Magic and Mayhem release date!

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Hello everyone,

Today is the release date for the Magic and Mayhem charity anthology which benefits the Gay Romance Northwest meet-up!

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The anthology includes my short story Charmed by Chance, which is a cute little story about a cyborg who meets a mage and is instantly smitten. I’m really excited about this story because it features a genderqueer character and a bisexual character. It’s supposed to be short and sweet, so I hope it delivers! 

You can buy the anthology on Amazon or on Smashwords.

Cyborg characters

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I’m writing this blog post because in just a few days, my story Charmed by Chance is coming out in the GRNW charity anthology Magic and Mayhem.

The theme of the anthology was based off the character matching game from past GRNW meet-ups. The pairings for the stories in the anthology were to be either mage/cyborg or soldier/tattoo artist.

So, spoilers, but I chose the pairing of mage/cyborg.

The reason I wanted to talk about cyborg characters is that I find them very interesting. I’ve written characters with cybernetic enhancements before, but not exactly in this way. In this story, my character has a prosthetic arm which he finds himself without the use of as the plot moves forward.

It brings me to this: technically, a cyborg can be counted as a character with disabilities. I haven’t really written a disabled character before. My other character, who is technically a cyborg, is mostly cybernetically enhanced, and those enhancements are used in the line of duty. He doesn’t find himself without the use of his enhancements, and can’t really be separated from them anyway.

My character Merritt, on the other hand, does find himself without the abilities that the arm brought him. He’s back to the point at which he lost his arm in the first place, which shows that cyborgs can only count on their enhancements to a certain point.

I don’t think most people think of cyborg characters as disabled, because their enhancements are superior to the flesh and bone that humans are born with. The enhancements that they are given put some of their abilities ahead of a normal person’s. I think that people don’t like to think of a physically disabled person’s abilities as superior to a person without them.

I tried to explore the idea of characters with cybernetic enhancements in sync with a character with a physical disability. I hope that I did it well in spite of the shortness of the story.

Any thoughts on cybernetic enhancements, cyborgs, or physical disabilities? Feel free to voice them in the comments!

Unfinished projects

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We all have them, sadly: half-finished ideas that weren’t really thought through or that we got bored of before we could end them. Some of them we got stuck on and never got back into writing on again. Some of them, we had a really good idea, but we jumped into it without much planning or research, and they fell to the wayside.

Authors have tons of unfinished projects. I have lots of them. Steampunk sky pirates, cross-dressing soccer players, and sorcerers-turned-cats (accidentally) are all there waiting for me to pick them up again and finish them. I even have a couple from when I was in my late teens (I am now in my late twenties) that are salvageable (so described by one of my very good friends) that were pretty long before they petered out. 

What do we do with them? Sometimes, the motivation and creative juices have just stopped, and others, the daunting task of outlining and research is too much for us right at this moment. Sometimes, it was so long ago that we wrote them, that we’ve forgotten where we wanted to take our protagonists. Possibly, we’ve also lost the voice of the characters that we were writing, a true tragedy.

They’re stored there in our computer files, in our notebooks, sometimes just in our brains, waiting for us to get back the motivation to finish.

One day, I would like to come back to them. I have mentioned that I have three projects on the go right now, just because I’m a ridiculous person who can’t stop it with the plot bunnies hopping everywhere. But maybe after I’m finished those three, then I’ll be able to come back to some of them.

I loved those ideas, as I’m sure we all did at some point. I don’t want to just abandon them to time, to let them gather dust and eventually disappear.

Maybe it will help me regain motivation if I describe them.

The steampunk sky pirate story takes place in a world of floating islands in the sky, and our hero is a young man who foolishly intercepts a message meant for the high command of the royal navy. He then has to escape with the help of – you guessed it – pirates. 

The cross-dressing soccer player story is about a guy from England who wants to find work while he’s in university in America, but the only job is a female server position. So he cross-dresses in order to get a job and ends up on the female soccer team as well. His name is Ashley, which is how he managed to fool everyone.

Lastly, the sorcerer story is about a young wizard in college who is in a rivalry with a fellow student. He accepts a challenge to create a familiar, and he planned on using a cat. However, he accidentally uses the wrong spell, and instead turns himself into a cat. Now, he’s stuck as a cat without a way of turning himself back (that he knows of, heh heh.)

Anyway, those were my projects. Feel free to share some of your projects that have fallen by the wayside!

Release date for ATKM

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Good news everyone!

I have a release date for All the King’s Men! It’s July 27th, which I think is a great time for a book to be released, during the height of summer. I’m obviously really excited to have something to look forward to in the future.

My cover art for ATKM is coming next month, so I can share that with everyone soon. I’m always really happy with cover art from Less Than Three Press. LT3 has some pretty amazing artists.

In other news, I’m still slowly working on some other projects while also getting the hang of the bookstore business. If you hadn’t already heard, I now own a bookstore, and I have a new kitten who will be my bookstore kitty. He’s already gotten in a lot of trouble knocking over stacks of books and climbing tokitten1 the top of racks. (I’m also shamelessly going to include many kitten pictures in this post.)

I have one mini project in the works, which is the anthology for Gay Romance Northwest. Their call for this anthology is called Magic and Mayhem which is a charity anthology to help GRNW with their various programming and book donations. The call is for either stories with a pairing of mage/cyborg or soldier/tattoo artist. For those of you who’ve attended the conference in the past, this is from the fun Character Type Love Match game that readers played during the last two years.

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I’m going with mage/cyborg, mostly because I’m a fantasy and sci-fi writer generally. I’m just about 8000 words into it, and it probably won’t be more than 10k words long. That’s due March 31st, so I will be working on that until the end of the month.

My tentatively titled “Far Patrol” ace aro dragon novel is still out on beta. I expect that to take a little while because the novel is almost 60k words long. It’s a pretty hefty one for me, my longest novel to date. The sequel to that is on the back burner while I work on the Magic and Mayhem story.

 

kitten3As usual, I have plot bunnies running amok, and there’s all sorts of story ideas going every which way. But I’m glad to be back to churning out the writing.

 

Greenpunk

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Well, now that I’ve done NaNoWriMo, I’m going to wait a bit to do edits on the finished novel myself for a while.

That means I’m starting on a new project. I’ve had a few ideas kicking around inside my head, and it’s starting to become more clear. It looks like I might combine two of the ideas that I had into one.

The first idea was to write a Victorian lesbian detective story in London. I’ve had a few different ideas regarding that, and one of them includes a trans woman private investigator who used to work for Scotland Yard. I haven’t really fleshed the idea out yet, but I was working on it.

The other idea was to write something other than steampunk. I love steampunk, and my NaNoWriMo novel is vaguely steampunk. However, I recently started researching environmental literature, and it gave me the idea to write about something I’m calling “greenpunk.” It’s the idea that using green technology started in the Romantic era and that the Victorians now have working green technology.

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I’ve decided to combine the two, and now I’m really excited to start the planning for world-building. I’ve started looking into current green technology and also looking into how some of it could apply to a world with a different twist on technology. It’s surprisingly fun coming up with all sorts of little details about this green world. To be honest, some of it won’t even make it into the book, but it’s fun making it up anyway.

If you know anything about London during the Industrial revolution, I’m sure you can imagine huge factories, lots of soot and smoke, and streets that were dirty and filled with literal crap. Can you imagine it all differently? I think it would be great. But enough about that for now.

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So for now, I’ve finished writing on my dragon novel, although I haven’t come up with a title yet. More on that process later, because I have fun making up titles, even though I’m not always the best at it.

I have one novel in the works for publication, although I don’t yet have a timeline on publishing for that. I got the first round of revisions back, and there will possibly be another one. 

So that’s what I’m up to for the next month or so. After all that time in the dumps with depression, I feel a bit like a dusty factory that’s finally starting to be cleaned up and used again. Go me!

Anyway, I hope you’re all having fun on your current projects (whatever they may be) because I sure am.

Now What?

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So you finished NaNoWriMo and have a 50 000 word novel on your hands. Now what?

I won NaNoWriMo this year, and now I have a novel, the same as so many other NaNo winners. Some people need to actually finish their novels, because although they won NaNoWriMo, their novel is going to be longer than 50 000 words long. Good luck to you. Don’t slack off on your writing just yet.

As for the rest of us, now we have to get beta readers and start revising. I’ve got at least two beta readers who are running through my novel to find pacing problems, plot holes, characterization issues, and anything else that doesn’t make sense and needs to be fixed.

So, do you have a beta reader? I did a post on beta readers a while ago. But to sum it up, a beta reader is looking for loose ends in your draft and letting you know so that you can tie them up. Sometimes that means adding or deleting scenes, changing things around, or throwing your computer out the window. Try not to do that last one, because as frustrating as revisions can be, they are still necessary.

I already have tons of revisions in mind, because my draft was very bare-bones. All I was doing was trying to get those words down. Sometimes I got writer’s block, but I still had to forge ahead to get to the next milestone. This is the problem with a lot of NaNoWriMo drafts, because you’re plugging away and need to just spew the words on the page.

Well now is when you fix the problems you created during the writing process. At least you don’t have such a huge deadline for revisions. I would suggest, however, creating your own personal deadlines in order to make sure you actually finish it.

Revisions are hard, and sometimes you have to be hard on your draft. Like I said in my beta reader post, make sure you choose readers who aren’t afraid to hurt your feelings by pointing out problems.

I’m doing that right now, so fellow writers, we’re all in this together. Hang in there.

NaNoWriMo Crunch

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It’s day 21 of NaNoWriMo, and I’m 36313 words into my NaNo novel. It’s been a steady upward battle for me this year, but at least I (probably) won’t be writing 12000 words in one day like I did one year.

I’ve found that my model of planning two chapters in advance works quite well for me because quite often, if I write a whole outline then sometimes the story will veer far off course and I’ll have to scrap it anyway.

I will definitely need to revise and edit a lot before I’m satisfied with my story, this one will be pretty bare bones when I finish it. Also, the story arc is nowhere close to being finished, so I’m thinking that this is definitely going to be a series. I haven’t written a series before, so this is going to be a steep learning curve for me, I think. I’m looking forward to it, and even have possible titles in the works.

Speaking of titles, I only have a working title for this story, so I’m going to need to try and figure out if I’m going to stick with that or change it. As a few of you may know, one of my strategies of coming up with a title is to create a mind map to try and figure out themes in my story and then find a title from that. I’ll probably wait until I’m done the novel to do that.

I got to host a write-in last night, which was fun. I’m starting to get the hang of organizing things, and I’ve often found it’s the taking of responsibility that is hard, rather than actually setting things up. That part was actually fairly easy. I also got to meet some local writers, which was great. I’m hoping to host another write in next week, so I’ll tell you how that goes later.

As for now, I’ll just keep plugging away at my word count. I’m a bit ahead of the game now, but there’s no time to relax until all 50000 words are done.