I wrote a thing

I forgot to mention it here earlier, but I had the opportunity to write a guest post for the blog at Holly’s Writing Classes.

Because I’ve been focusing on goals, habits, and tracking, my post was about how to set goals that you can keep. If you’re interested, you can read my post here.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention again that Holly’s classes and community are a big part of why I still write. If you’re interested in learning how to write fiction, I highly recommend looking at her free starter class on flash fiction. (affiliate link)

And then…

Well, here I am. Two and a half months later.

NaNo was a bust. I wrote about 5000 words before tossing my hands up in disgust. I know I should not do these things… a finished terrible story is better than no story at all. sigh

Anyway, so I flaked out for the remainder of November. Plus most of December. This blog ignored Christmas. And New Year’s.

However…

Starting on January first, I have written at least something every day. Not always big. Not always good. But words on the page.

And I’ve already reached “The End” on three short stories so far this year. No kidding.

Two of them are currently marinating and will need revision in order to be fit for public consumption.

The third? It’s a flash-ish fiction (a wee bit over 1000 words) that will be appearing right here for the next Blog Hop on Wednesday, January 31. Woo Hoo!

So, yeah. I wish I hadn’t not done more at the end of 2017. But I’m pretty happy about where I am so far in 2018.

NaNoWriMo 2017

 

Today (November 1) marks the beginning of that month-long insanity known as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.

For the uninitiated, this is a challenge that happens every November to encourage writers to write a 50,000 word novel (or, at least, 50,000 words towards a novel) in 30 days. That sounds like a lot, and it is. But if you make writing a daily habit, that is actually a mere 1667 words per day, and that’s not that bad.

As usual, I’m participating. I nearly always participate. I have yet to actually complete the goal, but I always participate.

This year, I have a plan. I have a story in mind that is fairly well-formed living inside my head. (I really should write some of the details down, but, well, this is me. insert eye roll here) Weirdly, the story I have in mind is not in my usual genre. It’s a real-world, suspense-thriller in the style of something like Girl On A Train or Fatal Attraction.

Weird, right? But I’m running with it because my muse is excited about it. And I can’t help but think that since this isn’t a genre that I’m all that invested in, maybe I won’t get in my own way so much worrying about how terrible it is and actually get some writing done.

Here’s hoping anyway.

If you want to know more about my story… if you want to track my progress… or if you want to play along… come to NaNoWriMo and add me as a buddy! I’d love to see you there. 🙂

I’m really bad at updates…

In my last update I said I was almost done with my collection.

That was true.

I also said I’d update again when it was finished and “out.”

I feel like I should insert the Maury Povich “That Was A Lie” meme here. So I will.

Here’s the whole truth. I finished what needed finishing. I got everything all lovely and formatted in Vellum. I uploaded to Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, D2D, and Smashwords. (Along with uploading my previous titles to everyplace that isn’t Amazon.) Then I found additional errors, fixed them, and re-uploaded.

Twice. sigh

So my book has been widely available pretty much everywhere since the first week of October. And I was out of town for 2 weeks and didn’t actually tell anyone. Oops.

I was on cruise-ship time. That’s my excuse and I’m stickin’ to it.

I thought about scolding myself… Bad Author… but I don’t actually think I’m a bad author. Bad marketer, sure. But I’m pretty happy with I’ve written.

If you want to see if you agree, feel free to pick up a copy of my latest collection, Flashes of Splashes. All the available eBook sales outlets can be found on the Book2Read aggregator.

For those who prefer a print copy, you can buy one from Create Space or Amazon.

Soon. Very soon.

So much has happened since I last updated.

There’ve been fires.

There’ve been earthquakes.

There’ve been hurricanes.

Has anyone checked the volcanoes? I feel like someone should check the volcanoes.

That has been a whole lot of bad news.

The good news is that, while it has taken longer for me to get my act together than I’d hoped, I am finally on the verge of getting my new collection published! Woo hoo!

I’m using 23 of the 26 stories I wrote for this year’s AtoZ blogging challenge. They’ve all been fully edited and polished to a high shine.

Plus, I wrote 3 entirely new stories to replace the ones that weren’t working for me.

Plus, I’m including a couple of stories that previously appeared on this blog that fit the watery theme.

Plus, I wrote 3 additional bonus stories, especially for this collection.

So this collection of flash fiction will be coming in at a whopping 31 stories! That’s one story a day for a month, regardless of the month!

And… I will also be putting out a print version! This will be my first title with a physical copy, so I’m pretty excited.

In conjunction with the new collection going up, I’ll also be posting my 2 previous collections at additional retailers instead of just Amazon. Nothin’ against the ‘Zon, but it hasn’t helped me to be exclusive so I taking the wide-market plunge. As soon as I have links for those, I’ll add them to my book pages. If you’ve been waiting with baited breath to buy on Nook, Kobo, iBooks or elsewhere… first, go brush your teeth. Then watch this space for information on when they’re available.

All these things should be happening within the next week or less. Potentially significantly less.

I’ll post again when it’s all out there.

New Covers, Old Books

I promised a post with the new covers I decided on for my already-published collections. With the new collection coming out I wanted to re-brand these so they look like they belong together.

Feel free to comment–I’ll be making final tweaks and uploading the new covers within the next week or so. I’d love to get your feedback. Let me know what you think!

Here are the original and the new cover for Flashes of Magic.

And here are the original and new covers for New Skin.

 

Cover Poll–Flashes of Splashes

I am finally getting to the “almost done” stage of my new flash fiction collection, and I realize I haven’t mentioned it much here.

It’s mostly based on the stories I wrote in April for the AtoZ Challenge, but everything has been edited and cleaned up, and a few of those stories have been tossed out entirely. The title I finally landed on is Flashes of Splashes, referencing the water theme running throughout the book.

Here’s where I need your help… I’ve been messing with cover designs for about 3 weeks, and I almost can’t think anymore. So, here are 6 covers currently in the running (5 that I like, one I’m less thrilled with). Please indicate which ones you love and/or which ones you hate. What would make you pick up the book? What would make you avoid it entirely and why? Feel free to give your opinions in the comments, or shoot me a private message if you don’t want to leave one publicly. Image names are beneath the images. And I just realized I didn’t update the title style on the Dancer image, so consider the two different title/subtitle styles as options on any of these, if you wish.

To inspire you, I’ll post the final-ish versions of the re-covers for New Skin and Flashes of Magic in another post.

Dancer

Mermaid

Rain Girl

Umbrella Man

Umbrella Bricks

Umbrella Yellow

The Month Ahead – June 2017

May has been a little bit hit and miss as far as getting the things done that I wanted to get done.

I’m actually OK with that. I’ve had a lot of months that were all miss and no hit, so this is actually an improvement.

What I did

I’ve been pretty faithful about keeping up with the reading for the 1000 Day MFA. I’ve taken a day off, here and there. Mostly, like, weekends–though I haven’t even taken every weekend off. I’m at the very beginning of this intentional plan to read more across more genres so I still have lots of time to fall off the wagon, but for now things are looking pretty good.

I haven’t kept up as well with the short story writing. I’ve written one story, and it’s one I need for a collection.

I really want to get back to that and use those stories to restart the weekly fiction posting I was doing on the blog for a while. Stories for the blog will always come second to stories that I intend for publication. But if I can get the juices flowing by writing and posting short pieces here, I believe it will help with my overall word output.

What’s on deck

June is going to get busy for me.

Here’s what I have planned (keeping in mind that by “planned” I mean “I intend to do these things but haven’t created any kind of firm schedule to actually get them done.”)

  • The Water Collection (these are the stories I wrote for AtoZ in April)
    • Write a few “bonus” stories (2 replacement stories–1 of which is done, plus 3-5 originals that have never been seen before)
    • Polishing, editing, and proofreading
    • Cover design and back cover/marketing copy
    • Formatting and publication
  • Advance planning and simple outlining for my July Camp NaNoWriMo project.
  • Return to and complete the revision analysis of my Android story and decide if I’m going to try to revise or if I’d be better off completely redrafting the thing

That doesn’t look like much. On the other hand, it looks overwhelming. Gah!

Even though it looks like a lot of steps, I don’t think I’ll have any problem knocking out the Water collection–it’s the other stuff that has me worried. My biggest issues have always been with outlining and completing longer-format stories. Here I have one that’s begging to be completed, and another one waiting to be told.

I believe I can do it, but it’s going to take a lot of focus. Maybe I need to get brain glasses.

A to Z is over… now what?

Hello, sports fans!

Welcome to May.

Yes, I know May has been going for more than a week now, but April was pretty busy and I took a few extra days to recover.

For those who were playing along, you are already aware that my A to Z challenge was completed with relative success.

I didn’t adore ever single story, but I got them all written, mostly on time. And I’m happy enough with the overall quality that I’m going to publish a collection!

What that means for you is that if you want to reread any of my stories you should do it sooner rather than later. I expect to leave everything up at least through the end of May, but once the collection is ready I’ll be taking down most of the stories here. My Blog Hop story (V is for Vortex) will stay put indefinitely, and I may pick one or two more to remain. I also need to do some rewrite on a couple of them, and I always like to include some bonus material so I need to write a few extra stories too. But I’m hoping to have the collection ready by mid-June at the latest. Watch this space.

Writing Stuff

In other writing news, I’m getting back to work on the revision that fell fallow over the last several weeks. As I think I’ve mentioned before, it is almost certainly going to end up as a complete rewrite. But I’m still taking the whole thing through a complete HTRYN-style revision process to get there. Partly because I want/need to fully understand that process. Partly because what I’ve done of that process so far has really helped me focus on what I think the story will end up being. I want to create a clear enough target that I know for certain that I’ll hit it the second time around. 🙂

I also have another idea percolating in the back of my head. It’s a young-adult-space-opera kind of thing that I worked on for a while and abandoned because I didn’t know what to do with it. But recently I’ve had some new ideas for the story so I want to take another stab and it. I think it will be 3 novella-length shorts, but it may decide to end up as a single, full-length novel. I’ll play that by ear as I’m working on it.

I’d really like to get both those ideas completed and published before the end of the year. It should be more than doable, but will require the kind of focus I employed during the A to Z. Sustained effort! Yikes!

If anyone wants to help, send chocolate! 😉

Moving Forward

In other news (that’s really related, but on a slightly different trajectory), another author has put a challenge out there to do what she is calling the 1000 Day MFA. Basically, it’s a process of intentionally self-educating by consuming lots of content and producing stories on a regular basis. Without the high price tag of a traditional education. Yeah – that’s a plus.

I’m at least tentatively committed to her plan which includes:

Reading/consumption
  • 1 short story, 1 poem, and 1 essay every day
  • watching 3 movies every week
  • reading 1 novel every week
  • reading 1 craft book (writing craft, duh–not arts-and-crafts) every month
  • (my own, personal addition) regularly listening to writing-related podcasts as a means of keeping up with author/writing/publishing news. I regularly listen to:
    • Writing Excuses
    • The Every Day Novelist
    • The Creative Penn Podcast
    • The Self Publishing Podcast
    • The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast
Writing/output
  • write 1 short story (or flash fiction story) every week
  • write 1 novel every year

My personal goals are actually a bit higher, but I don’t have the best track record of meeting my self-imposed goals, so going with these reasonable, doable plans is a good starting point.

Really, the overall goal is to get story and form and language and ideas percolating in my brain. That way, when sitting down to write, interesting things will end up on my page. I was already doing some of this. Joining this public-ish challenge seemed like a reasonable extension of my own personal commitment.

I haven’t quite “officially” started yet. I need to figure out a regular source for poems and essays since those have not been part of my usual intake up to now. This might be as simple as a visit to the library, but I also want to look into online resources. Additionally, I need to set up a tracking system both for what I’m consuming and for what I’m writing. That shouldn’t be too hard, especially since I have a husband who is the king of spreadsheets. But I need to figure out exactly what I intend to track and what I want that to look like.

The other bit I am adding that isn’t part of the “official” process–sharing things here. I want to start posting a weekly review of some kind. I want at least some of my short fiction to be practice in genres that are not my usual fare. And I want to get back in the habit posting weekly fiction or snippets here so y’all can follow along with what I’m doing. I probably also need to improve my blog organization so it’s easier to just get to what you want here. Right now it’s a bit of a mess, as per usual. * insert eye roll here *

Again–none of what I’m proposing should actually be that hard. The tough thing for me is going to be creating the habit.

Wish me luck!

And, like I said, send chocolate!

Sometimes the writer brain rebels

I was supposed to have an “R” story up by now.

I don’t have it written yet.

Don’t think I’m making excuses – I’m totally not. I had every intention of being multiple stories ahead of the publishing schedule for my challenge and I just didn’t quite get there. Instead I’ve been squeaking in barely under the wire (or, in many cases, just past it in the wee hours of the following day). So, yeah. Time management fail.

But today in particular I was running on too little sleep, even after sleeping half the morning. I had an appointment in the afternoon that ate a good portion of my usable day. We had plans with the offspring to celebrate the son-in-law’s birthday tonight. And by the time I sat down to write it was already nearly 11pm.

And I’ve just sat here. Puttered on Facebook a bit. Spent some time on my writers’ forum. All the while trying to decide what I would write for the letter “R.”

Not entirely unlike what I did last night trying to write a story for “Q.”

Except last night I got an idea I liked and cranked out a story relatively quickly.

Tonight it didn’t happen.

So, here it is at half-past tomorrow and I’m going to bed. I’ll write an “R” story tomorrow. And an “S” story, since that’s what’s due tomorrow. And maybe an extra one to get ahead of schedule for the first time this month.

We’ll see how it goes.