Welcome to December! This week I gave myself a day to recover from traveling and organize the bags. I did some reading and watched a few youtube videos about Captain of Industry, which is a game about production lines and efficiency. And just writing that line makes me laugh because of course I would watch a game about resource management on my day off. I’m such a nerd.
Fated to the Wolf continues to move forward. I got ahead of myself today because I didn’t check my outline and I wanted to get to the good stuff already, which means I just skipped two and a half scenes to write the meet cute. On monday I’ll have to go back and fill in the important bits of character I leapfrogged. Development of this story is still going very well and I’m extremely pleased with it. As of today, I’m 26k in and going strong. It’s a good thing I’m working on this so far ahead of the deadline b/c it’s a big book.
This week I’ve also wrapped up publishing details for December’s release. This is a wide release for Enchanted, my YA short story collection that has been tied up in KU for years. Enchanted was one of the first things I ever published, back when I was only releasing books on KU because I hadn’t figured out smashwords’ meatgrinder yet. That was the name of the automated system that took a .doc and turned it into an .epub. It had very specific requirements and took a long time to process a book. D2D came along and changed everything, but Enchanted remained in KU because I just didn’t have the time to go back and address it. On the 5th it’ll be available on all the stores and by the week after, AI audio will follow.
This weekend I have some reading to do and we’ve signed up for Disney +/Hulu after over a year, so we have some Loki to catch up on! Next week I pause work on Fated in order to knock out several short stories: two BSQ Hornet stores and a submission for Street Magic 2 that I hope the editor enjoys. I also need to get ahead of schedule on the publishing again.
Have a great weekend!
Friday Update 10/17/23
Short update is short because I have to pack for a flight to Florida!
Highlights: I’m 20k into Fated and the two main characters have finally had their meet cute. In the middle of a fight between vampires, werewolves, and a giant demon from the Void. I’m sure everyone will be fine!
I’ve put together a Black Friday deal on my webstore. All my short stories in one purchase delivered via Bookfunnel as individual ebooks for ease of sorting/shelving/tagging. This thing is on very steep discount and only for a short time. Newsletter peeps hear about it next thursday, so if you’re reading this: go check it out early.
Finally, there will not be a Friday Update next week as I’ll be with family for the Turkey Day holiday and probably playing way too much Baldur’s Gate 3.
Have a great two weeks!
Friday Update 11/3/23
NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. Write 50k in 30 days (and melt into a puddle of goo when you’re done). I’ve wanted to write novels since I was little, but NaNo is what got me into actually attempting to do so before I was picked up by a small publisher. I’ve never actually completed a true NaNo (that is: 50k in 30 days), but I’ve occasionally used the idea to give myself a jumpstart on a new project or to push through one that’s almost done.
This year, writing Fated to the Wolf happens to line up with NaNo, and I’m in a writing group that has decided to give it a shot. We all support each other and hopefully by the end there are 5 new novels in the world. The outline I have so far (about half of the novel) makes me think this is going to be a 70k book! So it won’t be done before December, but it’ll have a substantial bite taken out of it by the time we get there. As of today, I have 10k down, so just the beginnings of things.
Admin work this month is focused on re-formatting my YA fantasy collection Enchanted to prepare for wide release in December. I’m also formatting the next Maj and the Outlaws short story: The Trinorida Dragon for release in January. With any luck, both of those will be on preorder before I travel for Turkey Day mid-November.
In not-writing news, I have a massive harvest of green tomatoes. I’m dehydrating a bunch of them, but do you have a green tomato recipe you love? Share it! I’m drowning XD
10/27/23 Friday Update
It’s always odd to have a short update like this one because it doesn’t feel like I’ve done any less work, it’s just much the same as last week.
Words continue on Fated to the Wolf along with some organizing of the world bible. It’s always better to stay on top of that as I go along, rather than try and fill it in after the fact, but I know once I get into the final stretch of drafting, I’ll be so focused on the words that the bible gets put on the back burner until the end.
Ironically, actually drafting the work is not my favorite part of the process. I really love the step before that: the brainstorming and worldbuilding and organizing of the details. Creating the characters and all of their complications before I ever put down a single word that belongs to the draft.
As a result, when I can see the finish line, just a couple more chapters, a few more days of work, I drop everything to get there. Even the laundry XD
We’re not there yet, though. Writing the beginning of a book always goes slower than the rest as I figure out the characters and their world, but writing the beginning of a series is even slower. I know what happens in book 10, and I need to sprinkle the seeds of that now, in the prequel, so I can tease it along the whole time.
I’m having a lot of fun developing this world, though, and I’m so glad I spent those few weeks reading so much Anita Blake all at once. That was a great series to study. I’m also referring to all of my notes I took during the Thriller/Fantasy class back in July. Fingers crossed I can blend all this study together into an exciting series.
Friday Update 10/20/23
Short update this week as not a whole lot has changed. I’ve read every Anita Blake book in the series, now, which means it’s time to transition into something else. I’ve picked up two books by Kevin J Anderson, one epic fantasy and one epic scifi, but I’m wondering if I should find another paranormal series to binge and continue my study, there.
This week was full of routine doctor visits, eye exams, and the like, so I haven’t tackled much of the admin to-do list. I’m working on formatting and releasing Enchanted wide. This is a collection of fantasy stories that I wrote at the very start of my career, back when I was only publishing on Amazon. I have a new cover, now it’s just a matter of updating the format.
The website continues to get updates! Several more ebooks were re-added to the store and I’ve started linking the paperback and hardback books from the fairy tales. My print on demand service, BookVault, has a plugin that connects to my store. I just need to make all the links work between the books before they’ll be listed as ‘in stock.’ I’ve also learned all about Child Themes in wordpress, which allows me to make some cosmetic changes to the website that will be retained when the theme updates. All good things.
Finally, words on Fated to the Wolf continue apace.
Friday Update 10/13/23
Happy friday the thirteenth during Spooky Season!
It’s supposed to freeze tonight?! I was just dealing with over 100 degree days. Kansas is crazy. I’m working on making hoop covers for my pumpkins and acorn squash before it gets too cold.
This week has been a lot of production work. I’m making daily progress on Fated To The Wolf, which is the prequel story that will feed into both the vampire series and the werewolf series.
I’m continuing to read Anita Blake Vampire Hunter as a focused study of paranormal romance. I started this study with book #16 and I just finished #27, so it’s been a lot of material in a very short amount of time. I’m already seeing great improvements in my writing.
The website is also inching along. Most of the major pages have the new layout, but a lot of the minor pages (like the product pages in the shop or the blog posts) do not yet. I’m continuing to re-upload the books that I lost when I had to roll the site back to March. I’m also making an ongoing list of site edits, so this will continue for a while.
If you get my newsletter you heard all about my latest playstation games: Stray and Control. I recommend both! Stray is short, about 8 hrs, and beautiful. Control I’m still playing, but I’m super impressed with the storytelling in both.
It feels a little odd to not have an urgent deadline. I’m re-learning how my production works when I’m not under that kind of time pressure and I like the results. I’ve always known I work better without a deadline, my recent rash of them is a good reminder.
Friday Update 9/28/23
This week has been packed full of paranormal romance research. Years ago I stopped reading the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter books by Laurell K Hamilton because life just worked out that way, but now that I’m creating this larger paranormal world for my London penname, I went looking for other PNR books in series to binge. I found the Anita Blake books at my library and realized there are a lot of books I’ve missed in the last several years!
First, I had to figure out where I left off. I knew for sure I’d read The Harlequin, but I read the back cover copy on Blood Noir and didn’t recognize it, so I picked up there. That’s book #16. Turns out I think I have read Blood Noir, but I remembered so little of it, it was like reading it fresh. I plowed through the series and I’m now on book #24 Dead Ice, so I’ve read about 9 books this week, taking a lot of notes along the way about how Hamilton handles her relationship scenes and character introductions.
I’ll finish up the books the library has in the next week and that will put me up to the current release for the series: Smolder, which is #30. Let’s hear it for the library!
At the same time, I’ve been expanding my paranormal world, taking a lot of brainstorming notes I’ll need to sort through later, and letting the outline of my next prequel novella unfold. It always takes longer to create something new coming off the heels of a big study session as I try to incorporate what I’m learning into what I already do well. Thankfully this prequel doesn’t have a deadline until next year so I can take my time.
Aside from writing, I’ve figured out that I’m not really the target audience for the Souls-like games. I’m glad I checked Elden Ring out at the library instead of buying it. I also checked out Demon’s Souls. They are just not my thing. The story and controls are fine, it’s the structure of game play that forces me back to the beginning of a level as soon as I encounter a minor boss that I hate. It takes me a lot of repetition to figure out a new enemy sequence/boss battle. Being forced to play the entire level just to have the boss’ first hit kill me three times in a row isn’t my kind of fun.
I also checked out Like A Dragon! But it has combo sequences of buttons to memorize which is also not my thing. I think I need to pull Horizon Forbidden West out of my collection and continue that instead.
Friday Update 9/22/23
A lot of admin work has come to fruition this week! The home page of the website is officially re-made and I think it’s beautiful. The rest of the website is still in ugly-duckling stages, so you’re watching it be reborn in real time. I’ve tested said website on mobile and tablet, but if you see something weird, do let me know. I’ll get it straightened out.
The books available in the store are still from March, but getting the more recent publications up and sellable again is climbing the list quite rapidly.
The other big task I’m working on is worldbuilding and outlining for the larger Aliens world. Red Stars Crossed was released for a short time in the Aliens on Earth anthology. The rights to that story have reverted to me and I’m fleshing out the last sublot I just didn’t have time to include for the anthology deadline. But there are more than just Aliens in this world. There are shifters, demons, witches, vampires, and angels too.
My next project is prequel novella that will start both the werewolf and the vampire branches of this world. I already have a prequel for the alien branch. And who knows what will happen after that.
I’m excited to be working on larger worlds. Longer novels. And series!
Stay tuned for the serialization of Red Stars Crossed (once I get that subplot woven in), and more pages of the website makeover.