Scheduling Time for Writing

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Hello all

I hope you’re all well – I have Covid, and it’s very unpleasant. 0/10 would not recommend. Because I have a lot of time on my hands due to quarantine, I decided to write a blog post.

My topic today is scheduling time to write. I am the type of person who is not only very disorganized but has very little free time. Because I’m fairly scatter-brained naturally, I have to organize myself really strictly. Thus comes into play my three (3!!!) different calendars to keep me organized. I have a week/day calendar to schedule daily tasks, a planner for deadlines and important dates, and a smartphone calendar to beep at me and remind me about appointments. Believe it or not, I STILL miss appointments sometimes.

Why do I bring this up? Because without a strict schedule, I would never have time to write. I would always put writing on the back burner and say that I don’t have time. I schedule myself time to write so that I don’t have that excuse. It doesn’t always work, just as a warning for people who have similar issues with disorganization. But it does help! I have done more writing since I started scheduling it than before I did that.

Right now, I don’t write everyday. I have myself scheduled in for twice a week right now for a total of maybe three hours a week. But it’s something! I’m working on it. Trying to schedule creative writing around academic writing is hard. One of these days I will write a post about the differences between academic and creative writing, since I do both.

Yes, I know. Scheduling is boring. But if you’re having trouble “finding time” to write, then sometimes you literally have to schedule it into your calendar. I hope this helps some people with their writing habits!

Best wishes to you all!

Alex

Surfacing Progress Pt 1

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Hello all

I’m here to introduce you to my new project! I have started writing again, this time on a new work that I’ve tentatively titled “Surfacing.” What is this new project about?

It’s a post-dystopian novella about a society far in Earth’s future. The world has already gone through the apocalyptic end-of-days and a new society has formed in the safety of the underground tunnels underneath the surface of the Earth. No one has gone to the surface of Earth in a thousand years.

But it’s time – or, at least, that’s what Tyne Airington has to say on the matter. He wants to explore the surface and take the rest of humanity upwards and onwards into the future. Who knows what amazing discoveries await them?

But there are those who oppose the ideas of the Surfacers. The Anti-Surfacing Society (yes, we know its acronym spells ASS) led by Tircel Dunworthy wants to halt progress to the surface and to stay safe underground. Tircel insists that he doesn’t want to harm anybody, even if it means his motion to remain underground is defeated, but what about the splinter group of the Anti-Surfacers that is hell-bent on stopping Tyne and his party no matter what? Does Tircel know anything? Who is trying to sabotage their plans for resurfacing? And what does the Earth have to say on the matter?

That’s the premise of my latest work, and I hope you’ll follow along and see where it goes.

See you next time!

Alex

Making a Comeback

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Hello everyone

It’s been a while. And I mean… a while. I haven’t posted or written anything since I published Weekend Girl and Far Patrol in 2021. Part of that reason was severe burnout, and part of that was the lackluster response to both of my recent publications. I must say that even though I didn’t expect too much from either of these publications, how badly they tanked was really demoralizing. I suppose part of that is my fault for not promoting them more, but like I said: burnout.

On the other hand, I’m doing great work at finishing my PhD. I just passed my candidacy exams and am starting work on my dissertation. I also have a possible three (!!!) academic publications coming this year. You’re asking why I was burned out, it’s likely because PhD work is hard.

However, I gotta be honest. Finding the willpower to write more after the bad reception to two of my books was pretty much impossible, especially when compared to my academic successes. These two books meant a lot to me for different reasons, and while I sort of understand how niche they are, I also feel like it wasn’t worth it to put so much work into them to have them undersell so badly. And I guess I expected that I would have actually improved in my creative writing and gotten better at marketing. However, my very very first novella (which was kind of awful btw) definitely did better in the market than Weekend Girl or Far Patrol.

Anyway, away from the negative and on to the positive. I want to try and get back to writing because I miss it, even though I still feel mistrustful of the market. I really love creative writing, and one day maybe I will be able to make a proper career of it. So I am getting back in the game and writing once more, although it might be a while before you see the results.

I’ve decided not to work on either the sequel to Far Patrol or the sequel to Weekend Girl until further notice, and I may not work on them for a long time. Still dusting off my bruises here, and would like to recover further from the situation before I start writing on them again. But I am writing on something again and will be trying to find a good home for my next works.

More news on that next time!

Best,

Alex

Far Patrol Pre-release Day

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Hello everyone!

I’m happy to introduce you to a novel that has been years in the writing, revising, editing, and publishing. Far Patrol is finally here!

Cover by Natasha Snow

Far Patrol is a literary novel about dragons and political upheaval. I originally wrote this novel when I was in the hospital for mental health problems, and I won NaNoWriMo 2015 with this novel. As you can see, it took years for me to get up the energy to get it published. I hope you all enjoy the book!

Official Blurb:

Will war tear their family and their country apart?

Ignius Lockden and their companion Kathely are ready for adventure. Joining Far Patrol was only going to be the beginning—they were right, but in all the wrong ways. Suddenly, there’s a war on the horizon and the two of them are stuck in the middle. Ignius wants to do what’s right, but it isn’t easy to tell what actions will lead to the correct ending. How is one young dragon supposed to change the course of history?

Literary/Genre Novel

Non-explicit sexual content

Ace/aro character

BUY LINK

Weekend Girl Release Day!!!

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Hello everyone,

It is time! I am so proud of this work and I am happy to be able to present you all with Weekend Girl, a contemporary romance that takes place in Vancouver, Canada. This novel is my first with a genderfluid main character.

This is the official blurb:

Ashley Kingston is a genderfluid university student with a major crush on attractive and charming Nolan. He seems just too perfect to be true. What happens when Ash meets Nolan while dressed as both a man, and a woman? And even more confusing, what happens when Nolan seems enamoured of both versions of Ash? A twisty-turny romance filled with fun and shenanigans.

Nbi/M pairing, explicit content, TW: transphobia

If you like this novel, please review it! It would mean a lot to me.

Writing Contemporary Romance

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As some of you may be aware, Weekend Girl is my very first contemporary romance novel. I am usually a science fiction and fantasy writer, and while I love the genres of SFF, this story was definitely a contemporary romance.

As a person who loves SFF, I can honestly say that the reason I’m drawn to these genres is the world-building I get to do. I love creating new worlds with different systems of government, economics, and culture. Often, I like the sense of adventure that comes with building these places.

So why did I choose to write a contemporary romance?

I could have given Ash magic, or had it set in some dystopian future. But this story was about the romance and only the romance. A lot of my other stories have elements of uprising and rebellion in them. However, Weekend Girl is not really about politics – other than being about a trans protagonist. I wanted to focus on the romance for this story because non-binary people deserve to be able to have a story about just romance without also having to partake in an anti-establishment uprising.

Maybe in another story I will have a genderqueer protagonist fight the powers-that-be. But in this one, the story revolves around Ash and their own problems and adventures. They get to be the star in this meet-cute romance with charming Nolan. I’m really looking forward to hearing about what readers think of my very first contemporary romance. It is, after all, not my forte!

Look for Weekend Girl on the Ninestar Press website. Release date is June 21!

Weekend Girl Cover

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It’s here, folks! I have the cover for my upcoming novel Weekend Girl, being released with Ninestar Press on June 21, 2021.

I’ve been waiting to release the cover, and I’m so excited to start telling you about the novel itself. It’s on the Coming Soon page at Ninestar Press, so it’s official now!

Soon, I hope to introduce you all the characters, setting, and what it’s like for a SFF writer to write contemporary romance!

Here’s the official blurb:

Ashley Kingston is a genderfluid university student with a major crush on attractive and charming Nolan. He seems just too perfect to be true. What happens when Ash meets Nolan while dressed as both a man, and a woman? And even more confusing, what happens when Nolan seems enamoured of both versions of Ash? A twisty-turny romance filled with fun and shenanigans.

It’s my first novel with a genderfluid MC, so it’s extra exciting for me!

Tune in for more later!

PREORDER LINK

To Plan or Not to Plan?

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Writing is tough. That’s really obvious to anyone who’s ever had to write anything ever. Writers everywhere have different styles of writing and of planning out their writing. A lot of writers tend to fall into two main camps: architects and gardeners.

What is an architect-style writer versus a gardener-type writer, you may ask.

An architect-style writer will basically plan their writing as best they can before they start writing. I tend to be more of an architect style writer. I come up with an idea and then I try and plot out what happens. Depending on the writer, the outline or planning stage may differ. Some writers will make a point-by-point list-style outline. Some people will brainstorm or mindmap their ideas. Some writers will do freewriting exercises to get their ideas down and then organize them. Some writers will plan out each scene’s purpose and create character arcs in colour-coded charts. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the architect’s planning.

On the other hand, the gardener tends to be more organic. There is very little to no planning, just the ideas in the gardener’s head that then end up on the page. The gardener will write and write without stopping for planning. In fact, for the gardener, planning actually makes it harder for them to come up with ideas! One may wonder how this style of writing could possibly work, but that’s what editing is for. Once a gardener-style writer has their ideas down on paper, then they go back and revise.

Then again, maybe a combination of both types of writer would work as well! For example, for all the architect plans their story, sometimes the characters will do something unexpected and all that planning has to take a sudden turn. Or perhaps the gardener needs just a little planning for an aspect of their riveting-but-confusing detective story. There’s no right way to be a writer. The only real rule is not to give up. We all start somewhere.

What style do you like to use?

Strong Female Characters

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It probably isn’t much of a secret that I love writing kick-ass female characters. Some of my past badass ladies include not only main characters such as the Level 1 source Kaede, Sergeant-to-rescuer Yaliana, and war heroes Ira and Dounia, but also side characters such as sharp-shooting Stella and snarky Bei Bei. I love writing women who can hold their own in whatever arena they choose in life, from combat to magic to academia.

However, my bad-ass ladies, while bad-ass, are not perfect.

For those of you have read my works, you know that Kaede is a bit standoffish, Yaliana is impulsive, and Dounia holds a grudge. They make mistakes in their respective stories that can lead to unfortunate consequences. The main thing about my girls is that they learn from their mistakes. They try and fix their mistakes. Things don’t always go as planned, but they don’t give up.

I try to make my female characters as realistic as I can in the world they inhabit, and that means that they are dynamic and while they have flaws, they aren’t going to stay that way. Or, in the very least, they learn to either control or manage their weaknesses.

I guess my problem with so many so-called “strong” female characters is that they are physically strong but otherwise static. One good example of this problem is Lara Croft. Don’t get me wrong – I love Lara Croft. I’ve been playing Tomb Raider since it first came out in the 90s. But the original Lara Croft could fight and was smart, but she didn’t really change over time. She was just “perfect” without having flaws.

As a kid, I loved Lara. She out-shot and out-smarted all the men and looked awesome doing it. But real women should be allowed to make mistakes, to be imperfect. And female characters should be allowed to do the same.

Love for Love Rampage

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It’s been a while since I gave some love to my past publications, so I’m going to do a post about one of my early works. Love Rampage is a short, sweet story about a trans girl named Maira who is secretly in love with a friend named Carol. She is too shy to admit it, especially to Carol herself.

Maira has a slight obsession with unicorns. What does Maira do when a real live unicorn shows up and demands that Maira confess her love to Carol? And even worse, what can Maira do when a demon shows up?

The cover for Love Rampage, originally commissioned by Less Than Three Press.

I love this short story because Love Rampage is my first (but not last) story about a trans woman. I originally wrote this story for the Geek Out collection, a call for short stories put out by now-closed publisher Less Than Three Press.

The cover design was done by London Burden. Unfortunately, I cannot find a website for London’s work anymore.

This short story is now self-published HERE!