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

Jan Writing

Keeping myself accountable, yo. Time for a blog post, hey? (Sorry – This week I’ve been spending too many of my evenings with Final Fantasy Type-O. My life is too exciting for words).

So I finished some bits this January and thought I’d share what I’ve been up to.

At the beginning of the month, I wrote a short story about the twins called Relativity. If editing goes well, I hope to release it in March. I’ll add a coupon code for a free copy to the newsletter that month. It’s not an absolutely essential read in the grand scheme of things, but it has definite links to some future books. (And, yes, Phoenix is in it). Basically, Rosa’s back with a quest to find something dangerous before the rest of the paragons can overreact, and the twins get sucked into the drama. 🙂

After that, I dove straight into Bad Blood, a VBI story (which I finished today). I know Demon Dog came out forever ago, but I switched up the timeline, and other stories came first. It’s a novel, but it won’t be a long one. I have a lot of research to do to confirm that the stuff I wrote actually makes sense, so I’m nowhere near ready to announce a release date, but I’m tentatively looking at April if everything goes well. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s the one where the succubi are accused of passing on a supernatural STD that’s killing humans, and Peter and Val are the ones tasked with figuring out what’s going on before the shit completely hits the fan. It was tough at first getting back into their heads after so long, but I got ‘er done!

Next on the agenda is much editing and the next VBI story, Secret Self. I am soooo ready for this one. After that’s done, I’ll either take a break from Ava’s world and work on something new or carry on to Magic Thief with a new POV. (Secret Self will make sense of the Magic Thief title). It all depends on how much time I end up with. I get a good four hours of peace in the mornings now with all five kids in school which is a great start.

Imma try to update what I’ve been up to every month on the blog because Facebook has a habit of making me hate the world, and I tend to give up and ragequit log off before I post anything. (Mind-reading must be the worst superpower…)


2016 FTW… Maybe

I thought I should update – it’s been too long since I did a proper post. I’m not going to be officially announcing any upcoming new releases for a bit. I haven’t even scheduled editing or covers yet. I took a couple of weeks off over the Xmas, but I’ve been back in the office this month. I’m working on a number of things, but I don’t want to tie myself down with deadlines because every single bloody time I say I’m going to release a book, my brain decides I need to write at least three other books first. 😀 I’ll update when I’m closer to a release.  Just know for now that I’m planning on spending the next three months writing my arse off.

I’ll just briefly update on books/series you might be interested in. Some stuff is already written, but I still have a lot of work to catch up on.

Chaos – Probably nothing in 2016. I have already written in the world again with a new character, but I think I’ll be putting it aside while I clear up other stuff. I love this world, and I put a lot of work into it, so I’m definitely going to revisit, but right now, I’m already juggling too much stuff.

Evans Pack/Harbinger – I held back Harbinger last Halloween because I had another release that month (and the book is way bigger than I expected). I’m aiming for another Halloween release, but only if I’ve made some headway with the other Evans pack books that I’ve been planning for yonks. So, maybe?

Ava & Lost Souls –  I’m still not wholly sure if Ava will be the star of the show at all this year. These books, man. 😀 I’ve been on a slow build, dropping hints all over the place, trying to piece stuff together, and I think I’m finally getting there. It’s taking me a lot longer than I expected because, well, it’s me. I can’t do anything in a straight line. Right now, there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll be inserting a new trilogy (more similar in style to the original series) in between Lost Souls #3 and #4. I’m hesitant about estimating dates and such. Just because I want to write something doesn’t mean it’s easy it ends up published, so there’s that.

Hollow – Hollow is that contemporary story I thought would be therapeutic but couldn’t face editing. (I just checked. I wrote it in 2012, bought a cover, and then pretended the whole story didn’t exist because I couldn’t deal with the emotions – ha). Every now and then, I take it out and read it and think I’m going to whip it into shape before realising I’ve underestimated how painful it is for me to work on. I’m going to crack on with it one last time this year to see if I can finish the thing. If I can’t, I might upload it to Wattpad for the curious. (This is project pan in book form, people).

Something new – If I don’t work on something new sometimes, my brain decides to melt out of my left ear. I’ve been sitting on three or four different series that I haven’t had time to focus on, and I’d like to do some work on one of those. I’m leaning toward something witchy, but we’ll see what happens. I’m open to taking requests. 🙂

Current work in progress – This week, I’m working on Bad Blood, the second VBI story. I thought this was going to happen earlier, but I kept changing the timeline, and it only fits now. It’s going well (or it will once I stop making new playlists or editing this blog post for the seventeenth time). Basically, Layla hires Peter and Val to prove that her ladies aren’t the ones spreading a new super(natural) STD. Hehe. After that, I’ll be back to Secret Self (book 3) in which Peter and Val hunt down Ava. I’ve never been this excited about anything ever. 😀

That’s about it. Not gonna lie, 2015 was a tough year for me writing-wise. I struggled with pretty much everything I worked on because I let myself get stressed out about… all of the things. It was really disappointing and frustrating. That’s partly why I went offline most of the time. Over the holidays, I just put it all aside and focused on my family, and while it’s been tough getting back into the office, I’m slo(ooooo)wly finding my confidence again. I’m looking forward to what I have planned, but if those plans need to change, then I’m going to be less hard on myself about it. She says now… 😉