Production Time #IWSG

ISWG question of the month: Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

Well, as long as we aren’t looking at 2020…

But yes, and my year more or less follows when there’s NaNoWriMo (November) or Camp NaNoWriMo (April and July). Those 3 months are typically the heaviest along with January and February (sometimes into March) when I’m hustling on getting final edits done. I’m too much of a gamer – I like the little achievements. I also tend to be more productive when school is in session. The virtual learning and constantly needing to be on call for my daughter as tech support has thrown a bit of a wrench into things.

What about the other months? I’m still working, but like this year’s NaNo, I might drift off to some side stuff and play around before coming back. Especially if I’m trying to work out something in the novel I’m working on.

I’ll admit that this year has been rough. That’s why I wasn’t going to kill myself over trying to get a new project finished. While Divine and Conquer (book 6) will be released next year, I don’t think I’ll have one for release for 2022. I’m going to spend some time doing behind-the-scenes work for a bit (aka boring business stuff).

Besides, the next one is a good point to take a break. It ends something of an arc I’ve been working on. And my beta readers seem content, though I got a few threats while they were working through early versions. Pretty sure the end paid off for them. Or at least I’m still alive.

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It’s a secret #IWSG

Before I get into this month’s question, I know a lot of people are wondering when the ebook for Mortgaged Mortality will be available for preorder. I promise I’m working on it. With the delays, I’m trying to slim down some of the things I do to regain some of that time which is holding getting the ebook up until the final version is ready. I’ll be posting when it is available.

It’ll be soon! Things are moving well. There won’t be a delay on release. The only thing that will be off-schedule will likely be me having physical copies on hand.

IWSG Question of the Month: Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

A secret, huh? I’m pretty open so I’m not sure what someone wouldn’t know.

I guess a fun one is that I keep a playlist for each project. While that part is known, the fun part is sometimes I toss something onto the playlist that I just want to listen to and has nothing to do with the story.

The entertaining part is my alpha reader usually gets subjected to me listening to said playlist over and over. He tries to match each song to where he thinks it should be in the story. Those one or two songs drives him nuts.

If there is something you would like to know, I’ll try to answer the comments. I’m pretty bad about reading them on the run and then forgetting I need to come back and reply.

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What day is it? #IWSG

Needless to say, that’s kind of my world at this point. The only reason I know what’s going on when at all it seems is if my calendar tells me. And thank goodness for that. Despite the consistent schedule for my daughter’s class calls, I’d mix up which teacher she was talking to which day.

I haven’t been writing or editing much the past few weeks. My brain just shut off. And likely it’s due to this weird world created by Covid-19 (plus having a 7-year-old asking me stuff every few minutes doesn’t get me far). Probably also partially due to I’m coming into the home stretch for book 5 (and trying to figure out when and how to do a cover reveal).

Of course a new release always comes with its own insecurities. Especially where I struggled with this one. It clicked late of what I needed to change for it to be the story that it is and I think I integrated some of the old stuff that needed to remain correctly.

Then there’s the uncertainty of my event schedule for the year. Right now my events that I would be selling at have either moved or are in a holding pattern while they decide what to do. A different event I was going to volunteer at just announced last night that they were canceling for this year. While that makes me sad, I know it’ll come back better than ever with the extra year to plan. And maybe I’ll have figured out a costume by then.

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Crazy world #IWSG

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!

Well, we all know that this is the time of year that I start getting nervous as the next book goes into its final stages for release. I took a huge gamble on this one and I hope it pays off.

IWSG Question: The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

Scary. Seeing what is normally a lively and vibrant city become so quiet. There’s still some traffic and people moving about as they go to work, but… It’s not the same.

I am grateful for the generosity of the community though. People reaching out (with maintaining social distancing) and checking in on each other. Offering to pick up and deliver for those who are stuck. So much has happened and I wonder how it’ll shape our world once this threat has passed.

In terms of writing, I’m still pushing along. I’m waiting to get working with my cover designer on 5 (I’ve held the title this long – might as well reveal with the cover). 6 is written and in editing. I’m fairly happy with the alpha version (and so is my alpha reader), but it’ll be a while still before it’s ready. I plan on working on it during Camp NaNoWriMo this month.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get ahead and get to some other projects I’ve been letting gather dust. At least I’d like to think that, but as I’ve found out during this time, the house can go from quiet and peaceful to chaos in under 5 seconds.

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Worth a thousand words #IWSG

After some confusion, mishaps, and much cursing, I’ve regained control… of my blog. I claim that on nothing else.

I’ve been pretty quiet anyway over the past few months. Life’s been hectic to put it nicely. I’d like to think perhaps this month I can actually start getting started on some projects I’ve been putting off for a long time, but I need to return my attention to book 5 (and stop poking at 6 for now). Especially if I want to get it out on time.

February IWSG Question: Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

For the setting, yes, which of course was integral to the story. I remembered when I was getting ready to start Twice Cursed, I had the rough concept, but no location. Someone in one of my critique groups at the time would occasionally send out an email when he found something of interest. I don’t have the original image (or at least I can’t find it right now), but it sent me into looking at what would become Ghost Forest.

Actually, he sent me a few things that I eventually used. The wizard storm in Conjured Defense was another. Thanks, Ellis L. Knox!

Those two I’ve obviously finished. I’m trying to think of others, but those were the big ones. I’ve used other pictures here and there for small things: the necklaces Ketayl and Kitteren wore in Shattered Illusions, what some articles of clothing/armor would look like, etc.

Plenty small ones used in things I haven’t finished or is simply background story for me to have.

I’d love to hear of some fun inspiration other have used.

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Getting personal #IWSG

IWSG Question of the Day: What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

I had planned on opening this up with a quote, but damned if I can find it now. I thought I knew who said it, but…

The short version is I write characters that are both aspects of me as I am and those of who I wish I was.

Except for Silver. I don’t think I have anything in common with him.

Joking aside, Ketayl is the closest to me as she’s my oldest character. She’s gone through a couple of decades of changes and growing to become her own character until she found her way into the series I’m working on.

Does she have some of my traits? Yes. Some deeper ones than I’m prepared to discuss here. Those became part of her character before I even knew what they were.

To give a more direct answer, we’re both introverts. I know those who have only met me at events might not realize it as I end up shifting into a different mode for that time period. If you catch me out and about, it’s another story.

Since this is something I know intimately, the trait easily made it into Ketayl. And in one regard, I hope there are people out there who can connect with her because of it and see that it isn’t a limitation, but just one part of who she is.

My own traits often make it into other characters as well. One thing here, another there. And as I stated above, it could be an active trait or maybe one I wish I had. I’d spend way too long trying to figure out who has what.

It makes one wonder who else writes their traits into their characters. Also if readers connect with characters because they connect with the traits portrayed.

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It’s #NaNoWriMo season and an #IWSG day

NaNoWriMo is going on and you know what that means…

My head is buried in whatever new novel so I’m going to be pretty quiet this month. I’m really nervous with this one because I spent through the end of October getting Conjured Defense to beta status and didn’t get to spend much time thinking about book 5.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a concept, but typically I’ll have a decent sized playlist and a few key scenes I’ve been working on in my head. Usually battle sequences.

I entered November with a pretty sad excuse for a playlist and my concept. We’ll see how this goes. I’m a notorious pantser anyway. Should be fine, right? Right?

 

IWSG Question of the Day: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

Um… I’ve been writing for so long I’m not entirely certain.

One of the things I will drive people nuts with is coming up with a variety of scenarios when the news reports something, but gives little or vague information. I don’t do this all the time and only with select people. It’s a fun exercise to come up with both logical and closing in on far-fetched scenarios. And of course everything in between.

Other than that, I tend to draw ideas from around me all the time without actively thinking about it. I never intentionally trained this, but it’s what I do. Most ideas or concepts that I keep end up in the “someday” pile. Some sneak their way in while I’m writing. It never has to be something large. Often times it’s a small moment in a larger story.

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4 books later… #IWSG

When you realize 4 books later that you’ve written your main character with a particular mental health issue. 4 books in I’m not about to change it because it is so much a part of her personality and her background does support this particular disorder.

The part I’m concerned about is that eventually this will have to be dealt with. People can live with undiagnosed disorders for decades, but things will come to a breaking point with her. Now that I am fully aware (and have done far too much research) I have to figure out what I’m going to do going forward. I’ve been adjusting my mental road map of the overarching story to be able to support this, which admittedly, hasn’t taken much altering.

And here people are probably wondering if they missed a book. No, book 4 is in editing. Fully written, but I still won’t release it until next summer the earliest.

Have you ever realized something about one of your characters long after you’ve been writing them?

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Naming things #IWSG

Twice Cursed is coming and this month’s IWSG question made me both smile and want to slam my head on my desk.

IWSG Question of the Day: What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Book titles. Without a doubt it’s book titles. Rarely do I have a problem with naming characters. Sometimes I forget to name them, but eventually I do. But book titles…

Twisted Magics and Shattered Illusions both went through changes before I settled on the final title. Twice Cursed I agonized over before starting as a project (had I think 3 or 4 I was debating between) and I was lucky it stuck. Book #4 I keep staring at the title, wanting something else, but right now it still fits. I’ve got a temporary title for a different book that I slapped on there because it amused me, but it’ll change. It better change. It’s too silly for what that particular book will contain.

I also try to use the title somewhere in the book. I’d have to look back again, but I think I left in something of the original title I had for Shattered Illusions. Not the actual title, but a nod to the path I thought the story was going to take. Twisted Magics had placeholder titles for a while because I hadn’t planned on publishing it initially. I was using it to try and flesh out the world and some side characters for a different story and then I found that this was the story I actually needed to tell.

Since I try to get a full draft down during NaNoWriMo, I will come up with a title, using it to at least attempt to keep myself on track knowing that the title could very well change. I didn’t get a full draft of #4 finished until last month (finished NaNo, just not the story), but I went from looking at the title as annoying to it fitting better. Not enough for me to release it though. Also while I love the path it took, I’m concerned about the path it took (hello darkness, my old friend). If I have to go with one of my other ending ideas, it might not fit so well.

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Twice Cursed and an #IWSG post

If you follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you’ve seen the cover reveal for Twice Cursed. If not, here it is again:

Mock Up 1

Release date is June 21st and pre-orders are live on Amazon for ebooks. I’ll announce when I have print versions. Speaking of, my proof copy should be in some time this week. I may be found staring out the window of my office watching the delivery drivers go by.

I’m always unsure about how a book will be received. This one so far is my favorite, though #4 is gaining ground there as I actually finish the story. It’s a little weird for me not to have the whole first draft written by this point, but I also remember Shattered Illusions got a major overhaul to its end about this time.

Part of me is worried each time that I won’t be able to release on time. I have concepts jotted down for the next few books in this series. I know where the thread that continues through each book is going. I just need to get there. Though lately, my characters have made things a little harder to figure out how to get there. If only they’d stop getting ahead of themselves…

IWSG Question of the Day: It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

No, though I do like picking seasons/holidays to write in for a particular book. Twisted Magics lead up the the Winter Solstice. Shattered Illusions lead up to (and through) the Summer Solstice. Twice Cursed is in the fall (mid to late October) and #4…I’m not sharing yet. No idea where #5 is going to land, but it’s too early to be putting much planning into that one (hi, next NaNoWriMo project).

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