week and tabled the novel I’ve been working on to finish pulling together my first cookbook. HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner! is specifically geared toward helping those who do not themselves have gluten or dairy allergies cook for those of us who do. Currently available only at Amazon and Smashwords, it’ll be showing up eventually elsewhere, and as soon as I can carve out the time to mess with it, I’ll be making a print edition.
Meanwhile, I knew there was something…off with Liam and Riley. So I let it sit. And then a couple days ago, I went back to it. And the pair of them finally let me in on a crucial piece of backstory that makes everything make SO MUCH SENSE. And also changes…a lot. Why they couldn’t tell me this 2 months ago, I have no idea. But rather than try to force things to fit in the mold I already have (since it was originally intended to be a novella and already expanded to a category length novel), I’m going back and starting an entirely new toolkit and plotting it out the same way I usually do my longer projects. I’m hoping to get through all of that by Friday so that I can dive into the writing again on Saturday. I’ll be able to keep a fair chunk of what I’ve written (with some adaptation), I think. But I need to work on the overall structure of the book since it’s definitely going to be a longer novel now.
I already knocked out one alpha read for a crit partner this week, and I’ve got an outline and a second alpha read to do for two others, so I’ll be juggling that while I plot. And trying to find time to read Candis Terry’s Sweet Surprise, which just came out. I’ve been waiting on it for MOOOOOONTHS.
I DID at least finally manage (I think) to get ORGANIZED this week, both at home and at work. So I feel a little more in control than I have all month. Onward!
Not a whole lot to report on this side. While To Get Me To You is still with my CPs, I’ve dug out the house and been plotting some shorter things. I’ve just barely started on Once Upon A Setup. That one’s been plotted for months, actually, but I’ve been working on some character development for the hero, about whom I knew very little prior to this. And I’ve also been playing with a second chance romance that will probably come out novella length. I’m still sorting the specifics of the story problem there. I’m holding off on diving whole hog into the plotting of my next book (which isn’t Wishful) until I get TY out the door.
Meanwhile, I’ve been catching up on grading and reading a fair bit.
I’m trying to keep busy to distract myself from the wait for revision notes. Logically, I know everyone is busy and that’s why it’s taking time, not that the book is a disaster. But instinctively, I’m about a step and a half away from a flail. Because this is the natural response to waiting on revisions. You start assuming you mucked everything up and go AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH.
I have been a crap blogger lately. Which is more stating a fact because I’m not apologizing for it. I’m up to my eyeballs in the end of this book. Fought my way through the scene that was giving me fits over the weekend until finally hitting its reason for being yesterday. I have five and a half scenes left. La Nora’s latest, Blood Magick, the conclusion to her latest trilogy, comes out on Tuesday. That’s my bar of Godiva on a stick.
So it’s Wednesday. I was hoping for Friday. That’s a little bit of a kick in the pants.
Writing on TY has slowed down considerably the last couple of days, partially because I’ve been busy. Partially because hubby got home from being out of town and I wanted to spend some time with him. And partially because the hero of the plot bunny that bit me a couple weeks ago took over my brain yesterday to the tune of 3k words of plot notes. He’s vomiting backstory this morning, explaining his motivations and psychological wounds, and I’m sort of wishing there were a version of Dragon Naturally Speaking that I could just hook up and let him talk to without the use of my fingers, which need to be working on Other Things. I’m also wishing the shero would speak up. But, you know, NOT TODAY because OTHER STUFF.
Upside, it’s cooler! I’m starting to dream of chili.
I don’t have a whole lot to report. I’ve been doing a bunch of work on my business plan this week, preparing to launch the pre-order for To Get Me To You, working out details for a sale on Forsaken to get a little movement going in my Mirus stuff as well, and looking to the future to see what would make the most sense for promotion, rollover sales, and gaining momentum. You know, the less fun stuff that’s part of this business.
Wishful continues to explode with new characters showing up, bits and pieces and characters from abandoned novels from years ago suddenly rearing up and saying “Hey! I’d fit here!” So I keep scribbling down notes and having mini squees because I love this series so flipping much. I really hope readers will as well.
I am back to the writing since I got back from my vacation, getting back in the groove and building some steam toward the end. There’s always something about getting past that midpoint and feeling like you’re on the DOWNHILL finally. I know it’s purely psychological, but it’s such an awesome sensation to see the number of words left to the end SHRINKING. WHEE!
I’m also gearing up to really dial up the effort for my taekwondo training. The lower belts are testing this weekend and I need to finish catching back up to my current belt level so that by the time they’re ready for the next round, I can test up with them. Blue belt by Christmas? We’ll see.
So, did a read through of the first half of TY last week. Between Wednesday and Monday, I blew through 8k in revisions (everything but one tiny thing on my To Do list). Yesterday I did a fresh read through of the revised version (and caught a crapton of timeline issues and typos due to my jumping bean cursor). And I figured out some second half stuff to do with my shero’s motivation for some stuff that was kind of weak. And how to weave in the set up for another couple whose second chance romance story will come later.
OMG, I HEART THIS BOOK SO HARD.
I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy about it. This is a very unusual place to be when in the midst of the Dreaded Valley of the Shadow of the Middle.
I am OFFICIALLY IN THE SECOND HALF (Praise your favorite deity!).