12-in-12 Challenge

Okay. I haven’t really bitten off more than I can chew, but I took on the 12-in-12 challenge last November to give myself a goal because I wasn’t quite certain where my writing was going besides into The Reaping trilogy. Now I’ve got that and the second Contracted trilogy done as well as one one-off.

The challenge seems to have boot-kicked my creative world building up into a higher gear which is fantastic and I love it.

Over the months I have learned more about editing and graphic design and now want to revamp all my backlog of books and update the covers for the Coffee and Blood series. I may have to revisit the Contract series as well, though I do like the style.

Coffee and Blood would likely follow the same style as the Seed cover. I like how that looks and the background colours for each trilogy will be the same colour and texture while the character changes. That’ll make it easier for readers to find the trilogies by glance alone, no?

There are… eleven books to re-edit and six or so more to edit.

I’m still waiting for an acceptance/rejection letter but I do want to go back to school. I want to do the editing. I want to get the graphic design up and running for real. Except the 12-in-12 is always there. And if I get into school, I can’t do the last two books of the year.

Basically, I’m considering ending my 12-in-12 because it served out a purpose and has jump started all sorts for my writing, editing, and goals for the coming years. Except now it’s taking up so much time that I can’t get anything done until November. I can’t re-edit until November, or re-brand until November. I don’t feel that would be a good fit to wait until November to start all this when I need Wraith’s Rebellion done for October, before Seed goes live.

So, I suppose this is now a to-do list:

-Rebrand website: I said I’d do this, what, back in November?

-Edit, in this order: Seed, Wraith’s Rebellion, Crop, Harvest, Contracted, D.o.t.A.

-Rebrand Covers: Wraith’s Rebellion.

-Get on with the Covers already.

-Blog tours?

-Revisit Blurbs of all the books.

-Adjust room/office area to actually allow for doing work.

-Update The Others.

Ark is still active, but I am dragging my feet because of the to-do list. Ark doesn’t have a due date, it’s not up for pre-order anywhere, I don’t have to rush through it. I’m kind of enjoying dragging my feet, though. Ark is set in a tropical biodome and is kind of giving me flashbacks of vacations but in a good way.

I’ve got a direction now, I know where I’m going and what I’m doing. It’s time to take off the blinders and make changes to further my writing rather continuing to do what isn’t getting books out until probably spring of next year. That’s too long.

June – Ark

June, I will be working on a science fiction romance temporarily titled Ark. This could branch into a wonderful little series that varies within the romance genre.

That’s all I’m going to say for the moment because that’s almost all I’ve got. But I’m super stoked about it!

I do have an announcement to make. Due to life choices, I may not be able to finish my 12-in-12 challenge. I’ve elected to apply to college to gain a certification to move up in the world for a better job while I get the writing up and running.

And, actually, the great thing with this is it teaches me some reports and paperwork that I can convert into the running the writing like a business. I’ve been thinking for a little while that expanding my work into/under a publishing house umbrella. It’s my understanding I could then use that to publish under multiple pen names but it might simplify taxes and maybe payments too.

Anyhow, if I get accepted (I really hope I do) I go back to school in September and that would take precedent over a challenge of writing books. I would then have ten books from this year to edit along with editing my back …log? Of books.

I might still be able to complete the challenge, but I’m not going to over exert myself because I will be working at the same time that I’m going to school.

I kind of hate that I have to wait a couple of weeks to see if I get in. I don’t like being in limbo, it makes me a little ball of anxiety. When I went for my written driving test yesterday, I failed by one point because I forgot the classification of the driving license I had held for over a decade.

I’m not so great with failing tests and school things. It ends up distracting me.

Like, right now, I’m supposed to be editing Seed. And getting ready for a shift at the day job.

Right. Let’s get moving.

Harvest – Complete

My schedule is messing with my updates. Could have also been the trip to Mexico and the other trip across the country. My internal clock is all kinds of messed up. When I go to bed at night, I end up laying up and unable to sleep. By the time I fall asleep it’s an uneasy sleep.

Tried valerian. Does not work? Suddenly gets me all wired up.

But once my clock settles back down and realizes this is my timezone and we’re going to sleep when I want to sleep.

Oh, right, I should just set my alarm. That’ll certainly resettle things back down.

Anywho, the book is done. I think Harvest turned out better than Crop in the first go around. I think it’ll take a little less editing than Crop, which is good.

Rather than rush these guys out, I’m going to take my time with the edits and get it right. Then once they’re all out I’m going to do a box set.

See, I’ve been a little trouble about the trilogies and then the whole world. The naming scheme is… I mean, I can’t be the only one to do it. So Wraith’s Rebellion is the trilogy, and is what’s on the covers, but Coffee and Blood is the name of the world. All these trilogies and books and such will fall under the giant umbrella of Coffee and Blood.

So I’ve decided to release them under the trilogies and then bundle them together and release the bundle under Coffee and Blood. That way the bundles aren’t bungling up the solo books. The trilogies don’t share main characters, though main characters of previous trilogies may end up as secondary characters in other trilogies.

I have no idea if I made that make sense. I’ve been replacing flour with with flower and trying to phonetically spell words for some reason. I blame the long travel basically killing my brain. Which was why the first week, I struggled through the chapters. Then yesterday just slammed through three chapters.

Or was that four…? I don’t remember. It’s done though.

My two complete days off are Monday and Wednesday because, and I didn’t realize this before. Part-time hours doesn’t mean real part-time hours when you have skills they can use. They’re dropping me into every shift they have available and I’m just kind of sitting in the corner going, “I was told there would be part-time hours.”

On my full days off I’ll have to study for my license and maybe go in for it.

Because, guess what? My royalties will be enough to do it!

Get the license, find an actual full-time job. You know, the kind with a regular schedule? Or get moving on applying to school to go back for a certification and just alter my availability.

I was expecting more time to myself, as I’ve seen with all other part-timers. I feel like I have no time but I have a great deal more time.

My family even feeds me when I get home. I should have all the time in the world.

Must be the travels, sleep, and lack of regular schedule. I’d book off certain days and give myself a regular schedule, but the person above me doesn’t seem to have a regular schedule.

I definitely function a great deal better when I have a regular work schedule. If I could get that, I’d be golden.

I start my next book in a week. I have to say, I’m looking forward to the end of this. If I wasn’t working, just writing, this is the way I’d go. I’d definitely have all the time in the world and I’d write a book a month, probably get it done in a week, in a couple of years I’d have the editing down pat and I might even be able to publish a book a month.

Super distracted, but a long day yesterday to get the book done.

Also, strangely hopeful for a future of just writing.

I definitely need two days off.

May – Harvest (week 2/3)

You read that right. I don’t know what it is with Prototype but I don’t feel like rushing through that. I want to take my time with every line which is weird because I’m doing the same damned thing with Seed. Of course, the key with Seed is that I promised almost a year ago that I wouldn’t put it up for pre-order until Harvest was written.

I now have a proofreader. Huzzah!

Except she’s a bad influence. I fleshed out The Ark, and have a new sub-series for Coffee and Blood. Not a trilogy, but a series called The Elders. Older vampires dictating parts of their history for mortal consumption. Elysia is all for it, apparently. Though she has a long, long history and has done a lot. She also won’t even choose a part of time until after Harvest goes live.

We’re over halfway through Seed, so getting Harvest done is imperative.

For my ego, you understand. It’s hiding under a rock weeping.

All these people Trademarking words and then being petty annoyances. I believe one quote I read went, “I am building a brand, you are writing a book.”

Woman, we are all pouring our hearts and souls into books and series and worlds. Anne Rice did not trademark vampires (thank god), E.L. James did not trademark BDSM (thank god), and you know what they are?

Brands.

Okay, it’s late at night and I’ve been an emotional wreck for about five days so I’m clearly expressing a little hypergraphia and… written vomit.

I did some editing while on vacation but no writing. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I was overwhelmed and felt small and stupid and just… like I was invisible. I tried to retreat to give myself a foundation and calm down but at every turn it went wrong.

I was at a five star resort, there were people everywhere. The few times I felt alone, I managed to regain just enough of myself to continue but not enough to muster up the courage to write. The little voices at the back of my mind started whispering.

Just give up. No one likes you. Your writing is shit and will never get better. You’ll never be anything.

I didn’t even have the energy to fend them off. I just let them wash over me and beat me down because I knew once I got home I’d refocus and squash them again.

And as soon as I got home, I basically fled. The second I was alone I started crying. Just all that emotion boiling out of me. I haven’t felt like that in years and I’m so happy that I made choices and changes to my life to protect myself and build myself back up.

Besides that, the resort was fabulous and I will go back.

I have two new worlds, a new sub-series, and have found the bits of The Ark which were missing. I did manage to decompress despite shutting down emotionally and have my body turn on me.

I’m still not feeling Harvest, but I am recovering from all the alcohol, the emotional state, and the bodily complaints. And I am starting the keto diet. Supposed to be good for all that ails me… literally.

The book is written up to chapter six. I have one more stressful trip ahead of me with long hours on both a plane and in a vehicle which should help me write it, if I can plug into an mp3 player and drown out the world. At this point I need that, though. My mental health has to come before anything else.

Especially since this is month six of twelve and I’m spiraling all over the place.

Oh shit. I don’t know where my usb is. The only things not backed up are the edits for Seed, and all of Contract Delivered.

Excuse me while I tear apart my room and try not to have a panic attack.

Prototype Week 1

I’m still re-cooperating from over exerting myself this weekend with my move in and unpack. Everything is finally in place but I’m distracted by little nagging voices about positioning and those things.

Prototype has a sort of quirky and sarcastic voice to it. Right now I’m just feeling bitter and sore. The bitterness was someone else’s doing, but I’m off for vacation tomorrow and that should clear that all away.

I’m still stuck on the naming convention for the constructed people too. The ‘god’ that isn’t shown is named Sadie, because she’s kind of a sadistic bitch to everyone but close friends. She’s supposed to be a kind of opposite of the one who created the world everyone lives on. I was like, “can you…” and she just stared at me. She’s not even active, but, okay. She still has to be Sadie.

Her name could help later on, I suppose. The news reports her people as dead besides one but near as I can tell, that’s not true at all.

So it is Dorian Sadie. He also insists on Dorian. I tell him no, he tells me yes, I tell him no again and he says his name has to start with ‘D’. I asked why.

“Because women all want the D, that’s what everyone says,” he replied innocently, smiling impishly as he spoke.

Bugger.

Since starting Prototype, I used the naming convention for the constructed people over in Coffee and Blood for the DiLucrecia family, but there it made sense.

I apparently have a thing for naming conventions of families. Over in D.o.t.A. there’s a system based kind of off the Welsh names of old, I believe it was. The vampires are named after their matriarch or patriarch. So far the only families named are from about the same area. Hence DeElysia and DiLucrecia, though the latter has been disbanded by the Great Maker.

So, now I’m kind of struggling for a quick way to denote created people from regulars in the eyes of readers. Those on Aurora just know. They walk by someone and get this shudder/feeling of “if I mess with them, I’m going to die.”

I decided to go with last name, but if I keep Lorraine, then her naming convention is Lorry, and I don’t want to do that. It’s personal, but the name Lorry should just jump off a cliff. I don’t want it in my books, or something that I have to deal with through multiple books.

And her name can’t have really great meaning behind it. Preferably a longer name that, when shortened, either sounds childish or stupid but isn’t a name that annoys me.

Anyone else have names that annoy them?

I’m going to try Penelope. Penny would then be the naming convention. It doesn’t really strike fear into the heart.

“Penny has said that if we trespass on her land again, she will unleash the dogs.”

“Dogs? Does she mean a lapdog?”

Yeah, that could work. That would make it Raul Penny. DeLorraine would have more oomph to it, but he doesn’t really let people use his last name while in front of him. He likes just going by Raul.

“Lord Penny!”

“Raul.”

“I’m sorry, Lord Penny?”

“My name is Raul. If anything, you may call me Chair Raul, but I am not a lord. No Chair may carry title besides Chair, which is why Dorian is the Lord of War even though I have led our armies for the last fourteen years. Don’t call me Mister, either. I am Chair Raul. It is due respect that all know the first names of the Chairs and besides Penelope herself, only we are referred to by our first names. Therefore, you will use my name. Raul. As an outsider, I will tell you once more if you forget, but after that I will apply the same response to you using the wrong name as I do my children when they start throwing a tantrum. If necessary, I also have a water bottle and can squirt you in the fact, if you are still having difficulty remembering.”

Normally he’s a man of few words. Yeah, I think Penny will work fine.

I’m at zero words but am scooping the first chapter from the original draft. Each chapter is seven pages long in my processor as compared to four for the Contracted series, and five for most others. Coffee and Blood may be the exception as that was on my phone so I aimed for five thousand words per chapter.

Speaking of Coffee and Blood…

The Special Boy has been running through my head for weeks. Just bits of plot slipping about and trying to connect to one another. This is likely exacerbated by the fact that I’m now living in the area where the main part of the story takes place. Being near the setting really seems to kick things into gear.

The story now has a female voice to pair with the male. She doesn’t start out in the area, I think. She’s a witch but I don’t think it’s Charlotte like I thought. See, the female lead is a possible lover to the male.

Charlotte won’t work, she’s a lesbian, which is why she’s in hiding.

Pretty certain the she is a witch too, not a werewolf, so not Daisy either.

It’s still a little… wishy washy? The female suggested a series title of “The Coven” but no promise of a trilogy. Could be interesting. Still have no freaking clue how the magic works. But I found two empty notebooks in my stuff that I didn’t even know I had, so I can take that down with me. Alcohol and nothing to distract me… something is going to fall into place eventually.

May – Prototype

It’s a working title, so bear with me. But May I will be working on Prototype, a two year old half-finished story that I need to basically start over again. Chapters are approximately seven pages long whereas other stories have five pages.

Balls.

The day job wants me back in tomorrow for emergency coverage. Which is still April so it’s not really bad news, but I won’t be able to get all my stuff set up because I need money so like I’m going to say no. So, setup will be done in May instead.

Balls.

May 1st, I’m going to see my grandmother for the first time in years, can’t write then.

… there’s no swear word after that, it’s a fact of life.

May 3rd, I’m flying out to Mexico for a week and for once don’t have to worry about someone breaking into my house or something going wrong with the cats and them dying a slow death. Alcohol included but no writing for seven or so days. Get back the 11th.

And then have five days before I have to fly out to my brother’s wedding, where I can’t take a laptop or tablet with me. It’s not safe for tech, basically.

Damn it.

Which brings me to May 20th when I go back to the day job.

Poop.

May is going to kick me in the teeth. It might be the first time when a novel stretches into June and that sucks but it is what it is and that’s how it exploded.

Alternatively, I could spend those five days doing nothing but writing. Five days, twelve hours a day… depending on focus I could get 50k-125k done. I used to be able to get 25k down in a day but things got loopy, I guess you could say.

When you work a two full time jobs, you don’t really have the chance to sit down and put that kind of energy into something.

Besides the timing, I’m excited for this one. Aurora is a world that’s dear to my heart and amuses me to no end. I think I have to change the last names, though.

See, there are gods who don’t like being called gods. Lorraine and Sadie are the two that are mentioned. And they made people, like actual people. Lorraine also made an entire world out of nothing, so there’s that. But in the original (this was before Coffee and Blood) the people created by Lorraine and Sadie were called DeLorraine and DeSadie. That’s not going to work now. I need a different scheme.

Raul Lorry and Dorian Sadie? I think if Lorraine’s name got shortened she’d go off like a volcano. Which she can do, what with being a god and all.

I pushed and pulled the plot around to make it do something. Got a bad guy all lined up. The other issue is sort of that this isn’t quite a romance? It’s a complicated thing where everyone ends up happy for right now and then stuff happens later.

It’s not my fault stuff doesn’t happen instantly.

One of my favourite things about Aurora are the cats. Created Anatomical Toys, their names should be CATs, I guess. Most of the cats are, well, feline in nature. They range from small like a house cat to the king of the pride, Krae who is a massive beast twice the weight of a grown man probably, whose head comes to the chest of most humans.

Lorraine made herself some pets who carry around her excess magic in case it should ever be needed. They’re big, their predators, they can and have killed to protect Auroran citizens.

And they really want citizens to pet and scritch them, ending up completely puzzled when humans start choking at the word scritch and why a mother wouldn’t want her three year old to ride one of them like a pony.

In later books, a type of dog is introduced to the cats, they act as a police force for the world and things get really confusing, so the name would have to be revisited, I suppose. But during Prototype only the cats are seen, though there are mention of the other creatures Lorraine made which vary from a wolf to a dragon and possibly some birds who are all cats but just not talked about by normal people.

Aurora is kind of like a ‘if you could create anything, what would you do?’ type of world, I guess. And I know the backstory and all the stuff that happens there so I need to resist writing it all in there. Prototype can’t be a crash course in Aurora, which is what I think was the problem I ran into to start with. That and too many characters. Reading through, I wanted to keep all the characters, but I’m going to cut them back again. That’s the smart thing to do.

May 1st, I start… or maybe May 2nd. I’ll have to see how it goes.

Contract Delivered Week 4

Two more chapters to go. Still shy of 60k, but all the Contracted books have been short upon the first draft except for Contract Claimed and even that could end up getting longer. Or shorter, I might remove some of Will’s damned ramblings.

The next two chapters, for me, are doozies. Super annoying for me. It’s also the ending of the trilogy so that will probably be a kick to my head. Vodka, I think, got me through the last trilogy’s end and then, upon finishing it, I back tracked to Contract Taken and added an entire chapter.

Because I know they’re going to be doozies, I’m going to try to get both done tomorrow. So, in theory, Contract Delivered will be done tomorrow.

I opened Contract Taken today to at least look at the edits. I gave it to my little program and it spat it back out with a low score. I’m not sure the first trilogy had anything more than my eye looking at it.

I said as I shuddered.

Hey, if I were making spare money above what I needed to survive, I’d be hiring an editor. Can’t do that, so I’ll use the resources at hand. It’s not like I’m standing about talking about how I’m so much better than everyone else and pouting because no one reads my books. I know I’m stupid, I know I’m mucking it up.

Come join me.

I kid, of course. I have been trying to do better with my editing. Grammatical rules written out just never made any damned sense to me. I’ve had people hold my hand and lead me through and I just sit there like they’re trying to tell me them in German. Some of it gets through, but not enough.

I’m getting better, so I’m going to go back and do re-edits of previous books rather than just leave them as is.

Except His Grace and His Wings. I’m not interested in touching them again and I guess readers can feel that I was super bored with them.

So what have I been doing around the one chapter a day? Well, I spent about a week doing an intensive jump around edit of Seed. I found a few mistakes that my program didn’t pick up on and fixed those. There were a few continuity errors. Yeah. I’ve read this thing like three times. Didn’t catch them.

Surprisingly easy to fix with Kaz being present for every error. Not his power, no, but he’s one of those people who nods and lets you tell the same story again and again to see if you tell it differently the second time.

People repeat stories all the time, especially when they’re stressed out and not thinking right. I think he’s told three different times that Helen has been turned. Maybe four… and each time, because he shuts up about it, he learns a little more about what happened.

Admittedly, one of those times he bitches about it with something like “If I didn’t engage with him, even though he had told me just that earlier in the night, he’d whine about it for the next century or more.”

Once my two chapters are done, I’m not sure what will be on my plate. Not until May 1st and I think I have an idea what I’m doing for May.

Six books down, six to go.