June progress & July Goals

I think I need to start this post off with: I’m 1000 kicks away from home, and writing this on my cell phone, both of which explain why this post is late. It’s also sort of hard to drop links into a blog post from my phone, so bear with me.

Some progress on one front last month: I re-read Bootstrap_ and sent it for a read by a friend. It’s a bit long in the middle and I need some help cutting–I think if I can figure out about ten to fifteen thousand words to cut, it’ll feel a lot quicker. Right now it stand at 110000.

On fantasy-related novels, I added another ten thou’ to Into The Grey. But guys, I am struggling with that novel. I think it needs another 30 to be complete (to the point I would call the novel complete) and it’s going to be just ridiculously long. I did look up the first Game of Thrones novel, and it was something like 295000 words. It just feels so long! Like I’m slogging through molasses to keep writing… And writing… And writing…

I also had a great idea for one of those short Amazon novellas–you know, the ones with titles like I Married a Merman. Started on that, only 1000 in so far but enjoying it. I think it should be significantly easier to actually finish a draft of than, say, ItG.

Aside from writing, I sold at the Glebe Community Centre in the middle of the month, which was a pretty new experience for me. You really have to put yourself out there to sell in person! I’m not a very chatty person really, so this was stretching new muscles 🤣 I’ve got another book sale in August and I think one every other month sounds about pleasant for me. I might to Ottawa Comic-Con in September but I’m leaning towards no.

JULY GOALS!

  • Bang out the entire draft of The War Lord. I’m only aiming for 50-60k, so this is achievable
  • If I hear back from my beta about where Bootstrap_ drags, think about cutting it
  • Add another 10k to ItG (perpetual goal 😭)

Quiet month this month, goals-wise. I’m on vacation in Nova Scotia right now, which is definitely influencing my sit-down-and-write time. I’d rather play instead 😉

May progress & June goals

I. am. exhausted.

There’s so much going on, this progress report is a week late! Oh well. C’est la vie.

Last month I worked considerably on Into The Grey.. It’s now sitting at about 117k words, and nearly to the end (*of the first novel in what ought to be a trilogy, eventually). Riann is finally, 117k words after we met him, actually going… into the grey 😂

Book sales were OK this month. I also signed up for a couple of in-person events (😲). I’ll be at the Glebe Community Centre on June 19th, and at Lansdowne in August for the Ottawa Book Expo. Preparing for those has taken up a lot of mental bandwidth… I’ve made bookmarks, ordered a Square card reader, ordered 20 copies each of the trilogy (and they are HEAVY), etc. The bookmarks look pretty sweet though.

Just ignore my nail polish

Otherwise it was fairly quiet for writing. Now that Into The Grey is (nearly) first-draft-complete, I’ll be re-reading it to fill in any gaps or weird time skips, then setting that manuscript aside for a while. Not sure what I want to work on next–maybe a revision of Bootstrap_? Or I have a story idea percolating in the back of my mind about Junu and Presio-ru from the trilogy…

GOALS FOR JUNE:

  1. Complete Into The Grey draft one! (‼)
  2. Re-read Bootstrap_ and note anything that wants improving. Tentative release goal for December 2022…?
  3. Sell books at the Glebe Community Centre! I sure hope!

Heft

They’re heavy. Unexpectedly heavy. I didn’t realize that 283,000 words would weigh so much, take up so much space. When you spend hours and days and weeks writing on a phone or a laptop, editing the same way, words are ethereal little bits: Sure, they add up in the word counter, but that’s the only way to measure progress. Now that I have all three paperbacks out I can actually hold them, feel the realness of each and every word.

Just in this series (I mean, the entire Nine Hundred series, not only this trilogy) there’s about five hundred thousand words. How much would that all weigh? If, someday, I published everything–Into the Grey, Bootstrap_, At The Edge Of Our Star, The Spice Merchant’s Wife… It might fill an entire bookshelf. Would I still have more stories to tell? Probably. The more I write, the more I seem to want to write. If I were going to give a new writer one single piece of advice, that would be it. Write every day. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare, it doesn’t even have to be much. But the more you write, the more will come.

I’d like to get all three of those into one hardcover copy one day, but right now Amazon has a page limit of 550, which isn’t enough. I’d like to see Murah and Yuun’s stories there too, and Mattrim and Eli’s. But right now I’m just amazed that imagination can be so heavy. So weirdly real, despite being just a story.

April Progress/May Goals

Have to open with this of course:

Although ack-shu-a-ly April was an amazingly busy month, reading-and-writing-wise. Other than Sacrifice, I:

  • added 11,297 words to Into the Grey (current total; 99,150)
  • started publishing AT THE EDGE OF OUR STAR on Wattpad
  • started trying to build actual engagement with baby steps on Facebook:
Yes I know this is a baby infant goal (a fetus of a goal) but ya gotta start somewhere
  • Ran the giveaway for Identity which ended with 3242 (!) entrants and six winners (copies are on their way!)
    See my evil plan at work to get more reviews muahahaha
  • Adopted this cuddly panther
I guess he doesn’t have much to do with writing, but he is awfully cute

Goals!

  • keep adding to Into the Grey (I would dearly love to manage to add another 30k words this month… 1k per day keeps the, um, doctor away?)
  • work on the hardcopy complete collection of the trilogy (I have this idea of publishing the whole thing as one illustrated hardcover)
  • one chapter per week of At The Edge Of Our Star! I’m enjoying this Wattpad experiment. The daily tag rankings are addictive
  • Keep building engagement on Facebook (can I manage 1000 reach? That would be good!)

Oh, and shoutout to my friend Crow who published her first book in April! Congratulations!

Three days to go!

…until I can finally cross goal numero uno off this list:

Also the trilogy will be done done done. Can you believe it?

Actually, what I can’t believe is that since writing Identity in 2017, I’ve not only completed this trilogy, but added two new prequel stories. For NaNo this year I’ll probably add another one. I can’t get this universe out of my head.

I had the idea the other day that in a few months, I could release all three books as a single, 700-odd page hardcover. With, like, illustrations! It would weigh a ton though… not terribly practical.

I’m glancing over the proof one more time this week, but it looks good (although, randomly skipping through pages, I did notice that I repeated a phrase twice in a paragraph! It’s amazing how that can get through a literal year of review and multiple extra sets of eyes). I’m ready for it to be done. Honestly? I’m less excited than relieved, which might sound weird. But I have been working on this series since 2017, so.

March Progress + April Goals

Haven’t done one of these in a long ol’ while!

Last month was really productive. I mean, just this alone:

Yay. I got through the whole entire thing with purple highlighter + pen (not red pen though: blue pen).

I also started a revision of… The Spice Merchant’s Wife! I haven’t talked much about this project online. Originally drafted for NaNo 2010, this (…and its sequel, and its sequel) has been sitting on my ‘to-edit’ folder for years. What’s it about? Well, on a ~mysterious island~ populated only by women, down-on-her-luck gentlewoman Ciara is forced to marry brash spice merchant Ene despite desperate curiosity to explore beyond the shores. Why are there only women? What happened to the men? Will Ciara like the adventure she’s been hoping for when she finally gets it?

Right now I’m just doing a basic structure-and-grammar edit, because it’s in rusty shape (my first drafts ten years ago were nothing like the first drafts I put out now). I’ve got three about-50k-word manuscripts that I’m probably going to collapse into two parts, and add considerably to (they’re skinny lil things). Of course, that’ll take a bit longer than April, but progress is progress.

Sacrifice now has a release date of May 1. During April, I’m going to give Identity a bit of a facelift–I’ve been working on a slightly updated cover (see below), and I’ll go through again for stray words and general prettiness (and glossary-izing. Identity doesn’t even have a glossary… yet).

As always, I’ll keep puttering around the edges of Into the Grey. This monster now weighs 87 853 words. I’d still like to enhance the third section of it–it’s the least well described, at the moment. I’m thinking this draft is going to end at about 150 000, which is heavy even for high fantasy, unfortunately. There’s just a heck of a plot of plot there, what with Riann, Elisabetta, Damon, Sierra, Morley, the fae, the high court…

Another book, another round of edits

I got the proof copy of Sacrifice in the mail last week, so I’ve been going through it with a highlighter (purple, of course)

Now all of the pages look like that (some better, some worse). It’s amazing how many textual errors there are after I’ve revised after–goodness, six now? revisions. And multiple beta reads!

It feels good though. Once Sacrifice is completed, I’m going to go back and re-review Identity, then this will be… done? The trilogy will be done?!

Oh, that reminds me of my favourite part of Sacrifice:

Veni, vidi, vici

…is definitely how I’m feeling right now. Come Friday, it’ll be probably more like Alas!

Loyalty is now available for pre-order, and not only that, but I’ve actually submitted the manuscript.

And the manuscript for the hardcopy.

Which means both will be available come Friday.

It’s hard to believe I’ve managed to release a second novel in 2021. It’s been a lot of work–like, a lot. I need to thank & thank & thank again my readers, Crow no Yami and my wonderful husband Nic; everyone who listened to me griping about editing and character development in my Writing Buddies chat; and everyone on Twitter who encouraged me and motivated me.

Here we goooo!

Loyalty revisions & progress

So, last month I tentatively set June 30th as the drop date for Loyalty. I don’t know why exactly–but I needed a date to work around, and June 30th was as good as any.

To meet that deadline, I worked backwards: I’d need to send out to ARC readers in late May/early June. I’d need to get it professionally edited (I am not going through self-editing again). I’d need to have the final-final2-final.docx done mid-May for editing. I’d need to complete beta reads early May for revisions.

Well, my 3rd beta reader just completed her read through!

Oh man 🚀

Okay they’re mostly comments, and great comments, like:

and

Ah, joy.

Combining this with my other feedback, I think I have a game plan–add one more Loren scene (seriously, I’ve revised his portions about twice as much as the others!) , add a scene with [redacted] and [redacted], make a couple small additions and changes, and ship it (to editing, anyway). I’m quite certain I can have this done for the end of next week, which keeps me on track for June 30th.

Oh, one more thing I need to do to hit that date: finalize the Sacrifice prologue so I can include it as a preview! That was super fun last time. Right now I suspect it’s a bit too short at only 2400 words.

Since writing the above I’ve added 2000 words to the prologue! Now it might be a tad long…

April wrap-up

I cannot believe it’s the end of April already.

Seriously… what a month. Mostly in personal things–it was an extremely trying month. But! Looking at what I did get accomplished, I’m pretty impressed with myself! The biggest one, of course: condo is sold. Signed, sealed, delivered! It’s off our hands. After three months of reno-ing on the weekends with a three year old trailing along, it’s hard to express what a relief this is. Now we’re looking for a new place and 👻

Anyway, on to the actually pertinent stuff. Y’know, writing!

As you can see from the summary below–this month was focused heavily on two projects: Loyalty (which has moved into beta-reading) and Into the Grey (to which I managed to add 24k words). No real progress on other projects, unfortunately.

PROGRESS in April

DRAFTING/EDITING PROJECTS

  1. Bolfenn: beta reading (no updates. Is it OK to nudge a beta reader if there’s like no progress? I don’t want to irritate anyone but…)
  2. Into the Grey: drafting, 26k/100k target (broke 50k last night!)
  3. Loyalty: alpha reading (beta reading)
  4. Sacrifice: currently at 58k/90k target (no progress this month)

QUERYING PROJECTS

  1. Bootstrap_: Sent three queries:
    1. Another two rejections this month. Also submitted a couple more places.

IN THE SOMEDAY-QUEUE

No updates from last month 😭

  1. Lesbian Island actual title The Spicer’s Wife, historical spec-fic: needs a from-the-ground-up rewrite
  2. Sad Valkyrie, historical fantasy: also needs a from-the-ground-up rewrite
  3. That Sequel to Bolfenn, sci-fi/new-adult
    I am tentatively combining this with another prequel story on the history of the Ala’pr and the Niptae. Combined 5500/100k words.
  4. The Dreamers and the Dying, hard sci-fi: 2300 words, on pause
  5. The Vernacular of the Regency Romance, LGBTQ historical romance, not even started but I this idea so much ugh

And as for goals… it was a pretty successful month!

GOALS for April

Writing

  1. Get all the Loren-POV chapters in Loyalty in their own doc, read this story, and revise so it is a satisfying narrative
    if it’s satisfying or not, I don’t know, but it’s reasonably coherent.
  2. Commission character artwork of Casey+Norah in the Ll’Amh bay and begin offering this as a freebie for physical sales
  3. Add at least another 20k words to Into The Grey
  4. Sell five copies (or complete KENP reads) of Identity
    As of today–four. Sooooo close 😭
  5. Add at least 5k words to Sacrifice
    Haha nope.

Blogging

  1. People liked the post on Print Formatting! So I’ll publish Part Two this month
    Nope.
  2. Collate links and publish the initial Megapost of Online Writing Tools

Social Media

  1. I’d like to increase from 1400ish followers on Twitter to about 2400
    Another close one. I’m at about 2150 right now! 1000 per month was probably a bit too ambitious.
  2. Get another review!
    THREE new reviews. Blasted past this one.