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Jan 17, 2017:

Too Much Work


At the moment, I'm trying to get two manuscripts I'm editing for pay off my plate. One of them isn't so hard: the story and the writing are both solid. The other? I don't even know what to think. The first version was beautiful. The author just needed to fix some stereotypes and be a little more focused. The second version, a total rewrite (by the choice of the author as that's not what I, as an editor, asked for), is so opposite the first version in terms of polish and how solid the story and writing are that it feels like it was written by a completely different author. This second version is so hard to edit. It needs more work than the first one I read, and it's not an enjoyable experience, which makes it very slow, very painful work.

And somehow these two manuscripts and life stuff is sucking the time out of my day in huge quantities. I'm struggling to get anything done. Even my writing has been suffering of late.

I hate it.

The plan is to dump the editing job almost completely as soon as these two are done. Then I'll only take work from the first author (which I suspect is where the press is heading for me anyway: I take too long, and the authors aren't too pleased with working with me—and this press is more focused on keeping the authors happy than anything). Until that is done/can happen, updates are likely to be few and far in between.

Which I also hate, but there it is. I have to get the paid work done. So that's why it's so quiet over here.

In other news: just submitted a slew of shorts. Been awhile since I've done that. Crossing fingers something sticks. ;)

Work & Writing


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


Crazy Busy

I keep meaning to post here and keep getting distracted by other stuff. Even writing has fallen by the wayside of late because there's so much going on.

The good news is that A.C. v5 is done! I'm working on some changes I need to make, which will end up being v6, then it will go out to betas. The hope is that there won't need to be much done for v7, and I'll be able to start working up a query letter and the scary synopsis. If nothing else, I can say it's DONE and I actually FINISHED a novel.

Among the things keeping me busy:

» A freelance editing job. Took up 6 weeks, and then was aborted. I discussed the extensive story problems I had with the author, and he chose to put it on the back burner despite the fact that it had been accepted by a small press. It amazes me that people trust my judgment that why can't I apply it to my own work? ;)

» Buying a house. I can't believe how much WORK it is to buy a house. I knew it would be initially time consuming because you have to actually go look at houses. I didn't realize the time sink would continue all the way through until after the move...and we're not there yet. At this point, we're waiting for a check we need to help pay a few expenses and for a grant program to process our paperwork. After everything we've done, the hoops we've had to jump, I've told the husband I'm not doing it again unless we can buy outright. I think we've pretty much decided we're just going to stay put and never move again. lol

» Oldest's unemployment, which impacted the household finances in a big way even though she was out of work only for a couple of months. Of course, the house stuff has also turned the finances upside down, so it's been a bit of a mess.

» Getting the husband into culinary school. He starts in October! We're so excited for him! :)

» Dragon*Con this past weekend. I wimped out and only made it through half of Sunday—still have a lot of healing and strength building to do since the surgery.

This is all just the tip of what we've been dealing with. There's been changes in routines, eating habits, and all kinds of things going on. Most of it has been good, thank goodness, but there's been a few upsets.

Right now my biggest challenge is finding time to write in a day that's broken up into a dozen little pieces and often has other things going on that takes up what little pieces I have. Working on it, but it's definitely tough. About the only thing not suffering right now is Twitter, and that's just because it's so much easier to slap up a brief "here's what's going on" than to write a scene or chapter or blog post. Things should be less crazy once the house is finalized and we've moved.

Speaking of crazy busy, have another house related call to make and need to take oldest to work then go to the grocery store, so better get going.

But, yay! A.C. v5 is done!

Heroes of Ehlarayn, Life & Writing, Life Stuff, Work & Writing


New Focus: Writing

I've made a major change in my life recently: I left my editing position to focus on my writing for the next few years. My son requires me to be home for at least the next 4, and the editing position was eating up all my time, so resigning and spending the time I'm required to be home on my writing instead made sense, especially since the money being earned really wasn't enough to do anything with and won't be enough to do anything with for a long time. I spent the latter half of the week before last clearing out of the company and sending them all my files. Last week was my first week as "only" a writer (and a mother).

It has gone very well, actually. I was having a great deal of trouble finding to revise A.C. when working for the press, and in the last week and a half I've sorted out chapter 32. Hopefully I'll work through the remaining 5 chapters more quickly now, get the fixes I need to make for the next round sorted out, v6 done up, and it out to beta readers by summer. The plan is to get it on the query-go-round before winter. I've already been threatened within an inch of my life if I don't even try. *g* I do have a few agents I want to query and one small press I think I would love to get into despite it being a small press. Have to admit, a lot of it comes from the name of the press, but they've treated another author I know very well.

In addition to that, I've started a new novel project. I'm pretty much doing it for fun—it's in a genre that I love to read but am unfamiliar writing, so it will be interesting how it goes. So far, the ideas I'm working with and the outline are being pretty well received by my writing group. I love this particular phase of writing, when the ideas are fresh and exciting and all you want to do is work on that one thing. But B.C. isn't my first priority and shouldn't be my first priority. It's just nice to have a non-Alden novel in the works.

So, the change has gone well so far. I'm actually getting through my writing goals rather than having the same goals over and over for weeks at a time. I've also managed to make some time for personal improvement, like exercise. And I'm enjoying being able to work on my writing without the nagging sense that others are waiting on something from me like edits or some other response. I know at some point there will be less energy and excitement, but I'm hoping to have my routine pretty much down enough by then that it will carry me through.

Okay, been avoiding my short story long enough, time to get to it.

Heroes of Ehlarayn, Life & Writing, The Shunned, Work & Writing


And Three Weeks Later

It's just been crazy of late, a lot of it good crazy, but crazy none the less. The editing job has become very busy. We're getting a new manuscript every day, and a lot of them are very good and so go on the to the reader panel (which I'm also supposed to be a part of), plus I've had a novella in edits that was just finalized. So that's kept me very busy. With my days so full of the job, it has been hard to find time to work on my own things, especially once the kids get home. Fortunately, that looks like it might be changing as early as next week. The tax return this year is really decent (the one advantage to almost no income last year) so I'll be picking up a "work" laptop, work meaning writing and editing. My desk top will remain my graphics/web work computer, and I'll probably be using it during the day before the kids are home from school, but once I have the laptop, I can extend my day and actually get more work done. At least that's the hope.

As for what I've managed over the last 3 weeks, chapter 30 is done, world building for Phoenix primarily (though there were some loose ends I finished up for A.C. as well), 2 shorts have been revised and one sent to my crit group while the other has been subbed—in fact a total of 7 stories have been submitted, and I've written 2 articles for the other editors that I lead. I've also had one weekend down because of problems with my DSL provider and have been fighting some kind of sick since the end of last week. Chapter 31 has been on my to do list, I just seem to keep having problems getting to it. Guess I should take care of that, huh?

I'm actually doing pretty good on all my goals for the year so far. Probably the worst category is finances, but that's to be expected. The return will help some with that as well, then we have to make the rest work. I've read 2 books so far this year, one while editing it, the other a published novel; my exercise has taken a different slant, but it is working even though most people wouldn't call it exercise (the fact that I see progress in my strength and stamina tells me it's working whether it's traditional exercise or not); my salt intake is way down, as is my PS2 playing (I've replaced it with reading); I'm averaging 5 days out of the week on feel good things; and I'm only 3k short of where I should be for my word count for the year. Hopefully I'll start getting ahead once I have the laptop.

So, in general, things are going good so far. Even with being sick right now, I don't have much to complain about. This winter has been relatively quiet health wise; the youngest hasn't even been hit once with her usual bouts of bronchitis which she usually gets 2 or 3 times through the winter. I do hate being sick, but hopefully it will continue to be a mild season for us and this will be the only time I need to complain about it. I just need to get a move on with A.C. Phoenix has been doing quite a bit of growing, but I'm finding it to be more my avoidance WIP at the moment, which is not necessarily a good thing, although it does help with that word count goal.

Speaking of which, I just finished doing some work on that tonight, and now I need to move on to A.C. Just need to push on through....

Or threaten myself with another short story. *g*

Goals & Progress, Heroes of Ehlarayn, Life & Writing, Work & Writing


I Need To Write

We writers all have different reasons for writing, but the one reason I think that puzzles non-writers the most is the need to write. They do not understand how writing can be a need. Even though I am a writer, that particular reason to write used to puzzle me as well. But not any more. I've discovered that I'm a writer who needs to write.

I've written all my life. I started with cheesy poetry as a kid, wrote a few kid short stories, tried my hand at lyrics (sucked), and went back to short stories around high school with an interest in writing a novel. Didn't have novel ideas at the time, but was definitely interested. Even after some dufus "pointed out" that everyone was writing the "great American Novel" and that anything I wrote would probably land in the circular file, I kept writing. To be sure, I stopped with the short stories and went back to poetry (it was safe) and eventually picked up gaming (which was safer) as outlets for my need to write, but I never stopped writing even when my goals for it changed because some idiot told me I couldn't cut it and I was too sensitive a kid to take that and use it to fire me up. I wrote until I started subbing, and even then, for the most part, I found ways to write.

However, the one time writing would fall out of my life was when I was long term subbing. Long term subbing takes up your entire life because you may be the sub, but you ARE the teacher, no matter how impermanent. You create lesson plan, hunt down or create materials, create tests, grade, go to meetings, and do everything that the regular teacher does. There's no time for life, much less writing when subbing long term. It's a hard job and I enjoyed it for about 3 years. My last long term position took all the joy out of the job for me, and I finally resigned from subbing at all. But whether I loved them or hated them, there was one thing all my long term positions had in common....

The lack of writing.

I had no time to write at all. I barely had time to read more than the textbooks at hand, the materials from meetings, and so on and so forth. Long term subbing was hard. But I'd had other sub positions that were longer than a day and shorter than a week, positions where I was expected to create/grade the homework and so on, and I never had the same downturn in emotions and attitude as I did when long terming for months. The biggest difference? No writing. For MONTHS. Not a few days, not a week or so -- months.

And I discovered what happens when I don't write fresh words for a long time: I become irritable and snappish, I lose interest in other things I enjoy, the PS2 gets more time than my creative well, and I end up being someone very different, someone unlikable and almost impossible to live with. Once I start writing, and I mean writing fresh words, new words, working on stories and creative projects that are new and untouched, all of the nastiness fades away. I come back to myself.

I haven't been writing for awhile. Oh, every now and then I pick up Phoenix, but I don't work on it consistently. My focus has been A.C. and critiques for my writing group, not new stuff. In fact, most of the stuff I've even looked at lately is stuff that needs revisions. I even set aside my short stories for a few months because I was tired of dealing with the market aspect of things. I never even thought that there might be another reason to write those shorts: to keep me sane while I worked on the novels. And lately there seems to be a change of mood that has no other real source, nothing I can point at and go "that's what's making me this way." That's how it always is for me when the not writing mood builds -- it seems to have no real source that I can point to for the reason.

So, tonight I'm going to set aside A.C. despite being behind, set aside the crit I started, even set aside Phoenix and work on a new short instead. And starting tonight, I'm going to try to make sure I get fresh words in at least every few days. I suspect it will not only help my moodiness, but that it just might help me become faster in my revisions and help with the restlessness and lack of motivation that's been plaguing me lately.

Some of us writers write because we NEED to write. Apparently I'm one of them and I better stop ignoring that fact.

Life & Writing, Personal Insights, Work & Writing


Busy, Busy Week

It's been crazy since I last posted here. Since the 20th of last month I've:

» Checked the edits on 3 novels for Lilley Press
» Checked 4 various versions of the ebooks about to be released
» Gone through 18 slush manuscripts, and read beginning to end at least 6 of them
» wrote up revision notes for yet another novel
» edited a novella (round 1!)
» had 2 doctor appointments, one which was canceled but only after we arrived
» revised a chapter and a half of A.C.
» revised a section of Stolen Priest
» posted 8 crits to my crit group (and am working on at least 2 more today)
» started some world building profiles
» did the Admin stuff for the writers group, including removing inactive members, updating forums, and writing the newsletter
» held an editor meeting for Lilley Press
» hired a new editor
» scored 3 or 4 editor tests (well, 6-8 since it's a 2 part testing process)
» spent an entire day at Carmax trying to get a "new" car (we ultimately prevailed but weren't home until after 11 PM)
» reviewed and made fixes to a website
» spent a day and a half trying to find out if one child will actually get to go to high school
» registered 2 kids for high school
» took the husband to the airport--will be picking him up on Tuesday
» helped find errors in a pdf file when InDesign tried to eat the imported manuscript
» did school related shopping
» celebrated a kid turning 16 with cake and a movie
» had an "I will have to quit if it's not fixed" crises at work--dealt with, I think
» pulled my Metawriting from an ezine after huge editor/author issues--and the edits of the last article took 2 days as well
» revised the 3 handbooks and a style sheet for Lilley
» fought and won against one sucky Canon printer
» been to the farmer's market and 2 other grocery stores at least twice each (we know where to shop for what for the best prices)
» helped the husband with his resume
» added an authors page to the Lilley site

All that and some sleep in there, off time because of stormy weather, and family time.

Is it any wonder I haven't been around lately? I am working on A.C. as best I can during all this. With the release date coming and more subs coming in, it's been very busy at the job. I've hired editors to help with that, and may possibly be hiring one more just because I think we'd be REALLY lucky to have her.

Today is sort of a catch all day. I'm doing crits and updates all over the place. We'll see if I actually finish any revisions or manage to get back to any of my ignored writing. It'll be an all nighter, so there's a chance, but I'm also likely to be so tired I won't make any sense.

Life & Writing, Work & Writing


Trying To Find The Track

I'm trying to get back on track here, but it's proving to be slower going than I imagined. I still have the cough from being sick, though I suspect that, for the first time in almost 4 years, some of the issue is my asthma flaring.up. It's weird having to deal with that again after so long without it. There's also a little congestion left and the two are waking me up intermittently through the night. The lack of uninterrupted sleep isn't helping any, either.

One of the biggest things I'm having trouble with is working on my own stuff during the week. The only thing I can think of as being a hindrance is that I do editing all day. So, when ti comes time to work on my own writing, I'm about writing-ed out. I've already processed a couple of thousand words. A couple thousand more, even if it's my own, just overwhelms the brain. I'll have to work on that, obviously, in the meantime, it looks like it was a very good idea to make Friday a part of my writing weekend. Even though I'm not getting much done during the week, I do seem to be fairly productive on weekends (over 7k this past Saturday and Sunday alone). I just know I could get more done if I would just take advantage of my evenings.

Motivation. It's such a fickle thing.

I'm not sure how much I'll be able to work on this little problem in the near future, however. Because of being sick, I'm behind in my editing work, so I've had to drop the hour I reserve at the end of my work day (before my son gets home) for my own writing—I need to use that time to get a little more done on the manuscripts in my care. I'm also stepping in for the Acquisitions Editor who needed some personal time, and had to adjust my daily schedule as a result. So, right now, work is very busy, which makes me even less inclined to work on my own writing in the evenings.

I'm about 25k behind on my word count goal and 4 chapters behind with A.C. I still have world building I really need to get done for A.C. (and my other Alden novels in general), and I've picked up Novel Plot Building as an in progress project again. I really need to find a way to get past this block I have on doing my own writing in the evenings. I'm participating in a writing challenge to hit my problem areas, but that won't do any good if I don't find a way to get past my own blocks.

It's sad. I rarely suffer writers block, but I do have large amounts of motivation block. All these ideas and projects, and I just can't seem to push myself to get them done.

Have to find a way.

Life & Writing, Obstacles & Overcoming, Work & Writing


Still Busy

I started subbing again (got to make the rent somehow!), but only part time--meaning only 2 or 3 days a week. So far I haven't had to turn anyone down for my 2 (preferred) or 3 (if one of my fave teachers begs really hard) booked, but I'm sure that will change once the weather finally goes from sweltering to "Is it cold enough to snow yet? No? Could have fooled me!" This should start sometime in November, maybe earlier. I'm also going to try to limit the number of schools this year. I may have to make the rent, but I also need to keep what's left of my sanity.

This means I'm now trying to compress 2 full time jobs into 5 days. Not fun, but better than it was. Even the editing thing doesn't take up all the time needed for a long term position. My family actually gets to see me in the evenings. But it's still a busy time, and my own work is suffering a little because of it.

And I'm suffering a big case of avoidance on at least 2 things since they both need scenes added. I know. Bad, bad, bad author. I'm working on it. Sorta.

Also coming up this week: Dragon*Con. Yes, I plan to be there, as broke as we are. Mostly on the Writing Track, but there's a little Goth and a little Anime, among others, thrown in for good measure. this will also be the hub's first time at the Con, so I need to spend time with him keeping him from getting lost, spending money, you know...the usual things.

Now add on top of all this that my oldest is here with the grandbaby, and, yea, things are just a bit on the busy side. I am thinking about what I need to be doing, but it's usually too hot and humid (as the hottest part of the day tends to hit in the early evening then stay for awhile) to dig up any motivation for it. Hopefully it'll start cooling soon and the writing won't be so hard to get to even after working during the day.

Life Stuff, Work & Writing

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