September 2016 – Upcoming Release(ish)

I’m going to send a free story out with the newsletter next week, so if you want it, make sure you’re subscribed here. I usually send out free codes, but this time, I’m testing out downloads from within the newsletter. I’m scared it’ll go wrong, but if it works, it’ll be much simpler for everyone. 😀

badblood3The story is Bad Blood (VBI #2). I’ve been working on the bloody thing all year, so it’s about time I just shoved it out the door. I didn’t plan on the huge gap between books one and two – it just fit better in the world’s timeline this way. And I’m kind of sick to death of Peter and Val at this point (they existed way before Ava in my head), but they’re up next again with Secret Self (VBI #3). I’m not even going to guess at a release date for that one because we all know I screw up as soon as I do that. 🙂 I’ve no current plans to continue with the series after book three.

Bad Blood isn’t hugely connected to Ava, so it’s not an essential read for Ava readers. (Secret Self is mostly about Ava though, sorry!) The final blurb will be in the newsletter, but basically, (an incredibly irritable) Val and Peter are hired to look for a missing husband -> find a disease that might be coming from the succubi -> have to get to the bottom of everything before it’s covered up.

After this mini-series is done, some more shorts are to follow (that’s all I can manage right now). Crossroads (a Phoenix story which has been annoyingly close to finished for way longer than Bad Blood), Magic Thief, and then Faery Dust. They’ll all come free with a newsletter on release anyway, but I was thinking about bundling all of the short stories (except VBI) in Ava’s world together with some extras like author notes and short stories from characters in the world that Ava hasn’t met. That’s way in the future though.

In other news, I’m pretty distracted right now, and stuff is moving slowly. I did some organising yesterday, but it’s back to editing again this weekend. I think October will be more of the same, but I’m hoping to get some writing down in November. NaNoWriMo is a good enough excuse to try.

The kids have been back at school for only three weeks, and I already hate homework, have been begged to homeschool by at least two kids, have gotten a note that nits might be going around (shudder), and all seven of us have been sick at one point or another. One kid cried the entire first week every time I woke her for school (but she’s delighted with herself this week because she won a writing competition!), two are extremely unhappy with their teacher (not shocked), and one literally uses the schoolyard(!) as a chance to get some peace and quiet from his siblings (which proves my point on how nosy this lot are).

At least the last kiddo is as chuffed with life as always. Although, she’s a bit miffed that unicorns don’t exist. This month, I’ve witnessed her shaking her fist at the sky, shouting, “Damn you, universe, for not making flying unicorns real!” She’s also been telling me all about how terrible existence was for her while she was waiting for me to “born” her. She was in a dark place with lots of stars, and she could shoot fire out of her hands. Awful stuff, indeed. 😀

The twins, usually annoying little gits when they get together, have been making a lot of unprompted observations on equality and prejudice and such that make me think I haven’t completely dropped the ball with them. *Pats self on back* Sadly, that doesn’t stop them from planning my funeral already, so I’ll leave you with this notable conversation from yesterday.

Three youngest kids are playing with my hair because I have no idea why.

Kid #4: Did you see that? A hair fell out. Mom, you’re going to go bald!

Kid #5: Oh, don’t worry, Mom. You’ll be dead waaaay before that happens.

Kid #4: Then we’ll have to put you in a grave. In the ground.

Me: No, thanks.

Kid #3: Oh, so you want to be burned?

Me: Cremated. And, yeah.

Kid #3: Nope.

Me: No?

Kid #3: *Firmly* No. We’re going to put you in the ground, and everyone’s going to have umbrellas, and it’s going to rain. That’s how we’re doing this.

Kid #4: Aw, yeah! That’ll be so cool!

Kid #5: But I don’t want Mom to die.

Kid #3: But you get to have an umbrella.

Kid #5: Sweet!

Me: :/

August 2016 (Also Known As No Good News)



Due to personal reasons, August has been the worst month of all time less than perfect. This last week has been a million times better, so it’s for the best if we pretend the rest of the month never happened. 🙂


To the actual bad news update then. I intended to publish the first Harbinger novel around Halloween, but that won’t happen this year. I’m just not in a position to fund a series right now. I’m still trying to work on a solution, but if I can’t figure things out, I’ll put it on my blog or Wattpad or something. Not the greatest outcome (those of you who have read my unfinished work can already testify to that!), but I’m stuck in a Catch-22 situation right now. I’m an emotional wreck a little upset. I haven’t published a novel since December, and I don’t know when I will again. In the meantime, I’m going to keep writing and editing in my spare time, and I’m hoping to release a novella next month (free copy with the next newsletter), but I should probably stop trying to predict these things. 🙂

All jokes aside, I am sorry if you were waiting on the series and are disappointed, and no hard feelings if you don’t want to wait on me again. I completely understand.

By the way, this is the cover I originally ordered for Harbinger last year, but it doesn’t work for the series.


That’s it for book-related stuff. Everything else is an epic waffle because I haven’t had much adult conversation this summer. You have been warned. 🙂

The kids are back to school tomorrow (and dreading it). The giddy one has been sick (and eerily quiet) but seems to have gotten better juuuust in time for school (ha). They’ve basically spent the summer playing Minecraft or pretending they were pokemon (all while making a good effort at sounding like at least two dozen kids). Except my eldest, who has spent his time off in a dressing gown (that I’m going to dump as soon as he goes to school) whilst avoiding the rest of mankind. (Definitely my child). The smallest of the smallies is excited to see her BFF again. She’s been telling me the tale of how they first met. It’s full of drama, hyperbole and heroic rescues from bullies. (Also definitely my child).

I managed to get an afternoon away this month to see Suicide Squad. (I know. The cinema twice in one year. Slow your roll, Claire). I was fairly disappointed, but I had overly high expectations going in. I thought it was… a mess (in the same way as a lot of recent films). No structure, no substance, no story. I love me some flashiness, but there has to be more than that. It was just a bit sad to see the wasted potential.

I also jumped on the Stranger Things bandwagon. It was on point in terms of everything the above was missing. (And the eighties are the bestest). I wasn’t going to watch it because people kept comparing it to Stephen King novels, so I thought I’d hate it, but himself watched it and was all, Claire, watch it. It’s your kind of thing. So I watched it for a few minutes, and it was definitely my kind of thing, so I stayed up all night to finish the season. Whoops!

And not to make it sound like I spend every waking hour staring at a screen of some kind (even if that’s mostly true), but I finally finally finally watched Ash vs Evil Dead. Yaas. Army of Darkness is one of my favourite films of ALL-TIME (I just spent way way too long trying to think of what would make it into my top five), so I’ve been dying to see the series. I was not disappointed. (And I might have stayed up all night to finish that, too).

Unrelated to everything else, I got impatient waiting for the pink to fade in my hair, so I mixed (like, five) leftover dyes together and slapped it on. My bath looked like I’d sacrificed a unicorn. It was glorious. 😀

If you made it this far, congratulations. You’re mental extremely well-mannered. 😛 I have to go build myself up to start dealing with boring tax stuff early instead of leaving it to the last minute and stressing out in a panic this year, so I’ll let you go…

July 2016

So… July was eventful. (I’m not going to talk about politics or the relatively shitty state of the world right now.). Lots of changes around here, but I’ve still eked out time to work with words every single day (while the kids are playing Minecraft/watching annoying Minecraft videos – why is this even a thing?). Better than expected, but…

I’m still not actually finishing any projects. I think I’m a little scared – it’s been so long since a big release that I’ve gotten all timid about it. I can’t afford to book in with my editor right now (that’s what I get for having five kids in school. 😛 ), and without that deadline, I don’t seem to be able to tell when a book is done already. I’ve spent the last month rewriting Sleepwalker and editing Bad Blood, (and I’ll probably spend next month rewriting Firestarter and editing Secret Self. *Sigh*) but honestly, I think I’m just nitpicking at this stage. I’ve probably gone beyond the point of fixing things and into let’s suck the fun out of everything territory. 😀

Side-note: I’ve also been sorting out bundles for the Chaos series. I’ll post those covers to Facebook this week.

Summer holidays are so weird. The kids hate each other one minute, are a close-knit gang of co-conspirators the next. I prefer the latter even if it usually involves a mess/broken things/over-excited pets/ouchies. But we’ve been getting stuff done. We’ve moved my office into my bedroom to free up a room. (Holy shit, my desk is actually ginormous). We’re doing a massive clear-out of the house next week because we’re basically ridiculous hoarders. I’ve already gotten rid of too many clothes I haven’t worn in a hundred years (and will never fit me again, so why was I holding on to them anyways?) Waaaaay overdue, and I feel great about it now, so I decided to get ruthless with everything.

Yesterday, I let go of something I’ve been holding onto since I was a kid. Over two decades, people! I have no idea why I was hanging on to it. It meant a lot to me when I was very young (because feelings), but I haven’t cared about it in years (because no feelings). And by years, I mean well over a decade, which is embarrassing. AND it was full of other things that I no longer give a shit about. Why? No clue. It’s like stuff hangs around for so long that it turns invisible and I forget it’s even possible to get rid of it.

But they’re gone now, and I think this dumping old crap malarky is kind of addictive. It was probably best to get started now or I might have ended up a little old lady with fifty rabbits (okay, still possible), stacks of newspapers, mementos, and out-of-date spices spanning six decades, and a wardrobe full of clothes that have cycled in and out of fashion seventeen times. (Oh, I just had a stupid idea for a story. 😀 )

I think “collecting” is a loose wire in my brain. I’d show you all my nail polish, but I’m slightly ashamed. (*Whispers* that last bit’s a lie). I hold on to stuff in general: old ideas I had from when I was a kid still practising making up stories and would name characters after everybody I knew in real life because it was easier, music I was introduced to when I was a kid by a boy I knew for five minutes (thanks for Metallica though), or a boyfriend (that might be overstating matters) in my teens (can’t remember your name, but you gave me The Doors, so cheers), characters I probably should have moved on from already, seven open but unused hand creams scattered randomly around the bathroom, that pesto sauce in the kitchen press that nobody will ever eat, the bread tin that’s been hanging out on top of my wardrobe for a very important reason that I just can’t recall…

Okay, so I have a ways to go, but I’ve already cut down on lots of junk I don’t need, so I’m allowed to be proud of myself.

AND!!!!!! I’ve totally started meal planning (okay, scribbling random foods into a notebook) and other related grown-up organise-y-ish stuff. I got all inspired by the whole Bullet Journal thing, tried all kinds of methods to be efficient and remember appointments and whatnot, and my messy brain has been doing so much better. I’m almost like a normal person (which is far enough, thank you very much). 🙂

I whinged about the whole cooking thing, but it’s not been so bad this month either. For a while there, it put me off food. 😀 By the time I finished cooking, I no longer wanted to eat anything, but it seems to have cured me of that fear of being hungry thing I’ve had going on for too long, so I’ll consider it all a win. Yas. Even that incident with the live Daddy-Long-Legs hiding inside the broccoli I was about to chop up hasn’t put me off. *Shudders* I’m adulting all over the place (when I’m not running away from craneflies).

Now I know all of you superhumans who have your shit together and know how to hard-boil an egg properly and bake and fold fitted sheets and change tyres are probably all, seriously, Claire, what are you doing with your life? While I’m over here pathetically delighted with myself because I made coddle for the first time. My kids could make it – it’s that easy – but I’ve always hated it, and I added cabbage to it, which I also hate and have never made (because have you smelled cabbage? I mean, seriously). If you don’t know what coddle is, it’s like an ugly, naked stew that people argue about making “the right way”. I probably pissed off 80% of Dublin by making it “wrong”. 😀 The cabbage made it uglier (which I didn’t think was possible), but it didn’t smell (or taste) as bad as I remembered. (Although I personally think I deserve to level up for my sacrifice).

Anyway, that’s enough mocking myself for one day because this is already the longest post about nothing evah. (Length of blog maybe correspond to length of time since last adult conversation). I’ll be spending my weekend hanging out with a large skip, so I hope yours is way more fun. Ta-ra.


June 2016

Apologies in advance for the meandering. 😀

This month’s update is that I have no real update. I dyed my hair, avoided the news, read about seven thousand Game of Thrones tinfoil theories, watched too much football, played too little much of The Witcher 3, and I wore real, non-pj clothes at least three times this month. (Okay, twice). Those are my biggest achievements right there. 🙂

More plagues hit the house, school holidays came early, and I haven’t the head for coherent sentences. (And I’m afraid to check what’s going on downstairs right now, but it kinda sounds like somebody’s trying to use a lawnmower inside my house). Caffeine’s my best bud these days, and even though I don’t actually believe in writing blocks, I seem to be stuck behind a mahoosive one. *Insert world’s tiniest violin here*

After ages of not being able to concentrate long enough to finish a book, I read a bunch by Megan Applegate and Helen Harper – and a couple others that I can’t remember because I didn’t keep track and now I’ve no clue what I even downloaded ’cause I’m a ditz with no freaking memory. I still haven’t read the latest by Patricia Briggs, so that’s next on the list, I think, unless anyone has a recommendation I can’t refuse. (Or I give in to an ASOIAF reread).

I can’t remember if I mentioned that I’m using the Harbinger title as a series name from now on. The first new Evans pack book is now Sleepwalker instead. And if you want to see a CĂș lookalike, check out the pictures that were posted to my Facebook page by a lovely reader. *Want*

Anyway! I’m off to ruin make dinner that nobody’s going to eat. 😛


May 2016

RELATIVITY COMPLETEBefore I start, the first Ava bundle is currently on sale at 99c, I’ve published Relativity (so expect a newsletter with a free coupon code for that one tonight or tomorrow), and there is now a Lost Souls bundle.

In normal update news, May was an epic fail. 😀 I can’t really call this my life full-time job anymore, so I’m not going to be too hard on myself. I just have to get better at time management. For the rest of the year, I’m planning to clear up these shorter stories in Ava’s world and focus on the new Cursed trilogy. If I start talking about new shinies and bright ideas then hit me over the head with something. Immediately. 😛

So Not Taco Tuesday

I feel like the last five days have been about three hours long. I’m super confused that it’s almost Wednesday already. Wut. School holidays warp my sense of reality, for realsies.

I’m trying to watch over my rabbit while editing, and that’s not happening, so I’m just gonna blog instead. (We changed some stuff around, and she’s confused as to how to get back to her cage to poop in her favourite litter tray, so I have to help her. It’s funny and sad at the same time).

Writing was a massive fail last month, but at the weekend, I planned out two books in the upcoming Evans Pack related stuff I’m hoping will be out this winter. Except… they’re not the right two books. Or at least, not the ones I thought I’d be writing this month. There is seriously something wrong with my brain.

Harbinger was supposed to be a bonus book to reintroduce the pack as they are a number of years in the future from Cursed. But I fell in love with the new characters, so instead of standalone-ish related stories, I’m going to continue Harbinger as a trilogy (which means the cover I already have no longer works. *Sigh*) If it doesn’t work out, I’ll go back to my original plan, but I’m feeling pretty positive about it right now. *Insert hype here*

But I’m so nervous to write these books! I was satisfied with how Cursed ended, so I feel a bit guilty about all of the conflict I’m about to make the old characters deal with again. It’s fun to go back and see the oldies through new eyes though. And to introduce a new flavour of weirdo to their world. 😀

But for tonight, I’m going to go do something thoroughly unproductive like read Game of Thrones fan theories in anticipation for next week’s episode. Tower of Joy is coming. *Deep breaths*

April 2016

Confession time: whenever I start a new blog post, I think ‘Howdy, y’all’ in Sandy’s voice.

I stayed up last night until 3am to watch Game of Thrones, I just dropped half a pizza on the bottom of a hot oven (and all five kids are staaaaaaaarvin’), I messed up our Census forms, and I haven’t even started working yet today (it’s almost 6pm already), so that tells you everything you need to know about how things are going. 😀

Since my last post, our circumstances have changed, and we’re doing a pretty piss-poor job of adjusting. I suddenly have to be the grown-up (I hate adulting) responsible for meals, and I’m so not good with food – which is why I’m not usually in charge of cooking. (I’m comically bad, really, but the poor kids aren’t laughing). Writing has been pretty poo, but as I’m still trying to figure out our new schedules, I’m just happy I’ve been getting (any) editing done. (Except this Friday ’cause all seven of us are venturing out to the cinema – I’m actually leaving the house!)

So far this month, I’ve done some light editing on Relativity (twins), Bad Blood (VBI), and Secret Self (VBI). This week, I’ve to start on Crossroads (Phoenix). I’m so glad I had to stockpile these books because it’s just helped me make the links stronger. I can’t afford editing right now, and I’m still on the hunt for a cover artist for a bunch of stories, so I don’t have any release dates handy yet. All I know is that Relativity will be first, and I’ll send out a free coupon code for it in the next newsletter.

I’d hoped to get both first drafts of Wings (new nickname for the fun hot mess) #2 and #3 written this month, but I’ll be lucky to finish #2 at the rate I’m going (snail pace is way ahead of me). In May, I’m back to working on the new Cursed books, so Wings will have to wait a while. Oh, well.

It’s now about half-nine, and all of my kids are (miraculously) in bed, so I should get cracking on with some editing before I get distracted (oh, so easily) again. Have a great week!


March 2016

I’m writing this post early because I’m trying out one of those Pomodoro apps, but I’m stuck on my manuscript and need a little time for the next scene to percolate. Sometimes different words help with that. It’s kind of like a cup that needs to be refilled. When I’m falling asleep or relaxing or whatever, I play through scenes in my head and fill up that cup. That makes it easier to get words down the following day, but when the words come easy, the cup empties quickly, and I need a bit of time to refill it again. I don’t know if it’s like that for other people, but that’s pretty much how it works for me. I’ve learned the hard way that if I give a scene time to develop while I do something else, the cup will refill quickly and my time will be spent more productively. This is an awful analogy, but you probably know what I mean.

I tried the official Pomodoro thingy back when I was working on Purity (before I forget, the Cursed boxset will be going on sale next week). It kind of helped, but I kept forgetting to start the timer, and the buzzer thingy scared the shit out of me so many times that I kept checking the app’s timer to brace myself for the sound rather than write. 🙂 I’m using an unofficial one called Pomodoro Time now, and it’s been much more useful. I can set a goal of how many sprints I want to do in a day which helps me set proper targets and figure out how much time I’m spending actually writing. I get distracted more often than anybody I’ve ever met, so every little trick helps. I could write a long blog post about all of the little tricks I use to get me back into the flow of things, but I suppose the end goal is to get to the point where I don’t need the tricks.

This week, I started a brand new story in a brand new world as a refresher because I got really bogged down with all of the novellas in Ava’s world. It doesn’t feel like work because nobody’s waiting for it, if that makes sense. It’s not just the newest shiny making life easier though. Some good news came our way, and the relief that followed made me realise how stressed out I’ve been. The fun is back in the words – until I remember I still have to actually release something at some stage, and my cover artist forgot about me again, and I don’t even have anything fully edited anyway. Aaaaand, the anxiety circle is back in action. 😛

Anyway! Actual updates. In the last week of Feb, I went on a mad one and managed to finish the first drafts of Magic Thief and Secret Self. I haven’t gone back into the old books to take notes yet (and, yes, I am absolutely procrastinating on that). In March, I spent a lot of time in Stardew Valley got Phoenix’s story done – I’m thinking of calling it Crossroads (and ZOMG even I was surprised by the ending. 😛 ) I wrote most of yet another novella called Faery Dust (Ember says hi. Brownie points if you even remember who I’m talking about!), and started a silly story about angels and demons and death and the afterlife (and I heart it so much) that I’m going to finish writing by the end of the month.

All of these manuscripts might sound impressive until you remember that I tend to write very lean first drafts that are more like detailed outlines, and it’s not unusual for me to write a 250 word synopsis instead of an actual chapter. I probably write more words while I’m editing than I do in my first drafts these days. I’ve always been a hardcore pantser (excuse me, discovery writer), but I think outlines are pretty damn efficient and snazzy, so I’m constantly trying to figure out a way to use them. But it’s kind of merged my first drafts into these ugly outliney hybrids that I need to stop doing. I think the Ava and Chaos novels are the only ones in which the first draft ended up close to the finished story, and I didn’t bother outlining most of those, so that should probably tell me something!

The plans for April are to take part in Camp NaNo and either write some sequel action to that angel/demon/hot mess I mentioned, OR get cracking on with the new Cursed books I’m planning for release at the end of this year. The first new Evans Pack book is already written, but I’m thinking each consecutive book might be in a different POV – just to concentrate on a wider circle of characters to keep it fresh. I will have to knuckle down with some editing, too, of course.

I think that’s more than enough waffle for one day. One of my kids stayed over at a friend’s house last night for the first time, and I’m counting the hours for her to come home. It’s just unsettling having only four kids in the house. And quiet. Eerily quiet. I feel like I can’t relax properly until everybody is under the one roof. So, yeah, I need to get back to fretting. 😀

Six Year Indieversary

Previous posts:  one, two, three, four, and five.

It’s that time again already. Six years. SIX. I didn’t think I’d be making a sixth one of these posts. Looking back on last year’s post, I was extra pessimistic. And I failed on most of those goals. Ha. In the last twelve months, I’ve had seven releases (boo, less than last count) and only four of those were full-length novels. Colour me unimpressed. Although I did finish another series, so that makes me happy. (And I did spend a lot of time studying the craft-and a new language-so it’s not like the entire year was a waste).

So, what’s next? Some real life stuff is changing for us, so that will effect how my publishing schedule shakes out. This is why I still haven’t announced any new releases.

I just deleted like seventeen paragraphs of this blog because it got too personal, but the gist of it is that last year was tough, and I had lots of times when I seriously thought I’d never finish another book. The reasons don’t matter. I’m just focusing on what I can do.

So, I’ve tentatively set myself a goal of writing a million words this year (works out at less than 3k words a day). I found a nifty little spreadsheet by Svenja that helps me keep track. (I chose the Agent Carter design because I have a weakness for Enver Gjokaj a matte red lip). It’s a bit mad (’cause I’ll still have to edit those million words), but I’ve never actually kept track properly, so it’ll be interesting even when if I fail miserably.

My goals for the next twelve months are mostly to publish the little stockpile of Ava world stories I have going on (I added another one to my list of things to write yesterday. I have issues, and I really need to cut that shit out if I ever want to catch up), and to get back to my Cursed wolves. I’d love to work on a new trilogy that I’ve been sidelining for about four years now, but there aren’t enough months in a year for the amount of stories I end up wanting to do. But we’re all triers around here, so I’ll crack on with things I shouldn’t do anyway. 😉

Feb 2016

February hasn’t been as productive as I’d hoped. I’ve a serious lack of focus going on (only partly attributed to a new pet bunny and, er, Sunless Sea).

I was supposed to write Secret Self this month, and I have worked on it, but I also started a new Phoenix story. (Currently untitled because I’m still shit at naming things). I doubt I’ll have either one finished by the end of the week, so next month will be busy! (Please send help…)

Unexpected stories frequently (and inconveniently) happen. Usually, I ignore the new shiny as best I can, but I couldn’t resist this time. Some of the events in Phoenix’s new story were supposed to fit into the next Ava story, but I’m liking his POV, so Imma experiment a bit. Even if it ends up a better fit for an Ava book, I can always post Phoenix’s unused POV on Wattpad. (That’s fashionable now, righ’?)

I’ve only edited Relativity (Lorcan & Lucia story) to change some third person chapters to first person, so that still needs work. (I swear this is where half of my time goes). I also still have to read through ALL of the old books (this is not my happy face) for fact-checking because my organisation for this world (all of the worlds, in fairness) has been a miserable effort.

Next month, I’m supposed to read through old stuff & take notes, finish writing Secret Self and an untitled Phoenix story, start writing Magic Thief in earnest, and edit Relativity and Bad Blood – all while my five lunatics are off school from Paddy’s Day through Easter. (Yeah, I have my doubts, too). Wish meh luck!

To be less confusing, here’s a projected reading order from the latest release onward:

Tithes (Lost Souls #3)
Relativity (Lorcan & Lucia novella)
Bad Blood (VBI #2)
Secret Self (VBI #3)
Untitled Phoenix novella
Magic Thief