A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I feel all SQUEEEEE!!! about this new project

I know, I know.  It's totally not like me to post this frequently.

But I have to share how excited I am about this project I've been working on.  I literally wrote more words last week (over 32k) than I have over the last two months COMBINED.  This makes me very happy on so many levels.  Part of it is the fact that the dreaded Writer's Block is gone (it was more the story I was trying to force out wasn't the right story for the characters, which has obviously been resolved).  Part of it is I feel more like myself again and feel that this story is the right story for me to be working on right now.

You saw a brief snippet of it two posts ago - the interchange between Rachel and Nathan (okay, his name then was NICK but it's since been updated to NATHAN because I like that name better for the character), where she's his psychoanalyst even though she rejects that title and tries to come across as someone casual.  I actually dreamed up that exchange within the last ten minutes or so before actually waking up fully and getting up the same day I posted it here.

I've since gone back and actually sketched out who the characters are, what motivates them, and touched briefly on their world so I know what makes them tick.  Rachel wants to be loved.  She's an outcast from her own people (no, she's not human...maybe I'll explain what she is one of these days).  She's made a sort of family of her own out of fellow outcasts who have been there for her during some of the roughest times in her life, but she wants something more.  Nathan wants justice for his twin, who was murdered when they were children (though everyone claims it was an accidental death).  He also wants to clear his name as the accused serial killer who's been murdering adolescent girls (yes, he's innocent).

I've added side characters, fleshed out the antagonist - the REAL serial killer - and her motivations, and built up the world that Rachel and her entourage inhabit.  I've put limits on the magic, taken away some of the things that made everyone overpowered, and put a touch of insanity into one of the characters who has - up until now - been a perfectly normal if moderately obsessive woman.  I've also combined the worlds of two of my different UF stories because this just works so much better as a part of that world.  This story also gives more depth to the other story*, which will eventually get an overhaul and get written too.

Mostly this slightly inane** babble (it's 1 AM...I don't usually stay up this late***) is just to say "Yay! I have a project I love again and I'm, well, LOVING IT!!!!!"

*If you're curious, the story I've combined this one with is Meg/Magni's story.
**I'm pretty sure I used this word right.  I'm too tired/lazy to go look it up at the moment.
***My insomnia has returned, so be prepared.  You may see more random babbling like this.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why I won't post reviews anymore

Okay, to start I have no clue who this author is.  I've never read any of her books.  To be honest, I never heard of her before this.  I don't read these kinds of books normally, and now she's made it so I don't want to read hers at all.

Not posting the name, but read the article from this reviewer
Here's the blog post that got me started tracking down information on this author's antics
Some good advice to any author

Now, for a more general view on the situation.

You have to be a Goodreads member to read this, but here's an interesting forum discussion on the whole "Authors Behaving Badly" situation
This blogger gives us a list of authors, and some links to follow with advice for authors
Shannon Mayer gives excellent advice on what to do with negative reviews

Okay, people.  First off, we're adults.  Let's act like them instead of acting like a bunch of high school kids out to bully the people who "aren't like us".  We shouldn't be acting like spoiled little brats who have been told we have to share our favorite toys.  Um, hello?  We're authors?  We're SUPPOSED to put our "toys" (or babies...or most precious possessions EVER) out there for people to play with.  We're inviting them into our world.

And not everyone's going to like our works.

It's okay.  Not everyone likes the same things.  The thing is to realize this before you ever hit that "publish" button if you're self-published or before you sign your contract if you're going the traditional publishing route. You have to understand and accept that there are going to be negative reviews on your darlings.  You do NOT have the right to instigate flame wars, stalking, and cyber bullying just because you can't get a grip on the fact that you are not going to appeal to all people in all parts of the world all of the time.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm going to cry, scream, shriek, and throw a tantrum when (notice I didn't say IF) my darlings get the negative reviews.  But I won't do it online.  I'll do it in private, to Himself.  I'll write about it in my private journal (the paper one I don't let anyone see).  And then I'll dry my eyes, sit down at the computer and do what Shannon suggests - I'll write another book.  My fans will buy my books and that's all that matters.

Now, this is a shout out to reviewers: keep your reviews about the books.  Don't make it a personal vendetta against the author because they looked at you cross-eyed once back in high school, or unfollowed you on Twitter, or won't follow you on Facebook, or you don't like their author picture because you think it makes them look ugly, or...or...or....  You get the idea.

That's tacky, rude, and hurts you as much as it can hurt the author.  You weaken your own position on other books you've reviewed with personal attacks against an author.  It makes people question if you're giving negative reviews because you have a vendetta against the author instead of actually reading the book and having a constructive thought on how to make it better.

Also, reviewers, if an author does go nuts on your review, don't have your friends jump in to defend you or start stalking/cyber bullying the author and their fans.  That just reinforces their poor opinion of you.

Fans of authors, don't jump on the bandwagon.  If your favorite author jumps to social media to mock the negative reviews, don't immediately go to their defense.  The term "rabid" comes to mind when things like that happen.  My sincere hope is that any fans of my writing - once the books are published - will respect my wishes on this and NOT leap to my defense on negative reviews.  I don't want the help, folks.  I'm a big girl. I'll handle it privately and then I'll go back to writing more books for you to love.

But as a result of this, I'm not going to post reviews of books anymore.  I refuse to publish only 4 or 5 star reviews.  If I don't like a book, I want the freedom to say why I didn't like it.  I want that freedom without the fear of being harassed, stalked, or threatened for posting something that isn't the happy-happy/joy-joy review of somebody's favorite author.  I've already been stalked and cyber bullied once online.  I don't care to repeat the experience.

That's also why I refuse to give support to groups who support those people who are in favor of actions like I've illustrated above where authors and fans have gone off the deep end.  Don't ask for me to retweet you.  Don't ask me to showcase something you're doing on my blog.  It won't happen.

There are a few authors who I will still review for, but only because we're long time friends and I KNOW that if I say there's something wrong with the book, they won't jump on me and ask me why I'm being so mean to them.  They will understand that it's not personal.  I just didn't like something about the book.  I also know that, for the most part, they've got reasonable fans who won't get all rabid on me if I say something that some of them disagree with.  They may come and tell me why they disagree with me, but it'll be reasonable discourse and not the flame wars, trolling, cyber bullying and stalking that goes on in some of these cases.


*climbs off soapbox*

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Life update and a random bit from one of my WIPs for your amusement

Hi all!

As you all know, I should be at work and doing 14 hour days.  Instead I'm at home taking care of a sick Himself.  He's getting better but he's still not up to moving around much.  So I'm hanging out at home (hooray to my awesome boss who got me 4 days off through my remaining vacation days so I get the time off AND get paid), cooking and cleaning and generally just hanging out while he sleeps.  The medication is good for knocking his butt out so I don't have to listen to the whining that he doesn't feel good.

To be fair, Himself rarely ever gets sick.  When he does, oh damn does this man get sick.  It used to be we'd have about a week a year where he was sick but still functional.  As we both get older, it's getting worse.  This is the first time he's been seriously this sick during the summer AND to this degree.  Usually he saves his worst sickness for December, like I do for mine in January.  This past year has been one of multiple medical emergencies.

However, he's getting better and I'll be back to work on Saturday.  I'm grateful to my dad who has helped us out this week with the medications since I have no money until Friday.

So...I've been having a lot of writing time.  And one of my projects has really taken off.  It's not one that's listed on the blog post that lists my projects.  If I keep adding to it, that thing is going to be monstrous.  But I do have a fun new character I'm loving.

This is just a sample of what's going on in the story.  You want more details?  Ask!  I'll be glad to share a few more hints about this project.


Rachel smirked as Nick stared at her.  The tight pants, corset top, and high heeled boots made her look very different from anyone's idea of a psychiatrist.  "So, are you my new therapist?" Nick asked.

"Actually, I'm a bartender," Rachel said, grinning as she sat down.

Nick smirked.  "A bartender?"

Rachel waved one hand dismissively.  "Budget cuts.  Do you know how expensive an actual psychoanalyst is?  Since I get paid shit to listen to people's problems anyway, they decided to bring me in instead to see if I could get you to spill your guts."

Nick snorted.  "So do I get the attendant alcohol with this analysis?"

Rachel shrugged.  "Sorry, government facility.  No alcohol allowed."

"So what makes you think I'm going to talk to you?" Nick asked, leaning back as best he could in the chair he was shackled to.

Rachel leaned forward.  "Well, you can talk to me or you can go back to solitary confinement with only your shadow for a conversation companion.  Which would you prefer?"

Nick tilted his head to one side.  "So, do you want to hear about my horrible childhood?  Or how I have daddy issues?"

Rachel sat up.  "Let's start with the childhood.  I'm a sucker for hard luck cases."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Overtime is a Muse Killer


Keeping it short this week, folks.

I'm working overtime.  Why, you may ask, am I torturing myself like this?  I like money.  I have bills.  And until they recently opened up the overtime, I have had a distinct lack of the former to pay the latter.

So I'm at the day job from 8 am to 10 pm during the week (Mon-Thur) and 7:30 am to 8:00 pm on Sat.  I do have a short break between the overtime and the start of my regular shift on the weekdays, so I've made it a goal to write 100 words a day during that time.  That gives me something to do creatively to keep the spark going.

I have hopes that this will keep me writing even as I grab up every extra hour I feel I can safely work.  I will be doing this until Himself starts getting paid/gets a paying gig/finds a part time job.  For all intents and purposes, my overtime is my second job.

My writing is my (as yet unpaid) third job.

Wish me luck!

And good luck to everyone with their own writing pursuits over the next week.  May we all reach our goals and have a great deal of success over the coming days.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Writer's Block, Writing Accountability, and World Building...Again

In #storycraft today, we were talking about Writer's Block, accountability, motivation, and what all that means.  If you're curious about what was said, go look up the hashtag on Twitter.  I'm not going to go into all of the wonderful dialogue we got into during the chat.  It was a great chat.

One of the things I brought up is something Himself (my husband, for new blog readers) made for me.  It's an accountability worksheet for my writing.  *points up to the picture* Officially, it's a word count tracker.  This is my August tracking sheet.  Yes, I know.  The 1st-4th aren't on there.  I pretty much did very little writing on those days, which annoyed him.  Which is why he made me my accountability tracker.  This way I can see how I'm doing, how each month progresses, and how I compare to other months.  He's also added a little pep talk (the 'YAY') and a reminder ('Do Better') for those days when I'm not having as good a day.  It's an awesome new tool and I like it.

I had to stop and think about what writer's block is.  The way I see it is there's two kinds of bad writing days - block and laziness.  Laziness is not writing even though you know you should, you have an idea, but you just don't feel like sitting down and doing it.  I know we all have those days where we just don't want to do it.  I've had a few of those days recently.

Then there are those days where we sit down and the words don't come.  Those are the days where the block comes in.  I've had quite a few of those days lately too.  One thing we need to remember about the block, though.  It may not be because the words aren't there.  It may be because the words aren't RIGHT.  Whatever you're working on, if you're blocked on it, may have something that needs to be changed.  It can be a red flag that what you're working on isn't flowing right because there's something missing.

Last night, Himself and I were hashing out some things regarding Aleran.  He's one of the best for bouncing ideas off that I have.  I was talking about how the continent of Vassa is set up and he very bluntly told me, "That's not going to work.  You've effectively cut off Lytharia from the rest of the continent."  Of course I was a little annoyed.  I mean, I've been building this damn world for 20 years.  I'm the author.  It's up to me to decide how my world works, right?

Well, after looking at what he'd sketched out for me about what he understood the land looked like versus what I told him it looked like, I had to eat crow and apologize for getting annoyed with him.  He was right.  I had managed to screw up my geography.  I suppose part of the problem was I was never a very good student of geography when I was in school.

The long and the short of it is...it's back to the drawing board AGAIN for world building, though not quite as extensively as I've been doing.  I just need to tweak a few things now that I've gotten the actual world issues resolved.  I also realized one of the reasons I was suffering from a major writer's block on one of my WIPs was because of the issue with the geography.  I also realized that the society as I had it wasn't working and had a major breakthrough with the block on that point as well.  I've changed the political structure of two of my kingdoms.  This means I've got some rewriting to do, but it's worth it to finally be free of the block that's been plaguing me for a while.

I am very excited to begin my quest for MORE WORDS with my new tracker and my new perception of Vassa.  Looking forward to making a lot of progress on these stories now.  It'll also mean some rewrites on ONLY A NAME and CRACKED WORLD (major rewrites on CRACKED WORLD, actually) but it'll all be worth it if the world fits together even better.