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.

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.

May – Prototype

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

Balls.

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

Balls.

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

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

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

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

Damn it.

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

Poop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contract Delivered Week 4

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

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

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

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

I said as I shuddered.

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

Come join me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Six books down, six to go.

Contract Delivered Week Three

Oh. My. God. I have so much time on my hands.

My routine at the moment is get up, straighten up, write my chapter over coffee. I’m writing a chapter a day and it seems to be working on driving me forward because it’s come down to about two hours to do the writing.

Then I switch over to Seed. Removing ‘was’ as much as possible. I’ve cut down about a third of them. Some are necessary, some are in dialogue and people can talk however they please so I leave it.

At the end of this year, I’m going to have so much editing to do. So much. Editing for years to come.

But I gotta get those books out and get a proper income coming in because I am loving this.

Know what I did last night? I played a video game guilt free. Spent a couple of hours away from the computer. Guilt free!

This only having one job thing could work out really well for me. If I can get the income necessary.

I still have lots of time to finish Contract Delivered. I’ve started looking at Prototype to see how I can make it work. My problem was too many characters and that was just stupid. I’ve cut them all from the book, basically. They’re still there. They still exist, they just don’t appear in the first book of the series.

Then I need to have a villain that is clearly a villain. I got this, basically.

I’m about halfway through this edit of Seed. I’ve started working that into Contract Delivered, the removal of was, I mean. It’ll probably take a while to really start to see it. Once I’m through that edit, I’ll resubmit it to my editing program for analysis and it will tell me I’m still a moron and I need to remove sixteen other words… I’ll probably cry a little, but then do it. Then at least one read edit. Maybe two.

Then I get to do the same thing with Crop, but at least I haven’t started the first edit yet, so it’ll be easier to fix.

Oh, and I might, maybe, have the time to do it!

About… 36k words on Contract Delivered. It’ll be one of the shorter first drafts that I’ve written, but that’s okay. I feel like it’ll require fewer re-writes than Contract Sealed.

Contract Delivered Week 1/2

I missed an update, darn it. I keep doing this. But my updates were Wednesdays on the bus to work, but the schedule was all kinds of played with over the past couple of months.

Oh, and last week I moved. I keep going from super stressed out to glad it’s over. I’m being a responsible adult and not getting a cell phone until I can actually afford it.

So every couple of hours I feel like shouting somewhere, “BUY MY BOOKS.”

Yes, I have a day-job but it’s part-time instead of full-time. I get anxious when not financially set.

I am getting settled. I need to set up a routine for work. It used to be just whenever I was alone or at a computer. Circumstances are a little different now.

I need to complete my last six 12-in-12 challenges and I’m kind of on track for that. Got a little lost from Contract Delivered over the move but that’s always been a trilogy that I have to be in a certain mood for and I’m more of thinking ‘urban fantasy.’

I might do Prototype next month.

While I’ve had a little struggle, it is now moving again. Chapter seven is written and there are about twenty chapters total with bits and pieces planned out. The second trilogy doesn’t necessarily have a bad guy. Unless you count time. My rough drafts likely have the time off, but I can fix that afterward. I wanted to start editing right away but I need my big pad of paper and that’s two weeks out.

For now, I have a little bit of a plan.

Except because I’m not in the mood for that, I’m actually more interested in putting Seed through another edit. In doing up some covers, maybe. Re-working the description of Contract Gifted so it sounds more stand alone-ish.

I wanna do all the things.

Except write.

I’ve chosen to write one chapter a day and see how I feel. That’ll take me to the end of April, which is cutting it close but at some point I’m going to write more in a day. It’s just this way, I can write a chapter and then do whatever else I please. A chapter can take as little as a half hour, or as much as… eight hours. If I drag my feet and update the website instead of actually doing the work.

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.