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 Three (Day Two

Writing First:

… just drew a total blank.

Uh, right, I finished reading Contract Claimed last night. When I started reading it, I thought it was complete. That is not the case. As I hit that area, I had this flash of a promise I had made to Mr. Wrightworth to go back and expand. The book was originally written for NaNoWriMo 2018, it was the start of my 12-in-12 challenge. Halfway through, I realized my issue, but also that if I didn’t get something down, I’d lose the thread.

So, I’ve got a nice flow and then all of a sudden something like two books got mushed into the later half of Contract Claimed. The plan is now to fix that.

Nate’s story will be the second trilogy out of Contracted, still slated for editing next June or so. Then, once it’s scheduled for editing, I will do additions and the like for Will’s story. I’ll revisit Contract Gifted at some point and expand on that as I had originally planned. Once all that is written and done, Mr. Wrightworth might consider a one-off to wrap up the series (or at least those characters) where his name is finally revealed on the last page of the book.

Because I’m evil, or he is, your choice.

My beta is about a hundred pages into Harvest  and asked if there’s actual sex in the books at all.

Uh oh. We realized I added it during the edits. But, admittedly, Coffee and Blood tends to have less sex than most of my other books.

Possibly because I’m on a bit of a theme, after her comment, a sadist from the old Devil faction appeared and offered to seduce half the Eastern shore of the North American continent.

I should be putting edits into Crop, but my mental health is in the way again. This isn’t even a part I could hire out for. I need to take each edit out of context, judge it, perform the edit, do a check, then decide if the new way even looks good.

Then do a scanned spot check of the surrounding area to see if anything else jumps out at me.

Other stuff:

I spent the trip to school fantasizing about going onto stress leave from work. It’s my understanding doing so qualifies me for Unemployment Insurance. Or maybe it’s employment. I don’t recall, because I’ve never used it before.

What I’ve heard is that if I go on stress leave, tell them I chose to go back to school because I knew work was stressing me out, they might even help pay for the schooling. There’s a special name for it, but they basically help you get the training you need to get a job and get off of their services.

Except, for that to work, I would need to explain to them the situation with my co-worker. She’s the reason I chose to go back to school. She’s also the reason I applied for my manager position, because I had to get as far away from her as possible, even though I knew I would be going back to school.

There’s a, uh, a worksafe program, that might actually be their name. When you report that kind of thing, they do a full on investigation. The company can be fined, the boss could get in trouble.

It’s not her fault. She’s been trying to correct the behaviour. And I don’t really want the company to be fined. Their handbook covers the topic quite well. It could mean termination for the one involved.

I’m not the type to derive any sort of joy from that. I want this person to change and to stop hurting people. If that all happened? She would be bitter and angry and nothing good would come of it.

I’d much rather the ability to go on stress leave and for her to put her nose into the air like she does and say, “I knew it. She was never cut out to be a manager.”

Nine and a half years experience managing for this company in like six different positions.

It’s those little details that really explain my reaction. I don’t just have so much experience with this company. I have moved between different stores and learned different management styles. Different customer bases. Different ways to approach things. I learned that my way does not necessarily always work. I’ve learned the company’s way… typically works.

I’d just like them to stop cutting hours and to add more back in.

It’s… I’m tired of fighting her.

I had trouble talking myself into bed last night. Anxiety hit me like crazy hard and I don’t understand why. I don’t work with her today. I don’t even work. I don’t see her until Thursday and even that is in passing, is my understanding.

This morning, despite dragging my protesting self to bed at nine, I’m more tired than I was last night. I hurt more, probably because I woke tense. I keep giving myself these weird charlie horses in my sleep because I’m so tense during sleep.

My stomach is still on lock down. I never want to eat, having difficulty downing my coffee or talking myself into water. I’ve got this feeling a physical beating is coming and I just want to get it over with already.

Which, admittedly, is probably why I’m a little more focused on Mr. Wrightworth than I should be.

I don’t know. Maybe I should take the time to write that Master-child scene between Kaz and Balor that started playing through my head. It’s only about a chapter long though, so what do I… How do I handle it when it’s done?

Can’t just slap that into the box set, when it comes out, people would expect an extra bit to be Ashley and Kaz.

Admittedly, I could write that as well, but Kaz is super gentle and sweet with Ashley. He’s always had a soft spot for women. Always nicer with them than the men.

So, let’s say I wrote the Kaz and Balor chapter(s) for the sake of my sanity. Then what?

Then what… start an erotica anthology and just talk about these stories I’m writing but never publishing? I think Amazon allows 10k + words. I think. But would that dilute the world? Would those who like the vampires feel like I was pushing the issue, even though Kaz has had Balor tied to that bed on and off for a year?

I don’t know what to do.

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 One

Keyboarding properly might just kill me. The goal they set out is simple: 30wpm, no more than two errors.

I can do 55 or so a minute as shown with Hera (doing 10k words in three hours, my calculator tells me that’s only 55 a minute. Seriously?) But the errors, oh, the errors!

The instructor said in the past she has disabled the backspace key (oh… gods) but this year didn’t. To which my mind went YES! And then that little voice in the back of my head went, “how much faster can you write a book if you actually typed accurately?” To which I, being the proud writer that I am, threw them off a cliff.

And began taking the tests and doing the exercises without the use of the backspace.

The instructor has a point. When something is there, we rely on it to help us out, but we need to learn to do things when it’s not there. At the same time, the voice at the back of my mind has a point. My old laptop has one broken key. The backspace key. Yeah, I used it way too much.

The thing is. My fingers go, “we can be so much faster,” and I don’t have music to drown things out. The woman who sits next to me keyboards properly, learned it in high school and a lot more recently than I have. Her wpm are something like 35 and I can hear her typing and it’s like a drug or something.

Mm, give me some of that clickety-clack.

Then there’s a couple of issues. Stories on the go for writing? None… editing is Crop and Harvest, but I always have something writing. I’m still planning out the new Coffee and Blood trilogy. That should be enough. But it’s like I hear the clacking of keys and all my characters start jumping up and down and going, “me, me, me!”

And Shade, who I’m supposed to be using to practice good keyboarding? Well, he rolled over and went back to sleep in his cell. Thanks, Shade. I no longer feel bad about what I’m about to do to you. How do you become an immortal, feared monster hunter if you’re a lazy bum?

The issue I’m having seems to be that all my stories want some help, they want my attention thinking that I’m in between projects, and I’m not. The other issue is that every time a story pops up, the voice at the back of my mind immediately dismisses it because I don’t want to devote that kind of attention to the plot. I don’t think I could manage to pay so much attention. So there is Savage Shores, all… five? Of the D.o.t.A books I have planned out, two for Coffee and Blood planned out, even Shade.

But the only one that has stuck around and maybe I could work on is mainly erotica, working title Bound by Blood, a book I started working on three years ago and never finished because it wound up more novella length and I didn’t like that.

I need to figure this out because the stories have to stop bothering me. Without being able to write, which would distract me, I’ve been flickering between webpages and OneNote. I’m almost certain the person beside me has caught on and watches but all we’re learning this semester are things I have a basic understanding of. By doing the back and forth, I’m stopping myself from becoming frustrated or winding up in circles. If that happens, I’m going to start writing and that’s not great for me.

Besides keyboarding, the other thing I might have trouble with is Interpersonal Communication. Yeah, soft skills. Boo.

Work has also taught me this over the years. It basically amounts to customer service and not being a dick. Easy, right? Sort of…

I have training in interpersonal communication, in difficult conversations, training and retraining and all sorts. That doesn’t mean I’ve ever been comfortable with the level of talking I give others, if that makes sense. So, I could very much learn from this course but it’s main time is Friday afternoons. Day three of three long days and at two-thirty on Friday my brain completely checked out. I lost about twenty minutes of the lecture and only really came to as I was leaving and the instructor said goodbye and wished me a good weekend. She’s such a cheery woman that it stuck out.

I basically went to work and proceeded to beat my head on the wall because that is not how interpersonal communication works.

Do you want a good job, Aya? Because this is not how you get a good job.

Math, accounting, and writing round out the semester. Math I can do, it’s only covering twelve years of math in one semester, how hard could it be? It goes so far as fractions and long division, maybe some algebra I think he said. I can do that. I do that while at work to fill the time. Figure out total new income from raises, percentages on sales, and hours, etc.

I like math, I suppose is what I mean.

Accounting, work has also had me do. Not quite the way they’re teaching us, but I kind of have a basic understanding. I’ve also been doing this for my writing but it seems not quite correctly. Everything’s recorded, it’d just be hell to go through for any poor soul who has to audit me. So I’m going to start doing that properly which is great practice for accounting.

Oh, and computer skills. I apparently skimmed over what the first chapter said. Stupid. Once I hit the questions, I knew I had a problem so I need to review it again.

For homework, I’ve done most of it on breaks or between school and work. But those periods were actually reserved for self-review last week. I went over extra information. Going through chapters and writing up notes on it, reading old notes, doing exercises. Whatever I can do to stay on top.

They told us several times that in the end your grades don’t matter and I fully understand and believe that. I could probably pass on what I know already, but then why even bother taking the semester? If I can refine skills I already have, I would be very happy. And for some reason I can’t just leave off at what the instructor gives us. I need to know I have an understanding of the information before me. It’s been that way for years.

Maybe because work has, for years, thrown new information at me and had me train others. After so long it’s almost impossible to just leave off. So I’m making more work for myself now, but I also feel a little more confident in my skills which means less nerves and the ability to pay attention more because I’m not concerned with that failing grade. I’ve only ever received below 60% on one course so… I mean, statistically it’s almost impossible for me to fail.

That doesn’t mean I’m just going to lean back and laze through the semester though.

My notes are going through OneNote, which has been fabulous so far. I access it on my phone, on my computers, and all the rest. Because I do most of the notes on my laptop, I don’t have to worry about a connection to the internet to access them when I’m out and about. Typically I am accessing them on the  laptop.

The only issue I have is writing. She wants us to hand write/print it all. No computers. Me and my arthritis are not pleased but I get that we do need practice hand writing things because we will have to write notes. With those, I simply take pictures at the end of class and upload them to OneNote.

Tada. All my things on one place and organized by subject, then by date/chapter. Gone are the days of flipping through things searching for something specific and I love it to bits. I’m sure there are other programs that do the same, it’s the concept I love, I’ve wanted that inter-connectivity since being in high school and losing my first usb drive. I still have to back up onto drives because clouds could vanish or be hacked. I’m just not worth the effort of trying to get in there, so… so far I’ll be fine.

The only issue I really have is wanting to quit work. I want my work and income to be purely from writing but it definitely does not offer enough to do that.

Suppose this is where I put on the weepy author eyes and say, “please buy my books and leave a nice review when you’re done.” but I’m sure it will come with due time. For now, I have to accept the situation I’m in.

Unless I can buy the winning lottery ticket, but I’m not spending money on that without some kind of incentive.

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.