Grim Update

Well, that sounds ominous, doesn’t it?

But that’s the title of the trilogy, so there’s that.

With the next year set out, I realized I had to make time for updates. I could write until my little heart explodes, it wouldn’t really do much unless I kept everyone up to date on what’s going on.

So, Monday mornings is the update day. Except I had no Monday this week because school was closed for Remembrance Day and work gave me the day off, so I actually had a three day weekend.

Tried to get into a video game, didn’t work, tried pounding through Grim Travels, ugh, did not work. I’m standing about 22k words still. I mean, it’s not bad, but still. I’d like to be further along.

What’s going on? Did I just lose my words or something?

No. I finished Grim Haven on Tuesday, took it and Wednesday off to recuperate. I was ahead, I was feeling good, but I also knew I needed to give myself a little time. Thursday I started writing but we had a test, then we gathered after the test to talk among ourselves out at the tables so I didn’t get much done.

Then I was informed that the troublesome co-worker, who caused anxiety attacks, threw things at other people, and was the cause of that mental breakdown I had at work back when the boss was on vacation, is no longer with the company.

Slight… little bit… of an issue there.

The only one currently capable of filling her position is me. There are all kinds of problems in there, so many issues. So many broken things. So much hoarding going on, things all over.

Oh, and a guy from corporate is visiting. He’s… mean. If he finds out that I was her position and I saw that stuff going on and I didn’t immediately correct it, he’ll take my head off.

I mean, it’s his job, but, come on. Have you met–oh, wait, no, you haven’t.

I will not be paid more for this adventure of mine. No one outside of the store will be grateful for what I’m about to do and some within the store are going to be very upset about it. Because she’s gone and suddenly I’m changing things.

She’s not dead, she’s just no longer with the company. If we look at the health of the shop, we can clearly see that policies aren’t being followed and we have problems in there. I’m just trying to put it to rights before a replacement is found because there’s no way a new person can walk into a shop like that and weather the storm.

More work, no more pay, no bonus of any sort. Oh, and I still have to do my other position. Though we do now have a temporary me, so there’s that little possibility that I won’t have to run two positions at once.

I have no problem proving to the company that the position can be done by a part-time body. I’ve been saying for years that the position is no longer necessary, that, if anything, it could be done by a full-time position, just not a management one. Because there is nothing that body does anymore that can’t be done by someone else without the manager capabilities. They could save a lot of money by switching over.

Could also avoid this happening, because then the manager couldn’t hide in their shops and start stock piling supplies from thirteen years ago. Like, really? Why wouldn’t we… ugh, whatever.

I was told second hand that she was a self-declared hoarder so I don’t feel bad about the literal clean and purge I have to do.

Anyway, you can really tell that it’s consuming my thought process, it’s now at the back of my mind. I have to do this and this and this, and this is how this might be taken, and this is my weakest point in there, and that needs to be handled and this needs to be changed, and oh gosh, what am I walking into after three days away?

All of a sudden, I’m starting to see where I was struggling before. As my part time position, all I need to worry about is me and cleaning the store. That’s getting harder and harder with our busy season coming across us, but being unable to use more bodies, having people just up and quit or not show up, having to swap from one person to another who just doesn’t have the same capabilities as others.

Then I’ve got the writing and school.

How’s school going? Well, about the same.

Writing is officially my worst class. It was a little amusing for me the other day when the instructor said something like, “what you can get away with in fiction writing, you can’t do in business writing, they’ve very different,” but it wasn’t directed at me, it was in answer to why you don’t use and at the beginning of a sentence.

But I like doing that.

And sometimes it helps emphasis a point.

I try to avoid doing that in formal writing, however, as I know it’s not the best. I’ve seen some terrible emails come down from our head office and higher ups, but that doesn’t mean I follow their example.

Math we’re all falling behind. It’s not quite our fault. The instructor was gone for that week and a half or so. The other class is ahead of us now.

Document formatting, I think we’re about to get into stuff I don’t know, but I’m already using this in my writing. Love it, need to pay more attention, not less.

Accounting, my grade has slipped below 99% because I made a silly mistake. Ah, well. It’s just the way of the world sometimes. I enjoy accounting, I do like how even headed the instructor seems and how she gets to the point while giving us the time to practice.

For Interpersonal Communication, I need to edit the book report. I could submit it early but I suspect I’ll be beating my head on a wall for this. I don’t… mind interpersonal communication, but it does make me uncomfortable due to past experience with people ‘helping’ me learn to change. So, there’s that. But thankfully there’s not necessarily a test in the class.

There is something called a reflection paper, and I dun wanna. No reflecting for me! Reflecting is bad.

I’ll still do it, I just feel grumpy about it.

And writing (as in publishing) what’s going on there? Well, Crop is coming out next week. Harvest hasn’t finished its read edit because of the plan I set out. While reviewing the plan for my year, I realized I forgot to include spots to edit the three Wolf books. I have Wolf 1 scheduled, but not the rest.

How exactly was I planning on publishing them next December, if I wasn’t going to edit them?

Ugh, okay, so I changed the plan again, which isn’t a problem really. It’s all penciled in for a reason. I removed D.o.t.A 4 from the writing schedule because it was a spare novel, then I attached Wolf to the second month of summer vacation for editing. Since the first book would be edited, the month should be enough for two, considering I’m planning on editing the entire Nate’s Story trilogy through July only. That seems a might bit ambitious, even for me.

Ah well…

I did start working on a post for The Others. Still struggling a little with how that should go.

Suppose, I should get back to work if I want to finish Grim Travels next week.

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.

 

 

Lethargy

My get up and go got up and shot itself in the face: is how I describe how I’m feeling right now. I think it’s been a couple of weeks since I did any real work. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that all my motivation is gone. Not the external motivation, the internal fire that keeps me going and keeps me warm at night.

Not depressed… which is usually a cause of this behaviour. A little stressed but in the process of fixing that. A few life changes, what with school and driving courses and applying for a student loan.

Could be the student loan. Since I’m dragging my feet about applying.

I have this weird relationship with spending money I need to improve my situation but not wanting to because of how large the dollar amount is.

Or it could be because my birthday is coming up. Normally I get whiny and … well, wine-y.

So the “Alphas Book 1” hasn’t been written. I do have to start over and write from the beginning of the book but it’s a loss of a couple of pages and I like the new plot better.

Wherein there is no plot really. But it’s a nice show of how Alphas can and do act. So far I’ve just had them startled. Like a cat finding a cucumber laying behind it. And the Alphas shown have been bickering over land. Land, like that’s going to get them a gold star.

I mean, it could, there’s a new world order they’re working out. But typically owners of land rule for a decade or so then get eaten and forgotten about.

Actual Alphas, who are settled in stable land, don’t worry about the land or who owns it. Unless that person interferes with their studies or inventions, then the owner of the land dies horribly when the Alpha unleashes his companions on the Dom’s settlement and just sits back with a cold drink, watching the bloody chaos that follows.

I don’t know why I want to write about the companions going all stabby but it’s been a recurring fantasy of mine since I created the world and it hasn’t been linked to any real world problem. It’s probably a phenomenon in the world that I just want to explore, as I am a world builder.

Anyhow. Real alphas are a bit more like Blane when Alex was still alive. Alex (or a companion) would run their land, estate, raise the children right. The Alpha would take an active role but their mania would mean sometimes they are absentee fathers, which is where the companion comes in, stepping in to fill the role of father while the actual father is off and away.

So in Alphas Book 1 we come across Darien who is constantly checking his email. I really had to pry it out of him as to why it was important. He told me to take a flying leap, I threatened to have him broken for Rebecca’s (the only Mother so far) entertainment and that didn’t work. Then I threatened to sell his companions on the black market for dirty, unpleasant things and finally he relented.

He checks his email and phone throughout basically thinking things like, “nope, still a broke Alpha,” because he’s recently done a thing for his line of work, which I won’t spoil because it kind of ties in to the big ending. Darien isn’t necessarily young for an Alpha to break out into the world, twenty-seven or so. Which means he’s late to the party so to speak. He wasn’t in school all that time. He graduated at twenty with a doctorate (which is not unusual for an Alpha) and promptly and accidentally took on an underage companion.

With how Alphas break companions and create lifelong, unbreakable bonds with their new… ‘friends’ this is a very real problem in the world. Darien went to a party, Cody said he was of age and had a fake identification (obviously Darien couldn’t tell the difference) then found out the problem the next day.

Okay, so that’s a little world building for me because without that I might lose interest. Cody would be the first companion broken while underage who is acknowledged in the books but when you have jerks like Owen about, it’s likely happened in the past and I hope they were slaughtered slowly by their own companions.

Oh… that happened too. Wonder what the story was behind that.

Darien and the new kid Al are in talks with one another about how this will go. It seems they want a bunch of smut with the old companions in the first book, a bunch of smut with Al in the second book, and then maybe a third to wrap up the whole story with a bunch of smut all around and maybe with Blane.

Who probably walks in pissed off because this would be the sixth book, I think, that I have him called.

Why?

Oh, he knows why.

Which is also why he’s not protesting too loudly to me about it.

Of course, these would be novella lengths, not books. Or novellettes.

Obviously my words aren’t backed up, so I’m not burnt out. The ideas are still there and flowing like ever before.

No idea what’s wrong. But I have to head out for a course now, so I’ll have to try to solve this problem later.

Alphas

So… I now need to name the world that Daughters of the Alphas takes place in. I’ve had a short but heated debate with the Alpha from this morning and have agreed to do a companion series involving Alphas and their companions.

That’s right, I know there are some readers out there who have been waiting for this. I will be doing a m/m series in the same world.

The point that the Alpha argued was that this world started as m/m and has been f/m with a quasi m/m sub-theme because of the civil war. But before the war, Alphas recognized that some of them just weren’t interested in women except for breeding. As in, not attracted to them but they are friends with women or hire a surrogate.

In the new world order the place of the companion has changed yet not. Even though Alphas and companions go together like cats and catnip, they haven’t been covered in Daughters of the Alphas. Even the planned books, the Alphas are mainly heterosexually inclined.

The terms that have so far been agreed to:

-Aiming for novella lengths. Short reads basically.

-Both new and settled companions

-Possibly tales of Alphas from the past. So historically relevant to the world.

As it’s going to be novella length in nature, I’m not certain when they will get done. The last novella was Contract Gifted which was written across three or so months as I had the time. This was among other projects as well.

So, names for the world and ideas on how to get this moving.

Crop

I missed last week’s update because I was doing a read edit of Seed. This week happens to be the day before the first day of the month so I’m combining the two.

After a great deal of thought, I’ve decided to close The Ethereal. This means His Halo is being removed from the schedule and I will not be pursuing more books in the world. This doesn’t mean that I will never complete the trilogy, just that there are no plans to work on it.

I’m not enjoying writing or editing the books. Readers don’t get excited over them like they do with others so it’s time to call it.

I liked the covers though.

So it’s the last day of January, and His Wings is halfway through a description edit and sitting just shy of 80k words. It’s launching April 8th so I’m determined to get this done.

Seed has gone through the first read edit and I think I like it better than At Death’s Door but that could just be me liking a newer story better than an old one. Once I have the description edit of His Wings done, I will input the edits for Seed and get it off to the betas.

Fragments is almost halfway through a read edit. Once that’s done and Seed is off to the betas, I will input it’s edits and get it up for preorder.

Depending on betas, I might have three books launch across a month.

I’m also working on a side project that started bothering me called The Others which is a blog story? I’m not entirely certain. It is an experiment for sure. It’s just written as the whim takes me and in between things.

Which finally brings me to February. It’s project is Crop which has gone back on the rotation instead of being a floater. With about ten chapters left to write, Crop will likely take most of the month because of how it is written. Its word count is unknown, probably somewhere between 35k and 45k at the moment. I believe I had just started chapter ten.

I can only write Crop on my phone, which leaves the mornings, nights, and work breaks open. Hence where I’m getting all the other edits done. If I finish Crop early, I will launch into writing Harvest almost immediately.

Depending on other edits, I will also start the description edit of Crop right away. If Seed launches May 1st, I want Crop to launch no later than August 1st, and Harvest on October 1st.

No word on March’s project yet. I have to get Harvest written by April 12th. Hmm, 13th, let’s say. That’s when my long commutes end and I want to keep that… that kind of pace.

I’ll miss those focused times for writing on my phone. I’ll have to get a longer pair of headphones so I can plug into my computer once I move and blast music loud enough to drown my own thoughts until I can focus. Maybe that’ll work.

His Wings

As this is an obligation piece, it’s no surprise that His Wings is my January project. It’s an obligation because I have a trilogy planned, but His Grace is actually my worst selling book.

Yeah.

But, I have the trilogy planned out and I’m going to finish the damned thing. It could be that, because I have the trilogy planned, people are waiting for all the books to come out.

I have this one all plotted out, but came to hesitating at a m/m/f threesome for some bloody reason. Mind you, I don’t usually do threesomes. I think this would be the third I’ve ever written and the book requires two or three threesome scenes.

This may be my most challenging project because my heart isn’t quite in it. I want to see the trilogy through but I don’t feel like anyone cares about the book so I’m not as interested.

His Grace ends in a happy-for-right-now way too, so I could have walked away for a year like I did with Masked Intentions but I don’t want to drag it out like that.

D.o.t.A. may end up being my August book forever more. Which is fine, I don’t have a plan for that series really. Most of the books are stand alone.

Anyhow, going into this month, His Wings has a word count of about 9,000. Three chapters are complete, seventeen more to go which will total a minimum of 51k more words.

I have January 1st off, then work until Thursday and gave three days off in a row. I was supposed to have the 1st and 2nd off but the schedule was messed up. I had to fix it myself because everyone at work was perfectly okay with paying me an extra day.

Yeah… I get paid for stats.

But I had planned that day to get a handle on His Wings and if they wanted me to work an extra day they should have checked with me first.

So, I’ve got four days off in the first six of the year. I’m hoping to have His Wings complete by next Sunday because I need to dive into two more edits and one read through for Beth.

Not to mention the cover work I’ve been ignoring.

Lots of work to do again, not enough hours to do it in.

One Year Plan… and Rules

Okay, so my plan over the next twelve months is to complete twelve books. That way, come next November, I will have finished twelve novels and have between three and nine that I can then begin to edit and publish, hopefully just as quickly as I wrote them.

This, I realized needs rules:

-The books just need to be completed. If one is almost written (like Contract Sealed) or partially done (like Prototype and Bound in Blood) they are not excluded from the count. In fact, completing books should be encouraged!

-Which leads to the second rule. One book a month. That’s it. If I finish Contract Sealed two days into December, I don’t get to write again until January. I can plan the books, scribble a bit, but I’m not allowed to actually start. This has proven in the past to be quite helpful in my production.

-For sanity purpose over the next five months, there is one exception to the one book a month rule: Harvester trilogy. That’s done on my phone during commutes and is sometimes the only way I stay sane. If the trilogy is complete, I’m back to one a month.

-Books still need to be published. Not one a month, but at least a couple next year. The one book a month is supposed to help balance this off.

-By the last day of the month, I will make a post announcing which book I will be working on. Then (in a perfect world) will update every Wednesday on where I currently am in the book.

-Should I run behind, the one book a month bit goes out the window. Because then I have to get two, three, four, done. I may cry mercy, just whip me a couple times to get me back on track.

-These are completed rough drafts. A rough draft doesn’t have to have the completed word count. Fragments went from something like 70k up to 85k words during the first edit. Seed is about 77k and has jumped almost 2k words in the first couple of chapters. But the rough draft does have to be complete. Adding a chapter is one thing, not finishing the last four is not allowed.

-After the completion of a book, if it is done early, I will take two days off in a row. Preferably from both jobs… these are to do with as I please but will likely be playing video games, drinking, and sleeping. You know, normal celebratory stuff. After that it’s back to editing written books.

The rules may end up changing a little bit. This is, after all, the first time I’m doing this kind of a marathon. All told I’m hoping for a word count that’s about 924k words, so about one book shy of a million.

The past year I’ve written… okay, I’ve tried to count it four times and I keep coming up with a different number. A trilogy, a D.o.t.A, Seed, His Grace, Contract Signed… Seven books, I think? Yeah… I feel like I’m forgetting one.

Going from seven books when I had no specific goal in mind, to a planned twelve is not going to be as crazy as it sounds. For me, it’s about finding the right rhythm and keeping that goal in mind, to keep focused. When I’m not focused I get all over the place, and then four things end up getting half-done.