The State of Your Author

 

9331457156_737bb94d3b_c

Me, until very recently.  Photo credit: quinn.anya on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

I’m not dead, I swear!  I’m sorry for not posting for so long, though.  I hit a point where I needed to let a few things go, for my own sanity, and the blog is one of the things that didn’t make the must-do cut.  (I’d kind of rather I could have blogged and stopped doing the laundry instead, but everyone else disagreed.)

I’m not going to lie to you.  It’s been somewhat tough the past couple of months.  The Boy is essentially homeschooled, which means he’s at home all the time, and as much as I love the kid, he’s pretty high energy and needs a great deal of my attention.  That makes it tough to get any of my own work done, including writing.  I’ve got so much of my mental and emotional energy focused on my son that I don’t have much left over for poor Kai’s little problems.  As a result, I haven’t been sleeping well and I’ve been reluctant to socialize at best and grumpy and snarly at worst.  Not fun.

That said, I have been making headway on Book Five (you’d think by now I’d have thought of a title for it…) and have started going over some stories I banged out last summer.  I’m going to get those whipped into shape for you fine folks, and I’ve got an idea that’s been stuck in my head for a while that actually fits nicely into the new universe as a side-series.  If I can get myself sorted out just a bit better, 2019 is going to be super exciting and full of new books.

Next week I’ll have a review up for one of the books I plowed through in the past month, and keep your eye out for sneak peeks in the next few weeks.  I’ve got a poll up on my Facebook page if you’d like to tell me what to post first.  And, of course, I’ll have to write about our first holiday season in Tokyo.  It’s already proving very strange: our Christmas tree is just about a foot tall and is sitting on top of our PlayStation 4.

At least there will always be cookies.  That will help with pretty much all these problems!

Motivation

It’s summer.  I’m not sure if you’ve noticed where you are, and I guess it depends on IMG_8038where on Earth you are, but here on the East Coast of the U.S. that means it’s hot.  And sticky.  And kinda gross.  and man, nobody wants to do anything.

But I have a show I’m still helping to run every night, and I have stories to work on and a kid on summer break now and oh man.  All I want to do is hide in my room with a book or 50 and a cold drink.  So…  balance, I guess?

dog-sleeping-resting-rest-canine-tired-sleepy

The worst part about the heat and humidity, I think, is that it really saps my motivation.  Just completely.  I mean I’m getting things done, slowly, but its tough to convince myself to do things.  I will (I hope) have some news for y’all by the end of the month, or maybe early next month that you’ll find interesting.  And I’m working on sorting out the outline for the next Los Gatos book.  Basically, stuff’s happening, just slowly.  Because summer.

In current news, A Spirit’s Kindred is on sale right now, if you wanted to pick that up, and Finding Insight is still up for pre-order, ready to release next week.  For now, I guess I should get back to the story mines.  What’re you reading this summer?

dockbanner

Changing gears

StockSnap_LTY3TGLE73

Having been thrown completely off my stride the past few weeks hasn’t exactly led to a great surge of productivity, as I’m sure you noticed.  However, it did force me to evaluate my methods.  One of the things about being an indie author is that you are your own company, responsible for everything from marketing to time management to actually putting words on (digital) paper.  I am good at approximately one of those things.

StockSnap_3BWN7KIF4TSo I’ve been trying to work out how to get better at a few of them, or at least get them a bit more organized. There are going to be a few changes coming up soon.  Exciting things that I hope you all like or at least understand and approve of.  Right now I’m not planning on changing the blog schedule or the newsletter.  I might post a bit less on Facebook, but that’s easier to take with me as I go.  However, I’m working on project planning and I now have a list of things I’m going to work on over the next few months.   I’m only planning a few months out since I have this giant move looming over my head, but I think overall you will all be pleased with my ideas.

In the meantime, Sarah’s Inheritance has gone on sale for coffee-snack-cup$.99 through this weekend.  If you wanted to pick it up, now’s a great time!  And Finding Insight should be up for pre-order very soon, so Watch This Space, if you will.  News and Announcements will be appearing over the next few weeks, not just of the book, but of a few other fun tricks and treats.

I’m terrible

calendar-date-time-month-week-planning-paper-1.jpg

So I forgot what day it is.  I’m sorry.  I should have had a post up already, but it honestly just occurred to me that it’s Monday now, and not Friday or something.  You’d think having a regular show schedule to adhere to would help me remember what day of the week it is, but apparently not so much.

I’m hard at work doing edits for Finding Insight, the next Spirits of Los Gatos book.  The pre-order should be up very soon, and I’ll have the cover to show off hopefully by the next post.  I’m also sitting down to plan out the next few projects.  The fourth os Gatos book, and some short stories that I hope you will all enjoy, and a few other fun things.

I’m trying to get myself much better at being organized.  You have, no doubt, noticed over the past few weeks that I’ve been horribly scattered.  I hate feeling like this, like I’m sort of adrift, and I’m taking some steps to get myself back on some kind of track.  Writing out goals for the next few months, and using an actual calendar and so on, and I’m starting to feel a bit more grounded in reality.  I’ve realized that I need to do a better job of managing myself, honestly, it’s not a skill I excel at.  Do you all have any suggestions?

Getting back

StockSnap_3BWN7KIF4T

It’s been a long couple of weeks, you guys.  I had a much more visceral reaction to this show that is normal, and I have to hand it to the cast for that reaction.  It’s a pretty powerful and important musical and I’m proud to be working on it.  The downside, as you’ve noticed, is that basically, all my other work has swirled off into the great black hole of mental space-time.

However, now that the show is open and we’re on a regular run schedule, I’m starting to get myself back on track.  I’ve realized that while I can work just about anywhere, I need to have some kind of consistency about it.  The same time every day, the same (or damn close) setup of my laptop, some music, and a cup of coffee.  I can’t have people constantly swirling around me or talking at me.  It’s been pretty interesting, actually, trying to get work done in odd places and strange times at the theatre.

So I’m home in the mornings now, working out my new schedule for the next couple of weeks.  Get up, take a walk, have some coffee.  Take The Boy to school and when I get back, I sit down and get cracking at the doing room table.  Yeah, I have a desk upstairs, and yeah my family wanders in and out, but mostly they let me work and knowing they’re around is comforting.  Okay, usually it’s comforting.

I discovered a few months back that I work well in sprints, so I’ll set my alarm and plow through 45 or so minutes of writing or plotting or edits and then take a break so my mind doesn’t crumple under the strain.  It’s good to be getting words down again, finally.  Even if they’re more character sketch, unconnected scenes, or general rambling.  I know I’m brewing the next few things to get out to you guys, and the process settles something in my soul.

Wish me luck, though.  School’s out in two weeks.

dockbanner

I’ve got such a headache…

So I guess this is another post in what seems to have turned into a self-care series.  Hi!  *Waves*

Understagecrossover

Photo credit: piermario via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

By the time you’re reading this, the show I’ve been working on for the past few months will have closed.  It’s bittersweet since it was a wonderful show and the cast was fantastic— both in their roles and in rolling with, well, a series of very live theatre events.  I’m just as much a ‘keep on muddling through’ sort as the next theatre person, but sometimes one simply can’t do that and you have to send the audience home halfway through act two.  Sometimes the machinery breaks or everyone gets sick at the same time, or the HVAC system shuts down, or the freaking weather outside swells everything into immobility or lord only knows what else could go wrong.  You’d be amazed.  Still, it was a great time and I’m kind of sad that it’s over.  There was some amazing talent and some of the highs matched the lows we had (parties, friendships, shared meals, a marriage proposal complete with spotlights and a full live orchestra…) and my fellow spot-op and I were laughing in the last show almost as much as we were for opening night.

But man am I glad I don’t have to go in this week.  Or next.  In fact, I only have a few days where I’m filling in for someone in February, and I’m otherwise free as a bird until the end of May!  Well, free to be a writer and a mom full time again, anyway.  Although… this week, I might take some time off the writing part.  I’m exhausted.  Physically, emotionally, spiritually, you name it and it’s tired.

Going in to work at a theatre is both energizing for me and also draining.  I have to use a lot of spoons to beth through all the perfectly normal interacting involved, but at the same time, it’s seriously unhealthy for me to spend my whole life sitting behind my computer not interacting with anyone at all.  I love my characters but they’re not really real people, and they can’t substitute for them.

Also, getting home late after the show and the kind of long drive, then getting up to get The Boy off to school on time has been leeching my sleep away for months now.  I try to grab a bit of a nap in the afternoon before I get him home from school and head out, but lately, I can’t seem to get my eyes shut.  So my body is starting to complain bitterly about all of it.

And then there’s Brian.  Bloody half-demon whiner.  I can’t get him where I need him,

4649749639_e67a906d65_b

Photo credit: Sander van der Wel via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

and I can’t figure out where else he could go to get him to cooperate.  I’m clearly missing something here, and no matter how hard I try to sort him out, I’m failing miserably.  My creativity is feeling tapped out.

I love working in theatre.  It soothes something inside my soul that I can’t really put into words very well (says the writer…) But at the same time, I need to balance it with time spent away from the drama, both literal and figurative.  It takes a lot of inner strength to be able to go on with the show, and I’m about tapped out.   So.  I’m going to take it easy on myself this week.  With some luck, I’ll have some news for you on Thursday regarding upcoming releases, but mostly I’m going to sleep and read and try to get some non-ladder based exercise.  Maybe even some fresh air!  Self-care.  It’s the thing that keeps the novels flowing.

Getting unstuck

4663516752_9a7475fde2_z

The inside of my brain.  Almost everything is put away neatly and is thus unavailable…       Photo by ubarchives on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

I’m going to have to admit to you fine folks that I have no idea what to write here today.  I spent a lot of December fighting off anxiety and depression and exhaustion and being super busy outside the house, so my writing suffered pretty badly.  I really got hardly anything done that was new, and I feel fairly guilty for it.  But it’s a new year and a few things are easing up, and some other things are looking more hopeful.  I’m feeling a little better about things, and plans are being made (Tokyo, you and I have a date for the end of summer!) and writing is happening.

You guys, I finished an outline.

Okay, well, it’s not really an outline outline.  I cadged a little bit of the Snowflake Method StockSnap_3BWN7KIF4Tand wrote up a one-page description of the story I’m jumping into working on next, and it’s another Riverton Clan book.  Brian gets to go out and be a demon for the forces of justice and law!  Well, sort of.  Michael is still recovering (hey, having your soul sliced up with a poisoned knife takes it right out of you, demon or not) and sends Brian out to take on the case all by his lonesome, and I’m actually pretty excited to see how it all plays out.  Okay, so I sort of already know how it plays out, thanks to my fancy outline thing, but the demon is in the details, you know.

I should have a book cover for Sarah’s Inheritance in hand pretty soon and I can’t wait to show you all!  I have to write up the back cover copy for that, still, and I have to finish up the sequel to Sarah yet, but basically, things are coming along nicely.  I’m feeling pretty good about January, and it may only be a few days into the year, but I’m already feeling kind of productive.

red-heart-in-open-bookThe one thing I’ve had simmering in the back of my mind though is that I have done a bunch of book reports here, but I slacked off hard once this depression started moving in.  I want to get back to that, and I wonder if you all have any books you’d suggest I tackle?  I’d love to do at least one book report a month, so that leaves me with 12 slots wide open!  Doesn’t have to be urban fantasy, but that is definitely the way I roll.  Y’all know that.   What books do you think I should read?

 

In case you forgot, there’s a giveaway over here with one of my books in it!  Check it out!

Jul

StockSnap_3BWN7KIF4T

It’s the winter solstice today, and I just got back from dropping The Boy off at school.  I’ve got all the presents left to wrap (and I bought them all literally yesterday) and I have to work on Sarah’s Inheritance so I can get that out to you fine folks, and I have to bang out some problems with the sequel to Sarah.  And this afternoon I have a meeting at The Boy’s school about his IEP  (Individual Education Plan, because acronyms.  Basically, it’s how we’re all going to deal with the quirks his autism presents.)  Then I have a show to run this evening, which means I have to leave my house around 4 to get there around 6 because D.C. area traffic.

Basically, I’m busy as all heck, and it’s making me late for EVERYTHING.

So I think I’m taking next week mostly off.  I’ll make sure to post something next week, but it probably won’t be new content. If it is at all, it will be a preview of Sarah for your amusement.  So if I don’t get back here to say anything particularly witty, I hope the end of the year is not at all hectic for you.  I’ll be back and I’ll have a list of resolutions, probably, and some talk about the upcoming year’s schedule.  We’ll see how it all pans out.

Panic

 

StockSnap_LTY3TGLE73

This method is so much more reliable.

 

I had a really decent post for today.  It was actually about writing and what I’m reading right now, and a little bit about what I’ve been working on.

You guys, my computer ate my blog post.

Actually, it ate all my blog posts- published and unpublished- all the way back to mid-July.  You see, I write these posts in Scrivener before putting them up on the blog here, so that I have an easy way to remember what I’ve written about, and can go back to refer to things and basically it’s made my life a ton easier.  Until today, when I sat down to finish writing my post and the whole damned program froze, forcing me to close it all out and restart Scrivener.

Now I know god damned well that I’ve saved many times since July.  Mostly to prevent this exact thing from happening, so I’m not really sure what’s going on here.  I’m hoping that I have everything in my backup files and that all is really okay and all, but I don’t have time to sort it out right this moment.  I’ve got to head out the door to my ‘day job’ in a minute.

So instead of a thrilling and riveting look at how bad I am at planning out my books and so forth (I’m working on it!) you get this lame excuse instead.  I apologize and throw myself at your feet to beg your kind patience while I force my computer to do its job.  On the schedule?  Some percussive maintenance.

P.S.  If you want something more amusing to read, check out this blog!  Not only was my book reviewed over there but so are a bunch of others, and there is some travel blogging and a few cute kid pics for good measure. Personally, I can never get enough book recommendations.

Multiples

So I have a confession to make.  I’ve been writing a lot.  Just… not all the same thing.

StockSnap_LTY3TGLE73I know, I know, that makes no sense when I say it like that.  What I mean here is that I have several things in various stages of completion, and not all of them are based in Riverton.  In fact, only one of them is.  Brian is getting another book, but he and the rest of the Riverton Clan are being fairly stubborn at telling me what the hell is going on with them, so while I’m waiting for them to get it together, I’ve been working on a completely different story in a completely different universe and revisiting my life on the West Coast.

While I’ve never actually lived in Los Gatos, California, I lived close enough that I didn’t mind shifting the actual geography around a little bit to carve out some space for my little community of non-human folks, and I only felt a little bit of guilt when I sent some monsters in to plague the whole area.  Then I’m also working on the sequel to that book, and let me tell you that the main character for it is causing me some serious heartburn.

Then there’s the One With The Dragons, which I don’t even know what to call yet.  It’s still somewhat half-formed, and while still solidly in the Urban Fantasy realm it seems to be dipping a bit into mystery as well.  Actual mystery not just the ‘how do we stop the bad guy’ sort of mystery that Michael has been dealing with.

318741366_3a33739691_b

Photo credit: Steve took it via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

The thing of it is that I now find myself juggling multiple franchises, and may I just tell you that it’s a bit tricky?  I’ll get an idea for one of them while trying to hash out the next plot point for a totally different world.  I’ll solve one problem then realize that I was using the personality of a different character completely.

And then there’s my Accidental Novella.  Remember that from a while back?  It’s still simmering quietly in the back of my mind.  It’s been kicked back to the front of my mind by Skim Blood and Savage Verse, thanks to several similarities, not the least of which being the vampire-cop angle.  I’m not nearly as funny as Angel Martinez though.

I don’t have a great point to all this, I guess, other than to let you all know the state of my work and to express how frustrating it is to have so many worlds in my head at the same time.  It’s gotten pretty crowded in there.  If you find me muttering to myself it might be best to start by asking who it is I’m talking to, and what universe they live in.  It would help me come back to this universe and, you know, Real Life.  Whatever that is.

224311845_70d99c10d6_z

Photo credit: Marvin (PA) via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC