Archive for the ‘Authoring’ Category

In which balls were drop-kicked and are rolling all over the universe

I originally wanted to say that the “balls were dropped”, but that implies much less insanity than what actually happened.

In short: graduate school was much harder than expected and the health issues did not resolve themselves as neatly as expected.

However, I did manage to publish Not Just Human and Sunshine, so there’s that.

I’m currently working on a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty and the new experiment is to update it on Wattpad every Friday. Note to self: google alerts is your friend!

I’m also committing to actually trying to make a go of my Patreon account. This means regular and timely updates and bonus material, whether it’s exclusive or time-sensitive. At the moment, I’m thinking that I’ll post extra chapters of Past Love’s Triumph, the Sleeping Beauty story, ahead of the Wattpad schedule. Also, maybe short stories, and snippets. Perhaps deleted scenes – I always enjoy those.

So that’s what’s going on for now!

Phoenix Awoken sky-rocks version done!

Oh. My. Goodness. It’s done!

Looking back, I said that I was starting Phoenix Awoken on August 18th back in 2014. Now, slightly less than two years later, I have a workable (I think? I hope!) version done.

Right now, it’s sitting at 71,308 words and I expect it to get longer once I fill in all those pesky setting detail type things and flesh things out more.

I’m really crossing my fingers because I re-wrote Phoenix Chosen about eight times and I’ve only re-done Awoken maybe four, five times.

I don’t quite know how the story ballooned from one novel to a trilogy to the point where I had to split out book two into three books, but it’s been a fun ride. Put this up under the list of things I might not have done if I had known how much escalation would have happened…

Nah, not that it wouldn’t have happened. Phoenix is still really the story of my heart, the story that I’ve always wanted to tell. I just don’t know that I would have chosen a six-maybe-more book series to start out as a fledgling writer.

2016 has been more eventful than anticipated.  I thought at the start of the year that I’d have lots of time to write and do the health thing and sort of figure things out, but it didn’t end up happening that way.

For the record?

Clearing out and cleaning a five bedroom house with a basement and attic and garage is…going to take about a hundred times as much time and energy and stress as you think it’s going to. Just FYI in case that ever become something you need to think about.

Especially when first the hot water heater esplodes water all over the basement. Then the washing machine. Twice. And then rando puddles keep forming.

In other news, I still need to work on Goddess edits, but I’ve also finished Sunshine (mostly), and the little mermaid retelling (mostly).

So I think I will be able to release a short story anthology (is it still an anthology with only one author?) with Prey, the little mermaid re-telling, and the cyborg sexy.  Then Sunshine or Goddess, depending on which one gets attention first. Finally, I’m hoping to be able to release Awoken before the end of 2016, but that really depends on edits and whether or not I shred it back to pieces and start over again.

We’ll see.

Yes, 2016 is apparently also the year of “we’ll see”.

Eight days into the Year of the Fire Monkey

It’s my birthday!

Yep. I hit thirty today.

It’s really hard to believe this is it, something that was always in the future until it smacked me right in the face, day of.

It doesn’t bother me, actually, other than just being this really odd number that was supposed to mean something big until it came and I realized that it didn’t. It might actually bother me more how very anti-climactic hitting 30 is, but then what did I expect? 18 came and went, like any other day. 21 was kinda cool because it was nice to be allowed to drink alcohol, but I didn’t exactly go out and do the usual rituals associated with it.

I don’t feel suddenly older. I don’t feel magically wiser. I don’t feel like my best years are behind me. *laughs* I don’t feel like my past was in vain. I don’t have regrets and I have no fears.

I think, this is about as good as it gets for a birthday, especially one hung with as much freight as the “big three-oh” is.

Well, it’d be nice if I weren’t running a low-grade fever with the accompanying drumming headache, but hey. It’d also be nice if the universe could have given me the gift of figuring out the last few weeks of sick, but I don’t profess to deserve miracles

This year, for my birthday, I sent out an advance peek of Prey, the short story I plan on releasing next, to my newsletter subscribers. And it was a gift to myself. I got something done. I finished something. It felt awesome and for a moment made me feel like I was on top of the world, keeping it aloft with my magic.

Maybe next year I’ll find an extra fistful of spoons and give out copies of my books and do a Twitter event and have giveaways and whatever, but, this birthday, oh well!

I was hoping to release Goddess in Waiting, but that didn’t happen. Then I was hoping to finish the re-write of Sunshine and stick that in the newsletter, but it was more challenging than expected to makeover something that I wrote in college.

It’s true, by the way, that you can’t ever go home again.

So I ended up editing Prey instead. Added about 3k words. Ironed it out some. Threw it out on a prayer.

Good enough.

Updates:

Nope. Didn’t end up managing to finish Phoenix Awoken, but I am 35k in and halfway there. I’m debating finishing Sunshine first and then finishing this before going onto edits, but we’ll see. It might turn out editing is easier with fever-brain than writing new material and writing with a more robust framework is easier than not.
Got Goddess edits back from my readers. Woo!
Sunshine is in some sort of cobbled together half-state, but I have good thoughts about it.

More nitty gritty. Also, thoughts on KU.

I put the books back on KU today.

As I’ve mentioned before, there were many months where KU was the sole source of income and it seems silly to spit in the face of that. I have a theory that it’s easier to gain traction if you have more books to pave your way. This may or may not be accurate, but it makes sense, so I’m running with it for now.

Asides from the theory of having a sufficient library of works making it easier to build up interest and therefore make going wide make sense, there’s also a whole slew of things that I need to be doing before I can go wide. Other than writing more books, I need to:

1. update the back matter of my current books to reflect things like newsletter sign up, links to other books, etc. This requires learning some other things like updating my site, installing plug-ins, and some code.

2. learn how to format my own books (this might …take me a long time)

3. learn macros and etc for my word processors

4. …and edit Phoenix Chosen for the typos that were missed the first 20 rounds of edits. There’s apparently at least two instances of Aedrian being surnamed MacKenna rather than McKenna. *sigh* As I said, brain-fatigue is a killer. Do not die.

5. put a contact form on the website and in fact, update the website

A couple of things therefore complicate the matter.

I’m currently living with my parents while we try a variety of different things to address the health issues. I am getting better day by day. Right now 2016 is treating me very well. I’m about 13k in on the rewrite of Phoenix Awoken over the past 6 days and I have high hopes that I might be able to finish a rough draft before the end of the month. That’s huge for me.

I cannot expect to live off my parents indefinitely. I have issues with how things as it is, because believe me, there is little more uncomfortable for an outwardly abled person to tell everyone in their family who asks that their current day job is “healing”. Even if it is absolutely fair and true.

Once I get sufficiently well to hold down a normal day job and be self-sufficient, I will be doing my best to do so. Therefore my gravy train does have an end station and it is (hopefully) in sight. I hear back from the grad schools I applied to for my masters in interpretation and translation around March or April. I then go back to the US to pack up my remaining stuff in preparation for my parents selling their home. I return to Taiwan at the end of July and from there I will either go to school or find a job.

To be honest, I don’t know if I will be able to write with any amount of clarity or speed when I’m doing other full time things with my life, even if my health does improve at its current speed. Right now I have about 2.5 to 3 hours of brain / activity time before my energy and focus start sliding sideways. That’s after more than six months of whatever I’m doing to try and fix things. If the trajectory holds, I will have 6 or 8 hours by July next year, which might cover me for school/job but maybe not quite. There’s a lot less spoons associated with writing in your jammies than navigating Real Life ™ with things like rush hour traffic, bosses, and so forth.

Therefore, I can only conclude that it would make more sense for me to try and write as much as I can while the support net is still in place and then worry about learning things like coding and formatting later, since theoretically all that is something that will be more amenable to being done on lower brain power and piecemeal.

It will be good if I’m doing something that feels productive towards my writing even if the learning curve is super steep while I’m doing other adulting things.
.
.
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… so for now it’s going to be KU. I’m really sorry for whoever wants to buy my book but is thwarted by Amazon either not being in your area or a very reasonable hatred for all things Amazon, but right now it looks like KU is what’s best for me.

If you are unable to get a copy of my book, drop me a line and I’ll send you a copy. No strings. Just let me know.

 

Let’s talk financials

Because why not? I like to think that I’m a scientist at heart, except, you know, without all that rigorous attention to detail and obsession over statistics and sample sizes. Also, this is a set up post to discuss KU and writerly plans and suggestions.

Joking aside, I do think financial transparency* is a great thing and it puts things into perspective. (all separate links to various authors talking money) Like how someone can be a famous enough YouTuber to be mobbed at the Starbucks at which they work, yet be working at said Starbucks. Or how many entertainers can have a zillion (made up number) followers and yet still be eating instant noodles.

We consistently hear about the outliers, the E.L Jameses, Amanda Hockings, J. K. Rowlings of the publishing world and we also hear of their counterparts, the starving artists who make less than $1000 a year. But what about the rest of the authorial world? The silently toiling masses who (maybe?) neither starve nor feast?

Spoiler: for now, count me amongst the ones who would be starving if we were talking writing income alone

But I figure if enough authors came out with numbers, then we would have a better idea of what’s going on. Not a clear idea, oh no, because then we get into variables like luck, time spent, words written, books published, award nominations, sheer crazy, people known, money/effort spent on promotion, hours on your knees in front of your patron deity of choice, etc.

But a better idea.

And that’s all science really is, isn’t it? More pieces to the puzzle.

So, as Jim Hines said, sample size of one and all that. Shall we?

I published Phoenix Chosen in 2014. My first deposit from Amazon was on 11/28 for 20.68. If I only count digital sales, then I made 38.06 in 2014. If I count print-on-demand as well, which I’m disinclined to do because I’m fairly certain all the POD sales were to my parents, then I made 52.82 for 2014.

Considering the initial outlay was in the thousands, count me very deeply in the hole.

Ariagne was published March 29th 2015.

As I’ve said before, it did pretty well. Much better overall in terms of paid downloads and pages read than Phoenix Chosen did. Again, I’m not sure if it was because of pricing, genre, better/more accessible writing, amount of incense burned, etc. However, that doing well didn’t spill over into PC buys that I could see.

There’s this beautiful $78 dollar deposit at the end of June, but I’m not sure what’s going on there because the release was near two months ago, etc. That was the highest single month income ever, btw.

If I only count digital income, then I made 168.99 in 2015. If I count POD as well, then the number goes up to 221.52. I’d say at least 50 to 60% of that is KU income. There were some months where it was KU only and some months where there was no income at all. Hence, btw, my putting the books back in KU. More on that later.

I didn’t keep proper notes on KU versus buys in 2015, which I will be remedying in 2016 so as to give a clearer picture of the going wide versus going KU route. Keeping in mind, of course, KU right now seems to favor longer works, assuming you keep your audience’s interest. Ariagne is estimated to be about 169 pages and Phoenix Chosen is about 350 or something  thereabouts.

If I don’t count the immense hole I dug for myself with Phoenix Chosen, then technically I’m about $20 in the black for 2015. I think I spent around $200 for formatting, the ebook cover, and website costs. I spent other money that I should probably be counting as well, like the 5 pack of covers from GoOnWrite.com, but I’m not for the purposes of making myself feel good about myself. *grin*

I like the thought of being in the black. Well, insofar as the art paid for itself to be put out there. In terms of anything else? Naaaaah.

But let’s drill down further.

I adored Phoenix Chosen’s cover. I also loved the work the formatter did, especially on the print version. And let’s not forget the editing.

However, none of that came particularly cheaply.

When I hit publish in 2014, I had a day job. So it was easy to make the decision to pay for a $600 dollar cover and $835 for ebook and print formatting (most of that for print, IIRC). I also paid $250 for content editing and proofreading. Btw, I made 67.29 total for both years for the POD books, making the decision to go print somewhat fiscally irresponsible. **

It is nice to have a nice solid thing to chunk at someone when they ask “so what have you accomplished with this writing thing?”, however. Might be worth it just for ….nah. It’s not. It’s sweet and all to have a hard cover copy of your book and all, but….

I’m generously not counting all the incidentals like cost of website hosting, banner graphic art, wordpress theme to help me set up the site, etc, that I paid for that year. Yes, it’s on my list for “how much am I in the hole?” but not as salient for our purposes right now.

However, in 2015 I knew I was heading into no-income land due to health issues. And PC, much as I loved the end product, hadn’t come within the solar system of paying for itself much less earning profit.

Therefore, with Ariagne, I made very different decisions. IIRC, the cover cost me around $80, the formatting I got someone to do for $20 off Fiverr***, and I relied on non-paid editing services****.  Website hosting was about $100 or so.

Which, in passing, one has to wonder, all things considered, if I shouldn’t go back to a free site…?

So. Decisions. The nitty gritty. My pride and foibles, etc.

Anyway, that’s 2015. We’ll see how 2016 goes.

 

 

 

* I find it vastly amusing that in the comments there was the ubiquitous person who goes “self-publishing is the way to go! there, shall you find salvation and toilets of pure gold!” More on this later, but suffice to say, no, SP is great and all, but it is not the way to salvation or being able to shit on gold.

** Yes, yes, the clear take home message here is to either find cheaper people to outsource things to, or to do it all myself. Like I said, variables. YMMV. I happen to be a complete novice at graphic art, don’t seem to have sculptable amounts of talent, and little spoons.

*** Yes, yes, digital sweatshops, outsourcing work that drives down the price of what people in the US can get paid for, etc. I feel terrible. I do. But needs must. And speaking as someone living in a country where $20 is a hella lot of money, hey, I’d work for a fiver too.

**** The thing is, this was only really possible because Ariagne was 1. a much shorter book 2. a much less complicated book. I do not think that I can safely do this for Phoenix Awoken without either A. imposing too much on my friends, even with barter and B. having a lot things slip through the cracks that later end up making me cry. As it is, despite PC going through multiple rounds of eyes, some of whom were paid to look at it, things still slipped through. I’m convinced that a novel needs at least three professional editors at this point because brain-fatigue is a real and scary thing.

 

Writing the Other – be wary but do not fear

Yesterday, I rage tweeted. Yet another author I liked wrote Asian characters in such a way as to make me want to spork myself.

Today, someone mentioned feeling twitchy about writing POC characters and I decided to get out my soap box.

First, the reason behind the rage tweeting:

It wasn’t anything particularly egregious.

It was just …literally …evil Chinese dragon shifter lady who tries to invade hero’s territory and killed indiscriminately and her kinsman who didn’t understand the concept of “asking” permission to settle somewhere before burning everything to the ground. Asking, was apparently something completely foreign to these dragon shifters.

*sigh*

What’s the big deal, Katje? I mean, the villains must be played by someone, right? It’s nothing personal.

No, it’s nothing personal — and that’s perhaps the problem.

I’ve read more than 1400 books in 2015. I know this because I’ve bought 1350 books in 2015 and that’s not counting the KU books I’ve read.

I’ve sighted Asian characters maybe ten, eleven times in more than 1400 books and I can tell you precisely the roles these characters had.

  1. fragile, demure, meek types who are seemingly just there to show off how much more capable the heroine is
  2. the nerdy goody two shoes girl-next-door-except-not-really-because-she-never-gets-a-guy sidekick
  3. the evil dragon lady who is either a murderous villain or a femme-fatale who aids the main mastermind
  4. the tiny twig-like bitch-whore other woman who just can’t get the message that the hero is taken
  5. the crazy mastermind who clearly didn’t get enough maternal love as a kid and who is just balls to the walls insane

Yeah.

No, it’s not personal, but maybe it ought to be.

I read paranormal and fantasy, guys. When entire worlds are populated with white shifters and white vampires and all things melanin-challenged, I think we have a slight problem.

The question I ask is: are you guys really going to tell me, with a straight face, that it’s easier for you to write about mythological creatures than brown people?

If so, the implication is that authors who can’t or won’t write non-white characters do so because they factually find it harder to identify with brown people than demons/shifters/angels.

Awesome. It really is personal, or should be. Any one who makes a living off their imagination who claim that should probably go out and try to experience something different. Find a friend. Ask Google for help. Ask Twitter for help. Find a crit partner who has first-hand experience/knowledge. This isn’t that hard. It really isn’t. Some of you come up with entire worlds/cultures/languages – please don’t tell me that trying to write a brown person is more involved than that.

Yes, there’s a bit more to “lose” and I’ll get back to that later, for but for now, in short:

Honestly, at this point, for me the bar for writing Asian women is set very, very low: don’t write an Asian character that fits those 5 roles and you’re mostly good.

Try thinking of us as actual people with actual feelings and a legit backstory and history and I think you’re mostly there.

About things to lose. Like respect and so forth. Someone mentioned appropriation. I’ve thought about appropriation. It’s a tricksy thing, yes, but the thing is, no one can really truly hit the nail on the head. I’ve explored how someone who identifies as Asian can write a story that makes me cringe (but wasn’t wrong) and how someone who doesn’t identify as Asian can write an Asian-descent character that is so spot on it hurt my heart, and how someone else did something and it flopped for me (but it wasn’t wrong).

You’re not going to write anything that will make everyone happy. This is fact. If you write a brown character, someone will tell you that you did it wrong. Someone might complain they’re brown in the first place. But the thing to remember is – I’ve written a Chinese person who is me and I’ve had people tell me that such a person doesn’t exist.

Well, I do.

The thing is:

A lot of it doesn’t actually matter. Much like a lie, the construct of a character only really becomes unbelievable when you start throwing in extraneous, stupid details that make the reader sit up and pay attention.

Contrary to what people might think, the world of Phoenix Chosen isn’t particularly historically accurate and nor is it supposed to be. I’ve mixed elements of wish and fact and history and extrapolation and a lot of my own feels about ancient China into Estyria’s experience. Once I leave the capital and go to the grasslands, I’ll be relying on more feels, wiki, what I’ve seen and read in textbooks, and be mixing accordingly.

So I’m not doing it “right” either, for a given definition of right and wrong.

I’m a fantasy writer – not a historical fiction writer. If I really wanted to be historically accurate, I wouldn’t be writing magic into everything in the first place.

What matters is the attitude brought to the table – are you genuinely interested in this culture, this area of the world, and are you interested in how that land and the history and everything about it shapes the characters and how they interact with the world?

Are you doing research, making your own feels, creating a world, rather than simply taking a white world and throwing in some Asian for flavor? (Yes, Firefly, I’m looking straaaaight at you.)

Are your characters actually products of the rich and varied and conflicted culture/history, or are they just Americans who use funny language? (the number of historicals/regencies I’ve read where the heroine is clearly a product of my time is boggling)

The thing is, it’s not supposed to be intimidating. I’m not saying go forth and do ten million hours of research before you sit down and create your character.

If you’re sufficiently interested in the world, that research will happen organically, without pain. If you live and breathe your character as a part of you, then their development should also occur painlessly.

It boils down to true interest or no. So long as you’re sincere, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Authors who actually enjoy the vagaries of polite Society in Regency England will get the details right. Others who dabble won’t. Fill in the blank other culture is much the same.

And no, you won’t get everything right, but it doesn’t matter. This isn’t rocket science. (and the next book/time will come easier, I promise)

Also, as I’ve said before, some times it’s not about getting it right or perfect (both things being mostly impossible), but it’s about throwing more fish in the barren sea. Right now there isn’t enough fish, so it’s more likely that any one interpretation of something will rub someone the wrong way. When I see six mentions of Asian women in any given year through normal reading and not cherry-picking for POC heroines, the problematic bits stand out more. Whereas, if there were a thousand different portrayals of Asian women, I’m not going to notice/whine about the irritating stereotypical ones as much.

TL;DR: don’t worry. be happy. write the brown characters you want to write if you want to write ‘em. and if you don’t want to write ‘em, I really want to know why not.

 

 

 

 

Goddess in Waiting and an update on KU, etc

Oh yeah, baby, I’m done.

*flops*

End word count is 39,600. Very neat. Nice. I do like my round numbers.

I ended up deleting two chapters that turned out to be redundant, adding a chapter, doing some more edits, and boom. Off to my readers/editor. Only took about four months or so. (there’s a note from me to my reader asking about her thoughts on the alpha draft around Aug. 19th)

So what now?

I’m not sure yet. There’s still the Winter Solstice snippets I was thinking about doing, which might be fun for some down-time writing while I figure out the next long project. I also figured out the re-telling of the Three Little Pigs that I was going to do, so that might be fun too.

Spoilers: it’s going to be in three difference perspectives, sequential shorts linked together rather than having the third sister as an MC throughout like I originally planned and it’s not going to be romance-y. So there’s that. It’ll be interesting to see if I keep to the no-romance thought because I haven’t yet written anything that doesn’t have a romance, so we’ll see.

Girding my loins and sucking up the idea that I’m just going to have to rewrite Phoenix book two from scratch for the…um, third or fourth time. Woo. Fourth, I’m pretty sure. Or is it fifth because the one I’m scrapping is the fourth? Ah well. Guess it really doesn’t matter at this point…

Ah. And KU.

My books are going to be temporarily off KU while I sort things out as to what would be better going forward.

It’s complicated because there were some months where I wouldn’t have made any money except for KU borrows. And I don’t have a large backlist or an extended series at the moment, so getting what I get while the getting’s good is a valid way to play the game. Drew tarot cards asking and it was Ten of Pentacles for keeping them on KU and The Tower for taking them off. Can’t really decide if The Tower is going to end in happy happy fun fun or not, so…

On the other hand, I was recently informed that someone wanted to buy my book but couldn’t because it was only available on Amazon. I keep being stupidly US-centric and forgetting that the mighty Amazon isn’t accessible for everyone. Bad me.

And on one foot, if I kept at KU, I’d have to rethink my Patreon account because currently I have both Ariagne and Phoenix Chosen up for my patrons (of any amount of patronage) and that would violate the exclusivity TOS that Amazon insists on. For that matter, even giving out review copies is apparently a violation.

Lastly, on the other foot, I’ve been told that Amazon buyers are apparently gaining a reputation for not giving out reviews whereas buyers on other platforms do. So there’s that.

…much pondering to be done.

 

 

News, projections and so forth

Goddess is four chapters away from first-pass edits. I expect that I will be done before the end of December 2015. Depending on various schedules, I’m hoping for a release sometime around my birthday in February. It’s later than I would like as I’d been dreaming of being able to push Goddess out the door before the end of 2015. Oh well!

Of course, hopes will be hopes. Goddess started out at 28,677 words at the beginning of edits and it’s now sitting at 39,430. I’ve been saying “only four more chapters to go” for the last week and adding on words as fast as I can type ‘em all the while. As it is, at least two more chapters will be inserted into the next four and my readers might come back with requests for more clarification.

It’s the holiday season, so everyone’s short on time, but we’ll see.

There’s a deluge of X’mas themed stories around and I’m toying with the idea of writing something short and sweet for the season. Of course, it’d probably be winter solstice rather than X’mas as I really don’t think Estyria and Seth and Aedrian would be celebrating X’mas per se. Yule for Aedrian, perhaps, but mostly Winter Solstice and Lunar New Year for Estyria and Seth.

If I went with Ariagne and Aidoneus, it should also be Winter Solstice, but different. It’s interesting to think of how our traditions might change when we encounter alien civilizations and the brute force of Time. How would a dryad celebrate a winter holiday? Would they even, or is it hibernation time? Certainly no chopping down and decorating of trees, much less the burning of the Yule log. As for Aidoneus, what does he believe in? I’m not sure, actually, so teasing it out might be a fun exercise. And they are on an ice planet now, one with a sentience all its own and bound to it — so how does that affect things?

I’m uncertain about what’s next after Goddess. Common sense and that niggling little voice of “you started a series; finish it!” tell me it should be Phoenix book two, but we’ll see.

Depending on edits and interest, I might do an anthology for low-hanging fruit purposes before/during Phoenix 2.

Ariagne used to be an experiment where I interspersed the sci-fi re-telling of Persephone with a more traditional mythological-esque re-telling. I would write one chapter in myth form and then continue the story in the sci-fi setting and so forth. It was an interesting experiment, but it didn’t work as well as I wanted to, so there’s about four or five chapters of the myth re-telling sobbing in a corner somewhere. I’m thinking about collecting what I do have, sorting it out, and including it in the anthology along with some other shorts I have.

The only reservation I have is that some of the shorts, being older work, might not be able to be cleaned up to my current level of joy without essentially taking the premise and writing a whole new story. And if I’m going to write a whole new story out of an established idea at this point, it’s going to be Awoken. We’ll see.

Yeah, I’m saying that a lot, aren’t I? Unfortunately, what 2015 taught me is essentially that. We’ll see.

Another thing on the docket is to publish the short sexy pieces I wrote for writing calls. However, I won’t be publishing them under Ekaterine Xia. They’ll be under another pen name since I really don’t want to explain to my family anything involving the sexy I write. Bad enough Chosen involves two men… not that any of my family members who asked for copies have actually read it through and talked to me about what the fuck Katje! or anything, so hey. Reason #2 of why I’m in no hurry to translate my work into Chinese…

In short, tentative plans for 2016:

Goddess

Winter Solstice/Lunar New Year snippets

Two ~ three sexy shorts: Cavalier’s Queen, More than Human (cyborg), Hunted

Possible anthology: Mnemosyne and the corresponding male POV, Silenced, the gargoyle stories, Daughter of the Alpha and Beta, Ariagne myth version

Awoken

~*~*~

Stretch goals:

Iridescent

Seven Swans re-telling

Three Little Pigs re-telling

So that’s the plan. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll probably do up another post in the new year where I look at how much actual work is going to have to go into the stories and see if I still think this is doable.

 

 

 

 

Welp…that was fast

*looks around sheepishly*

Well…it’s near the end of October, and nothing much has happened since the last time I came up for air. I genuinely have no idea what happened or how or…

Yes, Goddess in Waiting edits are going. No, they’re not done. I’m sorry they’re not done, but I think having a c’est la vie attitude is the only way to get past whatever is plaguing me without wanting to jump off the nearest bridge out of self-loathing.

No, it’s not that bad. It’s just pretty bad. I do feel terrible and I think this is why authors stop updating about all the ten million and one reasons why they’re not writing anymore and why there hasn’t been new releases because honestly there just hits a point where you feel like you’re just whining out excuse after excuse day after day and ain’t nobody got time for that. Really, I’m getting very understanding in my old age. Tell sixteen year old me all this and you’d just get an eye-roll and possibly a whack across the back of the head. Sixteen year old me wasn’t a very nice person. Well, sixteen year old me was a seething ball of rage, so…yeah.

I’ve always been all about the transparency, so here goes.

I think September disappeared due to health reasons. I don’t even remember much of it. I just remember lots of tired, lots of IDGAF, lots of reading smut because that was all the brain I had. My medications also got switched up around this time and my sleep quality went into the pits along with my ability to breathe.

Then I had a big fight with my brother and started spiraling.

Then my parents started giving me shit about how it’s been months since I got back and why haven’t I gotten visibly better yet. This was stressful and made me feel like I really need to get a proper job or something because hell’s bells, being a near thirty year old and mooching off your parents and getting nothing done is just …ego destroying.

So I signed up for some volunteer stuff. Spent three hours with the Tzu Chi people and somehow ended up bedridden for the last four days with back pain.

So now it’s the end of October and I have no idea where the time went and part of me is whimpering in the corner and part of me is mad but it is what it is.

Another something that I’ve been resisting thinking about or talking about is that the writing really isn’t going well. It’s not just the health or the moving or the massive life change. Every time I try to write something lately, either the characters start talking about going gently into that good night, or they start going off on nihilistic rants on the slightest provocation. Considering that I write romance and love having strong friendships in my books — that’s not promising. In fact, it’s downright disturbing.

I have three separate projects that seemed like they were going well, until the characters pretty much said “fuck it, I’d rather die”.

Not good, no.

You write what you know and even if you don’t want to, it comes out without volition, I guess, and right then what I knew wasn’t awesome or good or shiny.

Did I mention that I broke up with my boyfriend of near eleven years? Yeah. It wasn’t pretty.  Much as I didn’t want that to spill over, it did, and now I’m sort of looking at a huge flood of darkness that I have no idea how to deal with. Then there were some messed up friendships that really went tits up around when I had to move and then finally the big fight with my brother over his “betrayal”. Irony quotes in full force there, but still, it was how I felt and everything I touched, writing-wise, felt like it was contaminated with my cynicism.

One of my writer friends, Domy, suggested that I try something literary, or pure fantasy, or something not …warm and fuzzy while I get over this, but the problem is, I’ve never really read anything except for the warm and fuzzy.

Who cares about the politics and who’s taking over the world and what’s going on except in terms of how it affects people? I don’t.

For me, it’s all about the love. Love between friends, between family, between two people who want to bang each other into the next millennium.

So Goddess is a pretty good project for right now. It’s not super intensive on love, as opposed to my other stuff, and the main character is an old woman who just wants to be left alone and feel better. Sound familiar?

She does get dragged back into life, kicking and screaming, as you do, so there’s that.

TL;DR: Things happened. Like they do. But I’m still going to keep trucking. I’ve got friends who have been super awesome this entire time and they’re slowly dragging me out of the pit. *waves*

Kelly, Kelli, Domy, and Thene: Couldn’t do this without you. Thanks for all the love.

Appalling it needs to be said…but…

I do so hereby solemnly swear that I will not, under any circumstances, stalk, bully, harass, or even contact someone who’s expressed an opinion of my book.

Any names and addresses I receive for giveaway purposes will be promptly discarded in a safe fashion after the book has been mailed out. I also swear to never pass along such sensitive information unless instructed to do so by the owner of said information.

….

Seriously, this needs to be said?

For those not in the know, suffice to say that an author stalked a reviewer online and off, culminating in the author driving out to the reviewer’s house. I’m not naming any names because I really don’t want to add fuel to the crazy-fire and I refuse to give the author any kind of publicity. I’m certain there’s some who have looked her up due to the kerfuffle, read her articles, and gained interest in her and her book. Certainly I was myself drawn to the trainwreckiness of it all and had an urge to follow her tweets and blog just to try and understand the insanity.

I use a pen name for a reason. I do not go by my legal name because, like most sane people, I prefer to have my online and offline life separate for safety reasons. This is not an invitation to hunt me down and doxx me.

I’m a blunt sort of person and I make no bones about my likes and dislikes — it would be an absolute nightmare for me if someone harassed me about my opinions online, much less went to the effort of doing a background check on me and appearing at my doorstep in person. I cannot even imagine the kind of fear and violation experienced in that case. That’s the sort of thing leading to fleeing the house and finding a new place to live.

I am deeply sympathetic to the reviewer in question and I think it’s a crying shame that her sense of safety and well-being has been compromised by this author’s actions to the point where she’s taken everything private and has stopped reviewing/blogging. On the heels of EC’s suing Dear Author and Gamer Gate… I cannot repeat this enough: Stalking is seriously wrong. It’s illegal, it’s crazy, and it’s just plain morally wrong. There is no ambiguity about this. No matter what someone says or thinks, it is not all right to violate their home or their job or anything in their offline life. I would add that it’s wrong to send people hate mail to their email too, because seriously, the First Amendment does NOT mean you get to spew your hate toward whoever has caught your ire at the moment.

Seriously, if you feel compelled to hunt someone down in real life and confront them, don’t. As my friend says: Taser your damn self until you stop wanting to. Think about how you would feel if a complete stranger, someone who you don’t know if they’re going to attack you or yell at you, shows up at your front door. If you think you’re cute, adorable, beautiful, quirky and funny and no one should possibly be afraid of you, think again. If a stranger shows up at my door and wants to talk to me about something I’ve said online, not only would I slam the door and call 911, but I’d probably mace first and leave the “talking” for the cops.

Stalking is creepy — don’t do it. If you have obsessive tendencies and they prompt you to want to violate boundaries, for fuck’s sake, get thee to a doctor.

…Eris on a stick, this needs to be said? I do not have enough words for all the I can’t even.