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Jan 17, 2017:

In Progress Updates & Other Things

I'm trying to get some editing off my plate, which is hard when the work being edited is...a whole lot less than ready than it should be. I can't say much, but I can say this: don't go to an editor and get your novel "fixed up" before you submit. Agents, publishers, and editors need to see what YOU are capable of, and most of them really don't like bait and switch. Be honest with who you are as a writer. It will make for a much better working relationship.

Summer has ended for us. Kiddo is in his last year at his school's work program. I'm hoping I can now get caught up on things and be more present here, but the operative word there is hope. Kiddo doesn't take up much time, but somehow he does at the same time. Pretty sure the same principle applies when hubs is home and somehow things don't get done. Time gets sucked into a black hole. I also usually end up having no idea what I did manage to do. This could become a problem when kiddo is out of his program completely, but I've got a few months before I need to worry about that.

So, the plan right now is to get these two novels I'm currently editing back to the publisher as quickly as possible, to drop my editing down to the one author who has requested me and limit taking on any others after this. Once all that is done, I can start moving more time into the cupcake sales we're planning to do at a local farmer's market. Since we're planning that for this fall (October at the latest), there will be overlap. One novel needs another go round and the other needs at least two. Neither will be completely off my plate before the end of the year, I'm pretty sure. This is slow, even for me, and I suspect that's why the publisher hasn't sent any others my way, but at this point, that's going to make the cupcake thing easier so it's a good thing.

Still out on the submissions-go-round: Assassin's Choice is now hitting small presses and Blood Charms is still being queried with agents. Charms has gotten fairly positive feedback,so as far as I can tell, it's not broken, it's just proving a harder sell than expected. No one who has commented has disliked it or mentioned anything negative, but there's signs the UF trend is on the downward slope. Still, the input on Charms has been good, so it might have an easier time in the small press markets than A.C. if it gets that far.

I'll be at Dragon Con this year. At least that's the plan. Not a guest, so not on any panels, but I'll be about. Really looking forward to it.

Current works in progress:

Tirs :: second Randi Kayde book Trying to get this one polished, then Randi will be set aside until Charms gets an agent or sells. Am having to rework the latter third of the book, but it's coming along.

Phoenix R :: first book in the Phoenix House series. Set in the same world as A.C. (Alden) but generations earlier. Will finish the first go through on revisions then probably set it aside for a bit.

Chosen :: first in the Uncrowned trilogy. Also set in Alden but generations after A.C. This is the book I've been waiting to write until I felt capable of tackling it. It's been a project on ignore for some time, and now it won't be ignored anymore.

Once P.R., I'll probably attempt to pick up Shades, which is in the same world as Randi's books but on the opposite coast and with a different character. It's mostly outline, just needs some back end work.

Coming out soon:

"Promises" :: due to come out in the October anthology, Wrapped In Red: Thirteen Tales of Vampiric Horror by Sekhmet Press.

Haven't worked on or subbed too many shorts of late—they're too much work for the payback and became pointless when Duotrope went to pay. Just don't have the funds to sink $60 into a service that won't pay for itself yet. I understand why they went pay, I just can't afford to. I should be subbing more now that there's The Grinder.

And that's pretty much it. Need to shuffle a few more things off my to do list, then hopefully I can focus more on the writing. And the cupcakes, since they may indeed become a thing for us. I don't mind too much, but having to test new flavors and having them hang out a the house is wrecking havoc on my diet a bit.

One more thing to work on.

In Progress, Life & Writing, Life Stuff, Novels, Published, Work & Writing


Projects & Goals

2012 wasn't the best for my writing. It was a busy busy year in a lot of other ways, but there was so much upheaval that just submitting was difficult, and I only had 2 short story sales. I can't control what people will like/buy, but hopefully 2013 will be a better year in the actual writing department. We're more settled, so now all I need to do, really, is get myself back into a routine that works. I've been struggling with this the past few months. My guess is that, like our finances need time to recover from the mess of the past few years, I just needed some recovery time. Getting back on track is a priority for 2013.

The one thing that has changed significantly over this past year is the projects I'm working on. So here's the current/updated list of active work or work being submitted (there are A LOT more ideas, they just aren't in any kind of development other than a paragraph in my ideas and inspirations notebook).

Assassin's Choice
Tolkien-esque (or game-esque) Epic Fantasy. This one is making the rounds of small presses for the most part now. I've thought about trunking it once or twice, but I know epic is a hard sell, especially traditional/"game" epic, and I love the book too much to give up until all avenues are exhausted.

Blood Charms
Urban Fantasy, book 1 of The Shunned, 3rd person. Still submitting to agents, with a few nibbles and a few positive rejections under its belt. Currently the full is out. Waiting for response before starting a new round of submissions.

Music of the Mists
YA Fantasy. Reached the end of the rough and realized there was a problem in the story arc/conflict. Have set it aside for now. Not sure if/when I'll pick it back up since it would require a complete rewrite from scratch after I figure out the problem and how to fix it. With so much else waiting for attention, I'm in no hurry to get back to it.

Crown of Tirs
Urban Fantasy, book 2 in The Shunned, 3rd person. Deep revisions. Once I get through the current round, I might set it aside for a bit to give Charms a chance to sell somewhere, especially since I have a couple of other projects that could use my attention.

Phoenix Rising
Epic Fantasy, same world as Assassin's but much earlier in Alden's history, House Thalionrhoe book 1. The series follows the rise and fall of a single family/house. Been picking away at this but not doing any concentrated work on it. I'm nearing the end of the rough draft. It'll probably continue to be a back burner project for now.

Shades of Reyn
Urban Fantasy. Same world, opposite coastline and different main character as Charms and Tirs. This is still in development, but it may take the place of Tirs in terms of how much focus it gets once the current round of revisions are done. I really like some of the ideas I'm developing for it but need to work out a few holes in the story line. The basic plot/conflict are solid, just have a couple of places where getting from point A to point B aren't completely worked out yet. Currently working on the outline/narrative draft.

That's the major work in progress. Still have a novella and several shorts that I poke at occasionally, but I'm still not inclined to put a lot of work into them at this point.

Sales this past year:
"Into Stone" by Chamberton Publishing first for their Limelight: A Golden Light Anthology then for their Chimera Series of short stories (it was 1 of 2 published this way)

"Human" was just accepted by Grim Corps Magazine (no publication date yet).

"Human" in particular was a nice sale. It's always been a hard to place story. "Into Stone" has never had the same problem.

I tried to simplify my goals for this next year a little. Since I need to make room for exercise and more house related duties, I'm trying to cut out a bunch of other things I'm doing to make space. Dropping out of LJ, for the most part, helps since there were several communities I updated as often as once a day (most were less than that) and my journal entries there, when I did them, could take up to 2 hours. Some time needs to come from being more focused again in the evenings. Once the dishes are done, it's my writing time, but I've had trouble just getting started lately, and that has got to stop. I've already begun the trimming of stuff, now I need to work on that focus thing.

Goals this upcoming year:

» lose 30 pounds
» take care of everyone's glasses

Reading & Writing
» read 40 books (see me on Good Reads
» finish Tirs
» Shades to v3
» Phoenix

» move all my reviews to Good Reads
» update/clean up Alden more consistently (1/week at least)

There's a lot I can't control, but I'm thinking 2013 will be a good year overall. We're in a place where we're happy and healthy and have a chance to work on the financial mess made these past few years and have no plans to move. A lot less upheaval in a better place means a less stressful year. I hope.

*knocks on wood*

Annual Goals, Goals & Progress, Heroes of Ehlarayn, In Progress, Novels, Published, The Shunned, Y.A. Projects


And Then There's Life

It's been busy in a lot of ways, but not necessarily with the writing. I had a nasty tooth problem that took 2 months to resolve because of lack of funds (large tax returns are so nice), then I got sick. I managed some sporadic writing, but it's hard to think, much less write, when you're in pain. All I wanted to do, pretty much, was sleep. Everything I was doing at the time got derailed.

And now the husband is employed. This is a good thing. It's been nearly 6 months, and even with our older girls helping out, it's been scary on the financial front.

However, if things were in upheaval over the last few weeks over my health issues, it's really going to get crazy now. Hubs works nights now, which means I'm back on dinner detail. Haven't done that in awhile. His current term in school is out in a few weeks, then he has a whole new schedule for next term and our oldest will be going in with him for her classes...and needing rides on the days that he doesn't go in. Some time in May (with the floods and snow days, the question is now when in May), the kids are out of school. They go back in August and I'll probably have to give youngest rides to and from her school since it'll be parental choice rather than a problem school that lets her stay there and the van they have this semester will more than likely no longer be available because of budget cuts.

Writing is about to become a challenge. A very big challenge. Especially since there won't be much opportunity to adjust to each new schedule change before it changes again. Up early and driving on and off all day can really mess with my writing, but I'm going to have to figure out a way to work around it.

As for Charms, it's moving along quite nicely. I have some things I still need to sort out world building wise, and I had to make some cuts in the draft because of timeline issues. Otherwise, it's going well and I'm enjoying it. I just hit 33k last night and expect the building draft to clock in at about 50-60k and the rough to finish up at about 70-80k. I've not been working on much else, not even my shorts, but with everything that's been going on, the focus has been a good thing.

I've also had 2 shorts accepted as reprints. I turned one down because the changes the editor wanted would have made it a totally different story. The other, "Presence", should be in a summer issue of Golden Visions. I'll list more info when I have it. A third short is on the short list for another market and I should hear in May whether it makes it. I'm still not stressing the short stuff in terms of sending it out, but I am trying to submit something every month.

And that's pretty much what's been going on since January. I swear, one of these days I'll manage to update on a more regular basis here. Of course, with all the changes coming up, it may not be until next year, but I'm trying! ;)

Life Stuff, Published, The Shunned


Yes, It's Been Awhile

I've actually had an amazing amount of personal stuff get in the way of my usual activities, some of it health related, some of it family related, and a whole lot of it disruptive. Things appear to be settling now, for the most part, and I've made a few changes to make my days easier for me. Not sure they will get me on this blog more than usual, but they are already helping with the writing aspect of things. Now we just need the weather to be cooperative...which is not likely to happen consistently any time soon. We need the water, don't get me wrong, so the rain is welcome. The tornadoes and lightning, however, really aren't as necessary as they seem to think they are. ;)

Of course, the biggest concern has been my health. I had to go back on my iron to combat anemia, and finally gave in and went to the doctor when the last 2 weeks proved to be far more difficult than they should have been. He's put me on medication as a stop gap measure (which is already working) and is having testing done to see what we can do to keep the issue under control in the future. A lot of this has to do with my weight, and a lot of it has to do with my age. I was taking tiny steps towards a healthier me when the newest wrinkle showed up. With the temporary measures already having a dramatic affect for the better, I'm already trying to get back into some of the habits that were helping me before. I may hold off on exercise for a bit, though, just to allow things to stabilize before I go adding something back into the mix.

One of the biggest changes I've made is to my schedule. I'm not sure why, but months after leaving my substitute teaching job, I was still on the working girl schedule: up early, awake all day, to bed around midnight. For most people, this works...except maybe the midnight thing. For ME, this is a nightmare. I hate mornings (I like to say I'm allergic to them) and have always done better with a night time schedule--meaning to bed at 3 AM (or later) and up at 10 or 11 AM. I don't even start to feel creative energy until 1 AM or later, so being in bed at midnight robs me of my most creative time. After talking with the husband about this, it was agreed that I should try to go back to my own schedule, with a small change: I still have to get up to get the kids off to school. I just go back to bed once they are on their buses and sleep until 11 or noon. The old work schedule rears its ugly head still, so the shift over is proving a bit more difficult than I thought it would be, but, as I said earlier, the positive results are already being seen. I've been working A LOT faster on A.C. than I was before starting to switch over. Nothing beats working within your own creative cycle.

The editing job has also gone through some changes. Our acquisitions editor resigned for personal reasons that had nothing to do with her love for us. She just didn't feel it was the right fit for her. As a result, my position as senior editor is now merged with acquisitions, and I've had to do some shuffling around with my responsibilities to get everything to fit. Fortunately, it's still quiet for us. It may not stay that way once we have our August launch and release. I'm looking forward to it, but we also still have a lot to do to get 3 of our 4 books ready on time (the 4th may or may not be ready, and we're okay with that).

In other news, my essay "When Tears Fall" has been reprinted in Voices of Autism, an autism anthology. I am VERY excited about this antho. It's already received at least one wonderful review:

The fifth entry in the Voices anthology project from the Healing Project, this work includes over 40 different stories and vignettes written by parents, teachers, and people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) that showcase how families and caregivers measure perseverance, understanding, and success. Many of the selections stand out, including an author’s account of her autistic son, a seventh grader’s perspective on her two siblings with autism, a memoir by an adult with autism who relied on a tire advertisement to get through tough times, and an account of the challenges of dating an adult with Asperger’s. The book’s real strengths are the adult-penned passages, which will give readers a better sense of what autism truly is. Taken individually, the stories show glimpses of the impact that autism has on individuals and those they love. Taken collectively, they paint a rich landscape that many will find familiar. Highly recommended for public libraries and academic libraries with disability collections.

-- ­Corey Seeman, Kresge Business Administration Library, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

I hope you will consider picking up a copy. Autism is probably one of the least understood but most prevalent disabilities in the world today. 1 out of 166 people are diagnosed with autism, and it affects everyone in the autistic's life. Probably the most frightening part of the disability is that those who have it look normal. It's not like so many disabilities where you can tell there's something different just by the person's appearance. When you combine this with the lack of knowledge about it, the result can be devastating for the family. I've been a target of the blame game, of being told I should get another opinion because it's probably not autism, of having to fight for everything that my son is supposed to get by law. The only thing that will help is education. The essays and stories in this book come from our personal experiences as family members of autistics and from those with autism. Nothing could inform better.

Changes & Challenges, Getting Healthy, Heroes of Ehlarayn, Life & Writing, Life Stuff, Personal Insights, Published

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