Year End Review

My publication anniversary is here. Technically past but that’s fine, we’ll work with a generalized idea of it.

First off, let’s do inventory.

Last year about this time, I started my 12-in-12 challenge, meaning to write a book a month. Technically I have one more day to finish. I think I’m shy by one book, but my numbers keep slipping all over the place. It’s expected, but whatever, it’s close enough, right?

Published this year:

His Grace Oct. 25, 2017

Contract Gifted April 7, 2018

His Wings April 8, 2018

Fragments May 9, 2018

Isabella’s Story (boxset) Oct. 6, 2018

Seed Oct. 15, 2018

Published “next” year:

Crop Nov. 22, 2018

Harvest Dec. 31, 2018

Wraith’s Rebellion (box set) Jan. 2019

The Reaping (box set) Feb. 2019

Written this year:

Contract Claimed -NaNoWriMo appr. 89k words

Contract Sealed – Dec appr. 20k words

His Wing – Jan approx. 87k words edited and published

Contract Delivered – appr. 70k words

Crop – appr. 87k words (finished about 104k) edited and published

Harvest -appr. 90k words (finished about 108k) edited and published

The Last Prophet – appr. 90k words mild editing

Hera – July appr. 97k words beta read

Contract Gifted – appr. 25k words edited and published

Grim Port – Oct. appr. 101k words

Plotted out:

D.o.t.A. books x 4 (I cannot recall their names)

Savage Shores – m/f alien interaction on a giant paradise ship.

Contract Unspoken – m/m smutty novella of Mr. Wrightworth and an unnamed slave

Elysia – an Elders book about Elysia finding Kaz and turning her, though told from his perspective.

The Special Boy – a Coven book set in the Coffee and Blood world about the grown male witch

Grim Haven/Grim Travels – two books to fill out the Grim trilogy set in Scotland

In Planning:

Bob – (Coffee and Blood) an ‘Elders’ book, as Bob is technically an Elder, about Vampire Las Vegas. South American setting.

Ba En Ra – (Coffee and Blood) a trilogy set in the Ba En Ra family, said to be located in or around Egypt, where they lived for tens of thousands of years.

The Rebellion – (Coffee and Blood) a trilogy wrapped around the werewolves and witches and a treaty they are in the process of forming.

Bitches – (Coffee and Blood) I don’t care what the freaking wolves say, this title has to change. This is a couple of stories, or maybe a trilogy wrapped around Daisy and her adventures. I’ve given her a nudge and she might find herself in Mungo’s path. That’ll make sense later on.

Duality – (solo world) a book or series set around a world where mages need to pair off in order to access their magic.

Shade – (solo world) a series of random books of varying lengths about an immortal named Shade.

Savage Shores – this is supposed to be a series following the consequences of the book.

Alpha – a set of three smutty m/m novellas revolving around the ‘adoption’ of a new companion by an Alpha who has two already. They would then be released in a set. The series would continue on.


Something is missing. Maybe December was finishing off Contract Signed. It would take about four hours for me to find the information and then I’d get lost down the rabbit hole.

In the last year I’ve also moved, gone back to school, moved from full time to part time work, adopted a cat, got my license back… been making my own covers.  I like the cover making, but I need more experience and practice before I start selling, I think. I always think that, so we’ll see how it goes.

Cover design takes hours at a desktop, though. I don’t have that time. So no arts and crafts for me.

So…

What do I want to do in the next year? What do I want to see?

I want more than five books published. I want the entire backlog edited and published. I want to keep writing as fast as I am, so one or more books written a month.

I need to set a clear goal but I think I need to think on this more. Just like I did last year, I want to set up the books for writing and editing and such on. I want it all listed out.

Right now, let’s focus on right now: Finishing the Grim trilogy. Write that sucker. I could be done in two weeks with some pushing.

Once finished the Grim trilogy, finish reading Harvest. Grab Hera and do a read, then start the plot edits then do other edits. Grab the Grim trilogy as a whole. Read it all, do plot edits. Then start actual edits on the trilogy.

Given time and how things are falling into place, I’m actually hoping to have that almost done by January 7th when I go back to school.

So, my real hope is that my next year will look like this:

January: Wraith’s Rebellion box set

February: The Reaping box set

March: Hera

April: Grim Port

May: Grim Haven

June: Grim Travels

July: Grim box set

… and then? I dunno, but that would get me four out of 7+ books. Dum, dum, dum, what do I do then? I’m definitely on a Coffee and Blood kick but they don’t draw a lot of income so far.

Except I freaking love them. You know, if you couldn’t tell. Those who read them seem to like them, which is fantastic. I just need more readers.

So… oh, D.o.t.A, I guess.

 

 

Week Eight

Quick updated, I guess this is.

Mid-terms are this week and I’m thoroughly bored with school and trying to pay attention so I’ve started Grim Haven, writing on breaks and the like. I then wind up paying attention in class so that I can get the homework done the first time without having to redo it because I read through too quickly or something. Chapter seven is about to start so 30k words since Wednesday at lunch or so.

It was a long week, starting on Tuesday for work. The assistant has had to request a leave of absence and will be gone through most of our busy season. We have a new full-time of my position, which is good, except she’s still learning and we can’t lean on her. There’s also the problem co-worker but we can’t lean on her either.

Which leaves two functioning members able to do things like opening and closing. Me and the boss. So, with the new one off next week for training in another store, which thankfully is in their slow period due to their location and the fact that everyone travels south from them for the winter, she’s working something like… three weeks in a row?

Then she’s off because she booked time off before and tickets are already booked, or else her time off would probably be cancelled. Then she gets stats off basically.

Oh. My. God.

All I’m thinking about is how crazy I got doing the same thing. I like her, I respect her, I don’t want her to suffer just so I can be comfortable so I’ll be doing basically whatever she needs me to do over the next six to eight weeks.

So… I could be working Tuesday to Sunday and only have Monday’s off. She’s going to probably give me every other Sunday off because we did discuss how I can’t do that again because I go freaking crazy and just can’t do it again.

In school it’s all simple for me (for now) and we’re taking tests all this week so last week was so boring. We were reviewing and I knew the stuff and I’m struggling to stay focused in class because what if I miss something, right? I’d rather get it down now than struggle on the job. Which was why I started writing Grim Haven. It’s a weird thing, but it works so I’m going with it.

But due to work, I’m not at 50 or 60k words like I was with Grim Port after the same number of days.

With that all coming up, there’s been a change to the plan.

See, I have three weeks in December. Grim Travels will be done in that time. Which means I’ll be sitting on a lot more books.

Hera needs to be edited and published before the Grim books. So what is it now? Box set of Wraith’s Rebellion in January, Box set of The Reaping in February. Hera in March, then Grim from April to June and the box set in July. I’m desperately wishing for an editor and cover designer now.

I’ve got all these books on backlog but haven’t the inclination to edit them, I just want to write more. Which, I mean, in a way is good. But because of my position and how things are going, I can’t just not edit.

My beta is a lot of help, but she can only work if the freaking printer works. And no one in town seems to have ink! I went to exchange a non-functioning cartridge and they were out of ink again, they had to give me a refund even though it was against store policy. I mean, all I was going to ask was if I could come back with the cartridge in a few days and exchange it then because they said they were going to receive a shipment.

I might have a line on an inexpensive cover designer who does good work, so the styles could be changing some, but that’s actually the part I like the most. Of the two, I meant, editing and cover design, I prefer doing cover design, I just don’t have the time for it like I thought I would. I have to be at the computer and the computer has to be behaving, otherwise I have long gaps where I can’t get anything done because the program is thinking because the hard drive is a piece because it’s an Acer.

I really hope I can afford an SSD drive for my next computer. That would be just fantastic.

 

Week Two (Day Two)

It took until I reached school for me to recognize that weird heaviness all over. My joints are aching, on top of more pain, and I’m already sick. Yesterday my nose started running after lunch so I could very well be sick and tired, and in more pain now.

I should have suspected when I had an internal argument with myself this morning over shoes and my backpack. I wore the backpack as I put on my shoes, normally I take the backpack off and kneel to put on my shoes, you know, like a normal person. The idea of kneeling made me whiny and the idea of taking off the backpack only to put it back on again made me call the inner voice who argued with me a very nasty name.

Normal people don’t have full on conversations with themselves, I realize, but I do. Especially when stressed or annoyed. Heck, the voice even helps me remember things, it’s like my personal Siri or Cortana.

Anyhow, I’m supposed to be imputing edits for Crop this morning but I think I need to do some self-care to get through this day. Then, when I get home, I need to medicate with a couple different things and go to bed early, hoping I’ll sleep the night through. At this point, it’s the only help I’ll have.

In a month, though, another option becomes legal. I wouldn’t have to take ibuprofen for the swelling, Valerian to keep me in a deep sleep, and St. John’s Wort to take away the brittle edge that pain puts me in. I can stop at a dispensary, buy a little something, have a puff (quite literally one puff) and then sleep the whole night away.

It’d even have the added benefit of replacing anything I take for anxiety or insomnia for about three days. Replacing such side effects as agitation (how exactly does an anti-anxiety helper cause agitation?), insomnia, and all sorts of medication conflicts with dry mouth, the munchies, and sleepiness.

All without breaking my brain, writing, or mood, so I’m super excited about that.

So, obviously, not working on Crop today. Instead, I ended up reading The Last Prophet on the trip to school. I think I want to expand on this a bit. I think the wrap up doesn’t have to end like a movie does, I think we can do wrap up in the book and not write a separate novella about Sweetheart. Well, not about her outcome. I think I need to add more about P.P. Marky.

A prophet who became a rapper and exists in the modern day, obviously conflicting with the title of the book. I kind of want to hug Marky, as his songs make it onto the radio and later on Abby recalls one and uses his prophecy to save them. Prophets aren’t supposed to be able to cross the thresholds of other prophets, so that could maybe be where her title comes in? I dunno.

I’m looking forward to expanding on this.

The cover artist contacted me a few days ago and I responded. She had been on vacation and then sick. Woops. I checked for a blog or news page, I must have missed it. Completely my fault that I didn’t give it another week, but it’s ingrained in me to follow up. A cover will eventually be in the works, when she is recovered and goes through her messages and puts me on the schedule.

The Last Prophet has distracted me from my pain today, and my frustration and emotions over the past couple of days. I’ve found myself opening the file between classes to read more. This is a good thing, especially for me.

The only trouble being, I requested a wrap with the cover artist. The e-book cover is free, I would pay for the wrap. But the poor woman needs to know about how many pages the book would be, and I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about it and I might be able to add another 80k words to The Last Prophet. It’s going to be a beastie, but there are other things I want to add and explore and delve into. Everything is just a flash, and partway through I asked myself: why? Why is it a flash? Why can’t there be a couple of chapters extra? Why can’t David take lunch with Sweetheart so we learn about her, but also to show their relationship instead of having him just tell Richard? Why don’t we learn about Abby and her parents? Why does she just casually mention her father is dead, when there’s a magical force behind that?

Why doesn’t she call her mother when she awakens?

There are so many other things that need to go into this. And you know what? If it winds up being so freaking long, I can always break it into books like I do all the others. Let’s face it, if I took my trilogies, I could probably work them into one book quite cleanly, besides maybe Contracted because of the time jumps and changes between books.

I feel like I have the bones of The Last Prophet, basically. They’re good bones, they’ll work very well, but they don’t have as much flesh on them as I’d like. So, I’m going to take my time and do what I will with the book. I’m going to turn it into my vision instead of pushing the first copy out in the world.

I seem to be moving away from erotica and romance more, but my bio does say “whatever takes her fancy” and “when she finds a world she loves, she dabbles endlessly.”

Sure, The Last Prophet could go under its own pen name for high fantasy or something, but … no. This is me, this is how I write. I know there are people who insist an author must write only one genre, but that’s just not how I can work. It’s not how most of us work, and few seem to realize that. They hear about Stephen King switching from horror to the dark fantasy genre and they were scandalized and thought he was an exception to the rule.

I like to think of it as authors switch genres as much as readers do. Just because I love Robin Hobb, doesn’t mean I read her exclusively. Nor do I stick to her genre for reading. I also love Anne Bishop, Anne McCaffery, Anne Rice, and Stephen King when I’m in the mood. I’ve picked up single books from some weird scifi/fantasy hard boiled detective something before. I enjoyed it and put it down and never picked up another.

My writing is the same way. So, despite a four day debate about switching The Last Prophet to another pen name, I’ve decided to keep it under Aya DeAniege. And, yeah, it’s the same pen name that published erotica and plans to again. The same pen name that dabbles in vampires, witches, werewolves, and angels. Both in sexual and non-sexual context.

I suppose, with my love of the book, I should save up royalties and pay for an actual editor for this one. But at the length I’m looking at it would be $3-5000 to edit it.

If my writing paid that kind of money, I wouldn’t need a student loan, heck, I wouldn’t need a job. When I felt like this, I could take a long, hot bath with a glass of wine and a good book, then sleep the day away.

I have a vision for The Last Prophet, and it’s keeping me sane and just a little stable.

Now it’s just a matter of how to get what I want.

Week Two

Writing update first: the read edit of Crop is done, there’s just imputing (Really? imput-ing only has one t?)

Annnd I somehow just took a screenshot of my computer when I tried to hit the bracket. This is my brain now.

Putting edits into Crop are starting today or tomorrow. My beta has Harvest so once the edits for Crop are put in, I will be starting the read edit of that. I also need a day with a clear head to look at the cover of Harvest so I can figure out what’s going on there.

Waiting on a cover for Awakened which is actually being called The Last Prophet.

If I could stop hitting shift+I when I’m trying to italic, that’d be great.

I know where the keys are. Even drunk and sick, I can find the keys.

But last week when I said I’ve worked months in a row, I forgot to take into account that both school and work are basically customer service and dealing with people constantly. I could write, edit, market, and graphic design for months on end, working long hours the entire time, but that’s not so much dealing with people.

Working until October 7th might actually kill my brain.

Example: yesterday I took a pen and tried to put it in a breast pocket. Neither did I have a breast pocket, but I’ve never used one before.

Classes are about the same. I need to start my book project for Interpersonal Communication. Get it done as soon as possible.

Driving lessons are almost done. I find out today when my test is. One slight issue: it might happen during a Math test. Cue me swearing.

This week, I was definitely dead on my feet by Saturday. I just had nothing left to give, to the point that when my boss said, “I’m so tired, thank goodness I have tomorrow off,” it caused me to start crying uncontrollable two minutes later when I went on break. I’m that kind of tired.

I don’t think I could do this if I was living alone.

My aunt has a dishwasher (and I live with them) so I wound up asking if I could use it going forward.

With work Saturday morning and then a driving lesson that night, my plan had been to go home, have dinner, shower, do dishes, and have just enough time to make it to the lesson. Dishes don’t get done when I school and work, there’s no time in my day.

Well, when I was picked up Saturday, my aunt said, “by the way… I did your dishes.”

Sweet, baby Jesus.

I had enough time to take a little nap before the lesson. Sunday morning, I felt a bit more like myself. By the time I arrived at work, I was exhausted again. It drains me to know it’s just always there now. Forever and ever and ever…

If someone could gift me winning lottery numbers that would be great. I don’t want the grand prize. One of the lesser, but not piddly prizes would work too. Something four times my old salary would be perfect.

On Sunday. feeling a little more like myself, I looked over my options and started figuring out what I need to do to keep me sane for the next twenty or so days.

My current binge show can go on my tv instead of the computer. The couch is more comfortable, especially if I fall asleep. The cats like it too. They can all get up with me. And my laptop can play my game better than my desktop, so it’s an escape for me. I can also play upstairs on Mondays and Tuesdays so I can socialize a little and feel like I’m not just in the basement.

Then there’s the food. I put pork chops and sweet potatoes in the slow cooked with chicken broth and it smelled divine. Until I dished it out, then it smelled a bit like vomit. I think it’s the pork. It’s not bad or anything, I just always have this weird reaction to smelling pork.

So, don’t do that again.

I might buy a tough beef roast next and do that in the slow cooker then add beans and some other veggies right at the end. That should taste good.

I keep having to remind myself, there is more food. I’m not as broke as before. Especially since my food budget is still kind of the same but I don’t eat alone as much. So, if pork and sweet potato make me regret putting them in my mouth, I can freeze it all and pull one out once a week.

I did wind up opening a bottle of wine. A glass of wine and an hour of my game Saturday night very likely helped me rebalance for Sunday, but I actually opened the wine when I discovered I wouldn’t have Sunday off like I was supposed to.

Did you know wine can go bad if not drunk in a certain time? Yeah, Google says it’s not just a myth created by functioning alcoholics. So, I’ve got about half a bottle of wine that I’m not sure I would, or could, use in cooking.

During typing today, I forgot where the ‘C’ key was. Then my mind suggested the helpful: there is no ‘C’ key. I’d venture the need for more coffee, but I’m still in the middle of one.

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.

April: Contract Delivered

Three days in and I’m already having issues. This sucks because I’m pretty certain this isn’t the same issue that I had with His Wings.

My pain returned yesterday, but no anxiety accompanying it. By the time I got home, because I worked through it all, the knuckles on my right hand were bright red against my pale skin. The index and middle finger of the left were the same thing. It utterly drained me.

Today the pain seems manageable. As in not really existing. My knuckles are stuffy but I feel exhausted to the point that I can’t focus on my writing.

The plus side of that all is that the last time my knuckles looked like that, I had to call into work because the pain made me physically ill. This time around it just sapped my energy.

To complicate my project schedule, I have a social event to go to tonight. I don’t regret going at all, but that means I probably won’t get work done until Thursday, which is my next day off. There’s a part of me that’s about ready to stomp her feet and throw a little tantrum over that, which is how I know this isn’t the same as His Grace.

I knew April would be challenging because my move happens during it. I knew that would interfere, that the anxiety would be high and I’d have a lot to do. That was one of the reasons I chose Contract Delivered.

After working with him for… what is, three years now? Mr. Wrightworth is practically a comfort when I’m sick or unwell in some way. Yeah, I’m team Mr. Wrightworth, but I’ve never had a proper, healthy relationship and have been known to be a masochist both emotionally and physically.

Contract Delivered is meant to be the end of the second year of Nathaniel and Mr. Wrightworth’s contract with Albert. In the original introduction, Nathaniel promised it would cover some of his time with Isabella. So the original plan was to have Contract Signed cover the year of servitude, Contract Sealed to be the years in between, and then Contract Delivered to cover the time where Isabella and Nathaniel were apart. Then four chapters into Contract Signed, Nathaniel changed it all.

He was all, “No, this should all be about Him.”

And I just sighed and shook my head but gave in and let him go with it.

In the meantime, I’m doing a read-edit of Contract Gifted, a novella that is like as not going to be expanded at some point in the future into a novel. That’s fine by me. I’ve got the cover done for it and have to work on the description. Once I’m done the read-edit, I can write up the description.

Both the edit and the description would be done on my phone. Since the read-edit actually involves reading it and making notes, then making changes on a computer.

See, for the next week, I can’t take my netbook to work. I’m worried I will forget it. Or be mugged… I’ve lived in this city for like four years and I’ve never been concerned that someone will notice what’s in my bag until now. Because that’s just my freaking luck. So, rather than risk the netbook being stolen, I’m leaving it at home. That also, of course, bites into my writing time.

So be it.

Four more work days, nine days until my move. Oh, which I probably won’t be able to write Contract Delivered during. I suspect typing on a computer would be super distracting to a driver so instead I’m going to have my phone with all the background stuff shut down, a traveling battery thing (I can’t seem to recall the word, so it’s probably best that I’m not writing this morning), and an MP3 player separate. I’ll work on Harvest instead.

For like… fifteen hours or so. Three hours is usually one chapter for that, so I could be about a quarter of the way done by the time I arrive.

Plans, etc.

If only my head was able to focus on writing a story today.

Crop Week Four

Obviously, I’m not working on Crop anymore. I’ve been editing like crazy.

The wrap for Seed is done, along with the cover of Crop. The wrap for Crop could be done in about an hour.

I like that wraps used to take me something like sixteen hours, and now it’s down to an hour or so.

I had an anxiety attack Sunday so bad that I was in tears. It continued into Monday. No reason for it, just over stressed about the day-job and the move coming up I guess.

Monday night, I played some video games and had a little wine. Just unwound basically. The attack passed sometime around midnight on Monday.

I didn’t get out of bed until one on Tuesday, and then only because my older cat demanded I get up.

So that he could sleep on the couch instead of the bed…

Jerk.

Sometimes caring for yourself means sleeping off the tremor created by attacks and the weariness from forcing yourself through a day. This was the first time in years that I didn’t want to get out of bed.

And last time it was also a cat that made me get up. Except that time it was so he could sleep in my spot.

Cats. They are so mean.

Once I got up yesterday I finished writing Contract Gifted which isn’t a big deal, it was only two chapters left. Then I put it through a chunk edit and started a regular edit. One chapter left for that edit and I plan to do it at work today.

I also started looking at photos for the cover. I have to figure out how many edits it needs, but it could be up as early as next week.

Novelettes are kind of nifty, but I’m not certain I have a plot or way to do another one. It’s just that Nicole popped up just before Christmas and was like, “Hello,” and it just worked itself out.

Tomorrow I start Awakened and I don’t have the energy to be excited about it. The attack is still riding the edge of my mood and it could be a while before I completely recover.

Or I could be tired because I forgot to take my pills and eat before leaving the apartment. Or it could be weariness in general. I want to move yesterday. And as much as I ‘booked’ six weeks off because I know all but one is going to be anxiety riddled and scary, I want it to happen and I want to be on the other side.

Awakened will have to keep me distracted until then. Four weeks, and supposedly twenty-four chapters to go. That’s about 100k words. 25k a week, or about 6 chapters.

Okay. Maybe I’m a little excited. Just a smidgen.