What’s Up With Everything

I don’t know why I’ve become blog-phobic lately. But I thought I should check-in here a wee bit.

Soul

 

1. Promotions/Sales

Some of my stuff is taking part in the Smashwords sale. It’s over in a week. Lots and lots and lots of books by other writers are up  there, so it’s worth checking out. Soul is free pretty much everywhere right now. Most of my freebies are really old now. I’ve  written a lot of books since Thirst, for example, so I felt like I needed a fresher representation of what I do. Soul is long and  new(ish), and I’m really into Chaos this year, so it seemed appropriate.

2. Editing Slots

A brand new Ava Delaney book is in my editor’s hands right now. I’m trying some new things, and I don’t want to give release dates  or promises. I’m just seeing how this goes. If it works out, it won’t be like the original series. There won’t be a big arc that I need to  wrap up in a final book. It’s hard to explain exactly what I’m trying to do, but I’ve been working on a number of stories in Ava’s  world, and I felt like I needed a story with her first to set up the timeline. It won’t change any of the original series, and there’s no  desperate need to read this one (I mean, unless you really want to) to find out more about what happened in the old series. I’m so  ridiculously bad at explaining this. Full disclosure: I cancelled an editing slot this summer, so my projected release schedule is once  again out of whack. When I figure it out, I’ll update.

3. What I’m writing

I’m currently writing some Peter and Val words. I meant to finish this thing a lifetime ago, but it never happened. It’s just a novella, but if it works, it’ll be the first in their series. If. I hope it does because Val keep surprising me. It’s in third person, and I’m terrified of writing in third person (or in a male voice), so it’s one of those make myself as uncomfortable as possible writing scenarios that I like to punish myself with so much.

4. What I’m Editing

Chaos #4 is my editing punishment right now. I thought I would send it to the editor this summer, but I wasn’t happy with it and sent Ava instead. Now, as I’m editing, I’m all, what’s so bad about this? So the ending must be horrible. Mostly, I needed a break from this series. I cry while I’m writing it, cry while I’m editing it; it rips my heart out and shreds it into pieces. And then I have to take a breather or I’ll die. I’m spacing out my editing a little better, so I don’t get crushed over and over again on the same day. ;)

5. What’s next

Weeell, I’m not as sure as I was. I know I have to write Break You, and I’m excited about that because it’s the final book, so I get to go out in a blaze of glory. I have to write Chaos #5 which I’m still thinking about. The order of events is so important that I can’t screw it up, so I’m going to be planning this one hard. And I’m a pantser, so outlining to the extent I’m planning is going to really suck. I have to finish the Chaos #4 edits, obviously, mixed in with editing another book that I haven’t quite decided on. Maybe the second Ava book. Maybe. I figure my brain will be more cooperative once the kids are back to school (and my baby is starting playschool so no kids in the mornings in September!)

6. Life

I stopped repeatedly getting my phone fixed and got a new one instead (I really hate change), so I’m a little more connected to the outside world. My eldest is away from home right now, so the rest of us are in a state of mourning. The other four are slowly taking pieces out of each other. They’ve been on holidays forever. I mean, really. They’re so intent on wrecking each other’s heads that their verbal battles are almost poetic. It’s hot. It’s so hot that it’s hard to remember to wear clothes or do anything but melt into puddles. My office is the coldest room in the house, and it feels like an oven. But we’re still getting rains and floods, so Mother Nature’s having a lot of fun.  Oh! And I’m super mega uber pissed that Dragon Age: Inquisition has been delayed again. I can’t think of anything else that’s been happening. Yes, we really are this boring. No wonder I don’t update much. :) And now I need to get out of this oven and spend time with my kids, so farewell. Have a good week (I have no idea what day it is)!

Queen Release Day

Queen (Chaos #3)  Queen (Chaos #3) is 99c all weekend. It’s available today on Amazon UKUS, etc., Barnes & Noble, iTunes IEUSGB,AUCA, etc.

Queen’s cover is by CCR Designs. Blurb below:

  Three kings.

Two queens.

One heir.

Chaos will rule…

Next release will probably happen around September.

Dystopian Freebie & A Shout Out

I know, I know, two blog posts within a week. But this one isn’t all about me, so it doesn’t count. :D

Fellow spec fiction writer R. Mac Wheeler (he writes fantasy & paranormal fiction of all kinds, even down to vampires & shifters) asked me to share his milestone celebration – he just published his 24th novel. I feel like a slacker now! The latest release is the third in Mac’s post-apocalyptic series, and he’s offering up free mobi copies of New Order Apocalypse, the first book in the series, to my special non-imaginary friends. If you’re interested (cover & blurb below), just visit his blog (where he posts his photography) or his website (where you can read excerpts of his books), and send him a message telling him I sent you for something deliciously dystopian to read for the weekend. ;)

Freebie!

    New Order Apocalypse

  Thirty-three years after the onslaught of an engineered plague that has shredded Earth’s population, technology keeps a starving  segment of the population on the eastern seaboard going, where the death rate from the virus slows only because there are few alive  who it is designed to kill. 

 Jason Kates is recruited to join the inner circle that controls what’s left of civilization. A distrusted outsider, he’s forced into a mission  west to learn if there is anyone left in the heartland, if fields are tilled. He’s not expected to survive. His journey diverges from an  exploration for food, to man’s last chance of survival—New Order.

About Book #24

!NO 3 4x6

This volume of the NEW ORDER APOCALYPSE series continues thirty-three years after an engineered plague shredded Earth’s population. 

Chloe and Ginna Lee must decide whether to continue Jason’s dream to unite survivors, or concentrate on surviving. Chloe hasn’t the tact to play ambassador, and Ginna Lee is more likely to take heads than spread good will. Promises little hope they can build an alliance, especially if peace hinges on a cure for Jihad. Meanwhile, the landscape they must cross still writhes with roamers and desperate clans.

Mac spins tales around rich, gritty characters with a lot of baggage, and puts them through a bit more grief than they can handle. His tone leans toward the sarcastic, passive aggressive. He writes speculative fiction, fantasy, SF, suspense, and paranormal with a twist.

24

 

Make You and… Yeah.

Happy May, people. It’s after 6am, so excuse the half-asleep/kinda wired weirdness that will surely follow.

First off! I forgot to post this here, but I did release the sequel to Stake You. Make You is still on sale at 99c until Sunday. Next release (hopefully this month) is Queen (Chaos #3) – it’s (annoyingly) ready to go, just working out cover options still. (I am gleefully dying to hear responses to that book!) Beyond that, I’m looking at a September release – likely Chaos #4 (title & blurb reveal in back of Queen), but I’m not 100% sure right now.

Between mid-term break, sick kids, a mental block, and some other boring schtuff, I’ve gotten way behind schedule, (yeah, I know, play a new tune, Claire) so I reckon I won’t be online much for a while. I am behind on emails, post, and all that jazz, and even though I’m trying to slooooowly catch up, I’m on kind of an introverted disconnect right now. I vant to be alooone. My life is going through a major shift, so I’m just going to accept that 2014 is a behind schedule kind of deal, embrace the stress, and do what I can. Which is really going to screw with the fantasy I had of taking October off to play Dragon Age: Inquisition. ;) (And the bigger not-a-chance-in-hell fantasy of going to see Faith No More, Black Sabbath, & Soundgarden in England this summer. Tear).

Also! Am I the only person who’s getting bored with Game of Thrones and ridiculously over-excited about The Vikings? I’ve been having serious trouble sleeping for the past few months, so I’ve been spending way too many wide-eyed early hours of the morning time (well, hello there, sun) with Netflix watching Sons of Anarchy (dude, why am I crying over bikers?), True Detectives (anything remotely gothic ftw), and now Rectify. I am loving the slower pace of the last two. Mini-series are my new thang. (Until Claire gets her sleep back).

/Vague nonsensical waffle. So not why you’re here.

Make You is available on Smashwords, Amazon US,UK, etc., Barnes & Noble, and Apple iBookstore IE,GBUS, etc.
Make You

Cover is by CCR Designs. Blurb below:

It’s been months since Devlin O’Mara’s boyfriend killed a vampire for her, months since her family and friends covered up the incident for her. But now teenage girls are going missing and dying, and it seems as if Sully could somehow be back in town.

As the kidnappings draw too close to home, Devlin sets off on a mission to find the truth. But as she soon discovers, enemies can become allies, allies could be the true source of her problems, and vengeance is one of the few emotions vampires retain.

It’ll all end in blood and tears… but who will survive?

Changes, Dilemmas, & A Queen

The kids have two weeks off school, so obviously it was time for another bout of sickness. One kid started puking on Friday. It’s now Tuesday (I think?), it’s three down, two to go, and both parents are borderline. We’ve had some lovely bright mornings, but we can’t go anywhere, so that’s a shame. Maybe next week!

There are some pretty big changes happening in my personal life that will have an impact on writing/publishing. I have two books close to ready, two manuscripts that need a massive edit, and two editing slots in the summer. Beyond that, I don’t know how much things will slow down. We’re on the wait and see train right now. But I will not leave any unfinished series hanging out there.

My dilemma is that I planned on publishing Make You this month, and Queen next month. But Queen came back earlier than expected, and it’s in better condition than Make You. I feel like I should just publish Queen this month and give Make You more time (because something’s irking me about it), but that feels a little unfair to those who are waiting for Make You. Right now, both stories need covers, Queen needs a proofread, and Make You is waiting on another edit + proofread, so it makes sense in one way to get Queen out of the way, but that’s really close to Fade, considering the rest of the books won’t be published a month apart. I’ve been going back and forth about this for weeks, and I’m still no closer to figuring out what to do.

In other, kinda-related news, I’m struggling with Chaos #4. The previous two books were obviously too easy, and this is my punishment. :D I’m, again, having trouble making decisions on what goes into this book. I don’t even have a title which is weirdly unsettling. The almost ready to be published books hanging around are distracting, so I’m hoping once they’re out of the way that this will get easier. It’s during months like this that I wish I wasn’t in charge of everything. I’m not decisive enough. :)

So yeah, I’m not online as much, but I try to keep people updated as often as possible, hence this (kinda vague) post.

And I’ll end with a place-holder cover for Queen (Chaos #3) because I’m obviously procrastinating if I’m blogging and creating place-holder covers.

Queen Demo Cover

 

Here’s the blurb if you’re interested:

Three kings.
Two queens.
One heir.
Chaos will rule.

Fade (Chaos #2)

Fade (Chaos #2) is now available for preorder on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords with a sale price of 99c until Monday. It should be available on Amazon this Friday. Apple haven’t listed it yet, so if you’re interested, either keep an eye out there or look for an epub copy on Smashwords.

Edited to add: We’re on the iBookstore. Ignore me; I’m an idiot!

The cover is by CCR Designs. Expect Make You in April, and Chaos #3 (title & blurb reveal at the end of Fade) in May/June.

Blurb and cover below:

Official release date – 28th March 2014

Cara Kelly should have left the faery realm now that it has a king to rule all, but nothing is that simple. The real king is trapped in the Fade, and Cara’s journey is just beginning. Guilt-ridden by the fact Brendan’s soul was sacrificed for hers, she’s determined not to desert him after his one pure act of goodness. Time is running out; even if she makes it past all of the dangers of the Darkside, a shade might await her in the Fade. Running from enemy and friends alike, she sets out on a path that will lead headfirst into danger.

Even if Cara makes it to the Fade, even if a goddess watches over her, she doesn’t trust all of her companions, she still has to find a way home, and freeing Brendan could cause a war between the faeries she cares about.

And all the while, Chaos grows unchecked.

Fade

Four Year Indieversary

Aaaand here we go again. If you’re interested, I posted on year one, two, and three. This year I missed it by a week, but that’s pretty typical of me. :)

Four years sounds like a long time, but it feels short. In last year’s post, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure if there would be another indieversary. I’m still here, clinging on to the dream, but will there be a number five? Who knows?  I’m not overly concerned. What’s meant to happen will come, and if it doesn’t, then I probably didn’t deserve it anyway. (And according to a certain little twin, I’m a mean mom because I work all of the time and never let the kids have McDonalds. AND! I don’t give them sweets every day. The three-year-old called him a sidekick and a suck-mucher though, so I feel like we’ve even on the slurs around here).

The past year has been very uppy-downy as my five-year-old likes to say. I’ve just been trying to roll with it. I lost my confidence for a while because of a bad book I couldn’t publish, and that slowed down everything I’ve been trying to do. I’m not sure why I let it knock me so much, but I’ve had this weird fear over my shoulders since. Fade is just waiting on a proofreader, so the editing on that went really well, and that’s kind of unblocked me again. Okay, it’s only been a couple of days, but there’s been less teeth-pulling since then, so I’m clinging onto that as a good sign!

I insisted I wasn’t going to do the series thing until I had a couple of books prepared, but I made a massive liar out of myself for yet another year. I’m juggling too many books again, and I’m cursing myself for it. I’ve even written a couple of new Ava books, but I’m thinking I shouldn’t start publishing those until next year to lessen the gap between books. Chaos is the series I’m most excited about working on, so I’ve made that a priority. The third book is going out to my editor in less than two weeks, so something is working. I spent way too much time last year struggling to finish books I wasn’t in the mood for (while putting aside the ones I couldn’t stop thinking about). Down with that sort of thing.

I think this might be the dullest indieversary post yet. I’ve lost the knack for blogging – if I ever had it to begin with. Imma get back to editing Chaos #3 (because ermahgerd excite!) likely while listening to my three-year-old perform a medley of Frozen songs.

So long, farewell, and have a great March/2014.

What’s Going On?

I forgot to publish the blog post I wrote last month, so I’m going to ignore that and kick on with this one!

It’s been a weird couple of months. Not publishing Tainted put my schedule out of whack first of all. Then my phone broke, I burned through another laptop, and I thought I figured out a cool new schedule that actually worked for me, but once I realised I would be forced to dedicate February to editing, my enthusiasm kind of died a terrible death. Trying to plan out the entire year pretty much terrified me. My schedule is all pretty and highlighted and scary. I’m not a planner. I know how annoying that is to other people, but plans make my world go very wrong.

Anyway, what’s been going on is that I’ve been writing a crapton. Seriously, I don’t know what that’s about, but it feels good. The only problem is that I’ll write instead of editing all day long. I started a second new Ava book last week, but I’ve had to stop to edit Fade and Make You because time. There is none. Fade is going off to editing next week, so I’ll have to get cracking on finishing editing the third book in that series because that one’s scheduled for late March. Like I said. No. Time. And I still have no idea what I’m doing about covers for any of those books.

I did receive the proof copy of the print version of Soul. Amazon & Createspace did the cover and interior for me for free, which was super good of them. It’s already available on Amazon & Createspace, so that’s a relief! Here’s a small version of the cover (click on it if you want a better look):

Soul

My twins are about to come home, so I’ll leave you with a story my 3-yr-old just told me. This kind of stuff pops out of her mouth all day long.

Once upon a time, the dinosaurs caught me, and I escaped on a crocodile.
But then I sank, and I was dead.
Then a teacher saved me and let me eat my lunch.
Now I’m a wiggly worm.

 

Non-News

I keep forgetting to update here as well as Facebook.

Bad news: I spent months working on Tested and am not going to publish it. I sent it to my editor who thought it was bad. I agreed. I’m sad I wasted so much time on it, but… shit happens. I may eventually edit it and upload a chapter at a time on Wattpad or the blog. It won’t be good, so it’s only for anyone who really, really wants to know how Jess ended up on Ava’s doorstep. :D

Better news (maybe?): I took the sequel to Tested, changed almost everything, and rewrote it in Ava’s POV. It’s possibly the start of a new Ava series called Lost Souls. It will be out next year (after Fade) if it’s less bad than Tested. ;) If it goes well, I’ll probably go from the Chaos series (Soul, Fade, etc. Yeah, I finally settled on a name!) to the new Ava one, and back again.  I’m equally excited about both though. I’ve been so excited that I keep pushing Make You on the back-burner to work on them. I’ll try to work on that one for the rest of the month though.

Also: I bundled the Ava books properly. The cover should make it clear what’s in which bundle to sort out any possible confusion. Hopefully. It’s much better value to buy the bundles either way, but I’m going to give the first bundle an extra discount over Christmas.

Next up: I’m spending January working on the third book in the Chaos series. I’m not giving the title away just yet because it’s all kinds of spoilery. In Feb, I have an editing slot booked for Fade, so that should be out by April at the latest. It’s going to take that long to find a cover artist for the series!

If I don’t post here before the end of the year, happy holidays and all that jazz. :)

What Takes You So Long?

I stupidly talk about “the process” sometimes, and I make it clear that I’m not a slow writer when it comes to first drafts. I like to whack ‘em out as quickly as possible.

It’s day 14 of NaNoWriMo, and I’ve hit the 50k without trying hard, while preparing a book for my editor, while being sick and having some sick little babas staying home from school, and, erm, while watching Netflix a lot. I know that a lot of the words in my first drafts likely suck, but that’s okay. I now have the bare bones of the story I needed to write. Editing will just poof that right up into a real novel.

When I work hard, I can write a lot more. (I can also burn out easily). When I’m working on a first draft, 5k is usually my minimum goal for the day. Have to watch out for the wrists though. There’s always at least one trade-off. (I didn’t just wake up one morning capable of typing fast, by the way. It comes with practice and having a very clear idea of the characters and storyline. I know my characters inside and out, and I visualise scenes all of the time, so they make it easy on me).

Because of this, I get asked things like: What the hell takes you so long to finish a book?

I work at home full-time. That job is writing. That job supports my family. I should theoretically be capable of a lot more than I’m doing when you compare my day with most other people. But I’m not good at editing, so I can’t cut corners, or the finished product will be embarrassingly bad. It takes me a hell of a long time to edit a book. I read threads on writing forums which make me want to weep. People actually let other people read their first drafts. Excuse me while I vomit in my mouth. I can’t even write if someone could possibly maybe slightly see my screen, never mind voluntarily allow another person to read the first unedited piece of crap set of words I spew onto a page. I spend an excessive amount of time editing one sentence emails before I can bring myself to send them. And I still make stupid mistakes. I don’t even…

Right, we get it, I suck at life and organisation, and all of that good stuff, but this is what takes me so long. My editing cycle – it’s more of a hellish nightmare really – usually goes a little something like this:

  1. First draft in Scrivenor – Awesome!
  2. First edit in Scrivenor – Hopeless despair. Countless hours fact-checking and researching things that never make it into the story.
  3. Chapter by chapter edit to transfer manuscript into word document – Frustration that this isn’t going any faster. Unsure if research is helpful or procrastination.
  4. Kindle edit – The story is actually working!
  5. Typing in changes from Kindle edit – Holy shit, there’s no way I can actually publish this crap.
  6. Days of ignoring the story and being incapable of writing because I’m so worried about the story that I can’t fix and won’t fix because I can’t even bear to look at it.
  7. Massive paper edit – I can do this. Maybe. No, wait, I can’t. I can fix it. This is unfixable. I may cry. Chocolate and coffee. Lots of it.
  8. Typing in changes from paper edit – What the hell does this scrawl mean? I love these characters. Ignore a lot of these changes and feel guilty about past me’s hard work. Laugh at my own jokes that I then delete. Glare at my window in case somebody happened to be creeping by (what? It could happen!) and caught me laughing at my own jokes.
  9. Kindle edit – Tweaking sentences. This has to be productive.
  10. Kindle edit – Tweaking sentences. Falling asleep. Panic that I’ve made a massive booboo in the timeline/continuity. Start over and double-check the timeline and continuity. Google the shit out of everything else I can think of. Reassure myself I didn’t mess up, but have stress nightmares thereafter.
  11. Kindle edit – I have to let my editor know I’m not going to be bloody well ready for editing. Tweaking sentences. Spending way too much time reading about grammar and not understanding any of it. Why didn’t I stay in school? Why didn’t I learn any of this when I did go to school?
  12. Big frustrated crying jag – Feeling a little better. Determined not to let this bitch book best me. Er, yo.
  13. Kindle edit – Pretty sure I’m just undoing changes I’ve already made. Tweaking sentences again. How have I missed this stupidity? Why can’t I read English? Why can’t I write English? Oh, my God, I’m so bored of this hateful book.
  14. Kindle edit – Inspiration. Three sentences change the mood of the entire book. La-la-LA! The pieces are finally clicking together. I am a freaking creative genius, people. How on earth did I manage to spell the main character’s name wrong though?
  15. (Somewhere amongst the Kindle edits comes the beta reading stage – if I have time. That’s when I rock to and fro wondering what to do when everyone contradicts each other, leaving me more confused than ever).
  16. Final Kindle edit – At least most of the words are spelled correctly. Probably. Some insane sounding cackling from my office terrifies the rest of my family. Extra obsessive fact-checking. Freeze my laptop with the amount of open tabs in Chrome. Cross out all of the notes I’ve scrawled in my notebook. That has to count for something. Squint to understand most of the scribbles, but feel like I’ve sorted everything I intended to fix. Maybe.
  17. Work up courage to send to editor – Can’t concentrate on anything but feeling sick with worry that the editor will think it’s the worst book ever written and ban me from hiring her ever again.
  18. First editor edit – Um, lots of repetition. You know, as usual. Delete seven thousand instances of variations of the word look. Rewrite the scenes that I’ve rewritten the most during my own process. Hate myself. Relieved somebody else is taking care of my mess.
  19. Second editor edit – Fix the new errors I’ve added because I’m a gobshite.
  20. Proofreader edit – Fix the highly embarrassing mistake that I’ve missed during my countless edits. Thank the universe for editors and proofreaders who must worry about my rapidly decreasing IQ.
  21. Final proofread – Doubt myself. Panic. Worry about the likelihood of missing small issues that most people won’t notice, but the ones who do will HATE ME FOREVER.
  22. Publish – Fall into a state of depression because I miss the book that put me through hell.

So that’s pretty much it! The hell-cycle is complete. And now I can start all over again. Except I can’t because I’m still missing the characters from the book I just finished. While I’m editing, I tend to get trapped there and forget about writing anything new. I’m trying to wean myself away from the obsessiveness and prioritise some new words on a different story every day that I spend editing. And it would be great if the whole editing thing could be more efficient and less soul-destroying. And while I like to tell the world I hate every moment of editing, I do love the finished product way more than I would if I didn’t act like a crazy Gollum person over my manuscripts.

So that’s what takes me so long and why I end up with so many first drafts and not enough completed ones. If I didn’t book editing slots, I would never finish anything. And yes, despite all of this, I know quite well I’m going to get complaints about using British English, but it’s worth it. Pinky swear.

(And I finally wrote an entire long-arse blog post without using a smiley. Maturity. Go me).