Updates

The site has a new look, at least for the moment. Well, it might be given yet another new look in a few days but I’m not minding this one. I’ve adjusted the menus up top and two new pages for sub-series. The only trouble I’m having is that the older cover images added for Contracted and Wraith’s Rebellion have a weird white border around them. I’ll re-add them later and see if that solves the issue.

I already want to go back to writing Coffee and Blood. I’m kind of thinking about writing Gaia next. We’ve kind of beat out the details, so that’s good. Ish.

I have not done up the timeline yet because I’m trying to figure out how to fit forty-thousand years of human innovation and exploration into forty-two inches of paper. Recall, the closer to modern times you come, the more events and inventions there are. I think in the first twenty-thousand years of Hera’s life the most significant human discovery/change was the domestication of dogs.

Of course, I’m generalizing the timeline. There were lots of stuff happening in there like the recent-ish discovery of stone jewelry, and I’ve read articles about them discovering agriculture as far back as forty thousand years.

I like history and I like myth. My retention of that information is spotty at best but I do love reading and re-reading it.

The past three days or so I’ve been consumed by anxiety. Sitting in my basement room, playing Sims, and basically pouting.

Because I knew I was anxious and that it was holding me back but I couldn’t drag myself out of it. You know, that ‘upset that you’re upset’ feeling.

I updated The Others yesterday and wrote part of a second post for that. At least I got something done. I had trouble sleeping which isn’t necessarily a problem, but as the anxiety has abated some but not entirely, it wore on my for three days, and I didn’t really sleep last night means that this morning I’m mentally exhausted.

It took an hour and a half to put a chapter of At Death’s Door through an edit. But, I did it. I’m going to try to do another when I get home. Then I’m going to make a cover, maybe two. My thought on Wraith’s Rebellion has changed slightly so I have to go looking again. I also need a colour that would go well with the books. I used a red-orange for The Reaping so that’s not an option. I could use the brown that is in the original covers because I had thought of using the original texture too but brown on a cover that’s not completely consumed by an image?

Might look funny.

Barring that, I can start an edit of Crop.

My only trouble at this point is that I want to play Sims but also work. I’ve done that before. It’s very possible. I just need the computer for At Death’s Door because nothing else I have is capable of running my editing programs. Which means I have to be done the edit and covers before I can move on to playing Sims and editing at the same time because only the computer can use the photo editing software.

The more I think about all this, the less I want to do the edits and cover design. Likely, I’m feeling burned out and I haven’t had a new book out in several months and yet have been reading and hearing too much about how you’ll never succeed if you aren’t pumping out books every couple of weeks.

I can keep that pace, if I don’t do editing and covers. At the same time, I’m not a big believer of rushing things to publication before I’m happy with them.

And you can succeed if you don’t publish constantly. And by constantly I mean once every three weeks.

But at the moment I’m in a slump and I’m feeling rather like the world is telling me I’m going to fail. That’s likely linked to the anxiety I’ve been having, as I know I get like this sometimes.

Then one day I wake up and decide the whole world can burn, I roll up my sleeves and get back to work.

I guess this is still linked to the ‘upset you’re upset’ that I’ve been feeling.

I still haven’t gotten around to making covers for sale. It seems the price of them has gone up meaning not only can I not afford them ‘even more’ but also if I was making them, I might be able to afford an editor/cover designer for my books rather than struggling through them finding what’s right for the book I just wrote.

Suppose this ended up half-rant, half-update.

Back to work after the day-job and until school starts. Then writing has to go on the back burner because working and full-time school and the boyfriend.

I don’t have time or money to do all that I want.

And my luck is poop so I can’t even joke about winning the lottery because I’d never win it.

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.

Crop Week Three

Crop is done! I even converted the files over but apparently forgot to check the word count. It’s probably about 66k words, but with autocorrect being labotamized I’ve found it less detrimental to the story to write it all out and then go back for the additional information. This is what I’ve been calling the description edit.

Or, alternatively, getting to the end and realizing you gave no one and nothing descriptions. Like. At all.

Ugh. It’s only been like fourteen manuscripts since I started chastising myself about the descriptions, you know. It totally takes forty before it clues in.

The plus side of such description edits is that I don’t have to stop and backtrack going, “what do these characters look like again?”

It never seems to stick. That’s what happens when you want to pump out stories to get the ideas down before you forget them.

The detail edit also lets me get really into the manuscript and paying attention to details and typos

I finished last Friday and proceeded to take almost three days off to drink wine and play video games. I got bored halfway through day one when I realized my controller didn’t have batteries and I was out and feeling lazy. So I didn’t get to play the games I wanted.

The third day, I set up the wrap for Seed and wrote two chapters of Harvest.

Yesterday, I edited four chapters of His Wings, read five chapters of Fragments, decided to rework the description of Fragments my next day at a computer, updated the Worlds on my website, started plotting Awakened, and began working on the cover for Crop.

Yes, that was all yesterday along with a full shift at the day job.

It seems I was suffering a B12 and D deficiency, both of which can lower energy levels and cause depression on top of my home situation which resulted in me being a lazy bum.

I’m back to myself again!

Except I’m not cleaning my apartment. It’s this whole thing. Landlord thinks I should live in a mouldy home and pay full rent while my ceiling is leaking in three places and I’m kind of hoping the leaks cause an electrical fire and take it all out. But not until I move my stuff out.

And cleaning it never feels clean thanks to the issues in the building. But I’m sure it’ll make good backstory for something.

Awakened is so far the contender for March. Mr. Wrightworth has walked away from Contract Delivered again. But it could be because once it and Contract Gifted are written, the world will be closed. Only because I feel like the stories have been told.

I will be writing Harvest at the same time, on commutes, after I finish a read edit of His Wings.

And I need to pack at some point. Right… much to do, sort of enough time to do it in. Basically, it’s crunch time.

On Organization

When I decided to make my own covers, I moved them and then started getting confused so quickly. It’s nearly impossible to find anything, and I find myself cursing the moron who set it up.

That’s me, still.

I opened At Death’s Door in Paintshop and tried to make the wrap, except I couldn’t because I wasn’t organized. I had no idea where the texture was that I used, the original image is in freaking purgatory it seems, and, oh yeah, I don’t have the template to make the book because At Death’s Door is longer than my other books by a little bit.

The paperback version hasn’t been formatted because I don’t have Microsoft on my desktop.

Microsoft, why in the hell do you sell an operating system without the blood processor? Why does that make sense, in what world?

You money grubbing…

So there goes the small black number I had from my royalties. I was planning on spending that on Paintshop, which is still in the trial phase for me. Instead I will have to pay out of pocket for that, but Beth reassures me that if I keep all the receipts and I use it only for my work, I can write it off at the end of the year.

In the past, I have taken my document from my computer (which has OpenOffice and whose page numbering I can never figure out) to either my laptop (now dead for good) and my tablet (so close to dead I’ve left it at work over the weekend rather than lug it home). So I had to update in order to get the book to do what I wanted.

Which meant that I had to get office to do the format to get the template to do the wrap to get the paperback copy of At Death’s Door. If I had been more organized, I would have done this over the past couple weeks, but nope. No, I did not do those things because I am not a bright person.

I’m going to have to reorganize everything. Files and subfiles and folders and cover work and a sub folder for every step of the way then the completed cover and document in the outer most folder. That’s what I’m going to have to do, and I don’t know how long it’ll take to reorganize the entire thing.

But I also have to go out and buy clothing because the trip to Cuba with Dorian is in a couple of weeks and I have absolutely nothing I’d wear in public. Especially in the swimsuit or fun in the sun style of clothing.

That’s pretty well my entire weekend, and I’m already procrastinating by writing a blog post, go me.

Cover Making

Making a cover has a learning curve. Now, I’m not under the belief that just anyone can sit down and make a nice cover. Unlike formatting, it’s not something that can be explained in a single blog post.

For myself, I have a long history with both graphic design and art. Don’t take that as meaning I’ve gone to school or anything. I worked with photo-manipulation software when I was a teenager. There was nothing else to do and this was in the age where your computer still made sounds as it connected to the internet, and was slow as could be. If you wanted to grab a picture, you had to wait ten minutes to an hour for it to download, my connection sucked that much.

I have, over the years, continued to use photo-editing software in the form of Gimp. Gimp was not what I was raised with and I found myself frustrated over the things that I couldn’t do, or couldn’t figure out. The text box alone…

What I was used to was a pirated copy of either Paintshop Pro, or Photoshop Pro. I had used the good stuff and knew that my trouble with Gimp was the limitations of the software. Though it is free and great for beginners.

As a teenager and into my early twenties, I drew a lot. Except it always came out awkwardly un-balanced. Turns out one of my lenses is crooked or misshapen and without special man-made lenses, my perspective of the world was forever slanted. Isn’t that fun? Especially when you can’t freaking draw with them on because it’s very uncomfortable.

My jobs over the years have involved a great deal of visual balance. This is a requirement for graphic design. If you have no sense of balance, or how to make a piece balanced, something will forever bother the reader who glances over your work.

My most recent job involves colour, measurements, creating designs, and guiding clients through the design choices to create a custom look that suits their needs. In the past three years I have learned more about colour and balance than I thought possible, or that I ever thought I would need.

So, with all that, I had a shitty little monitor and a mouse with some photo-editing software. I found drawing and working with the mouse to be annoying and blocky, like I was making the shapes with my shoulder instead of my wrist.

I grabbed a tablet, just a cheap one, nothing overly fancy.

Still have the shitty little monitor.

Why does the monitor matter? Well, each computer monitor is a bit like a snowflake. The monitor I have now is several years old, has dead pixels all over the place and I swear is getting darker with time.

Creating the cover for At Death’s Door, I thought I did really well, until I got it onto my cell phone, which is a much newer screen, and spotted things which I couldn’t see on my monitor. Things which made it look like a three year old had tried to colour the cover.

I would have caught it, had I actually been able to see the colour problem on my monitor. Once I saw it, and I zoomed in, I could kind of see it, but I still had to use my cell phone as a guide.

Hence the monitor’s new title, “shitty little monitor.” It works great for all things not graphic design.

Even with the proper equipment, this takes time, effort, and practice. Lots of practice. I like the practice, it’s quite invigorating to work on something besides writing and editing constantly. I’m also not playing a game, so I don’t have that guilty voice at the back of my head whining about how I should be working.

After getting a cover done, I step back and think that there was a better, smoother way of doing that thing. I remember for next time. Yes, my first few covers are going to be a little lumpy. Yes, it could be years before I produce the types of things which others would actually pay for.

But that’s actually my end goal with this. Not just to make my own covers, but to sell covers as well. That way, when I get aggravated about writing or editing, I can take a break, do some arts and crafts, and still make money.

I just need the practice.