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Valor of the Healer

Lament of the Dove status report

My fellow Drollerie author Joely Sue Burkhart is running her Maynowrimo thing again this year–by which we mean, it’s a lot like Nanowrimo, only with a self-selected goal, in a much smaller group of authors trying to get some formal projects done.

I’m taking this as impetus to get edits on Lament of the Dove done, dammit. My goal: get the sixth and hopefully final draft finished by end of May. I’d really, REALLY like to get it back into Carina’s hands by mid-June, so consider this a preliminary call: anybody out there willing to beta read Draft Six? Beta reading previous drafts of Lament is not absolutely required, although anybody who has is more than welcome to jump in and tell me whether the changes I’m making generally overall improve things.

Note also to those of you who took a spin through the last draft: I’m not going line-by-line through changes, though I know some of you went above and beyond the call of duty and provided that level of detail in your feedback. I am however on the lookout for general commentary y’all made to me, such as watching out for overuse of semi-colons and such. Draft Six’s all about the bigger picture edits, and laying down a better ending to lead into Book Two.

FINALLY finished off Chapter 5 today–which was a hard one–and blew through all of Chapter 6. The next major changes are projected to fall in Chapter 12, so I’m hoping to charge through to that point in short order this week.

Here goes nothing. Wish me luck, folks.

Vengeance of the Hunter

Maynowrimo status check

Shadow of the Rook grabbed me by the throat sometime last night and said “Okay, you? You’re writing about Faanshi today.” So I did a couple hundred words last night, and several hundred more across the rest of today and tonight, particularly after surprise Tivo death meant my household didn’t get to watch the series finale of Lost (sniff).

And oh hey look, I’ve finished a scene, and now Faanshi and her elven companions are fleeing an abbey with a distinctly wobbly Julian hanging onto Faanshi for dear life as they ride. I’m about fifteen hundred words in on this chapter, and feeling like I’ve finally started this book in earnest.

Written today and tonight: 778
Chapter 3 total: 1,521
Shadow of the Rook total (first draft): 15,481

Bone Walker, Drollerie Press

Bone Walker, Coyotecon, and Maynowrimo continue!

This past weekend I sat in as sort of unofficial moderator at two different Coyotecon panels, “Writing Mental Illness” and “Young Adult Speculative Fiction”. That was fun all around, and gave me a chance to interact with a few folks I hadn’t before. Those transcripts aren’t up yet, but if you go over here, you can see the transcript of the first panel I participated in, the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Fiction panel. And all of the available transcript panels can be found here.

Meanwhile, Joely Sue Burkhart’s sister event of Maynowrimo proceeds apace. My goal for it is to hit 200 words a day on Bone Walker, minimum. I’ve skipped a day or two, but the math works out nicely still to have me on track! As of tonight’s writing, which was 504 words, I’m just over the 29K mark and 30K should be breached this week.

Things discovered in the process of writing Chapter 10: Christopher’s middle name is Michael, Jude’s middle name is Alicia, and Warders can find anybody who lives in their city. And I do mean anybody, if they look hard enough. Especially magically. Good to know!

Gosh, May’s feeling nice and productive so far. I’m doing pretty well hitting my old daily goal of about 500 words a day! Let’s see if I can keep that up.

Bone Walker

Maynowrimo Monday

Just the one book worked on tonight, but I’m pretty keen on what was accomplished: 521 words on Bone Walker tonight, punting Chapter 10 up to 759 words, and the book in general to 27,680.

And, well, have a snippet! I could see this being the scene snippet that shows up at the beginning of paperbacks, I think. 😉

In the meantime, I rubbed the cloth over Elessir’s hot face and brow. The attention seemed to help; his shivers eased, and his voice gained a little strength as he murmured something in syllables I didn’t know, but which needed no great stretch of imagination for me to peg them as the speech of Faerie. “Alokhiu. Queen turned her into one.” Before any of us could ask, he slit open one eye and peered groggily up at me. “It means ‘bone walker’… more or less.”

Neither Christopher nor Millie spoke, maybe because Elessir was focused on me. Joy. So I said, shoving the worry modulating into a higher and shriller pitch into the back of my mind, “You’re going to have to tell me what that is.”

“It’s hunger, Miss Thompson. For magic. For flesh. For life.”

The worry in me exploded into full-blown dread. I thought of every monster I’d ever seen in a horror movie, any creature that fed upon the living: zombies, succubi, vampires, you name it. None of those were real–or if they were, Millie hadn’t clued me in yet. But there was no mistaking the reality of Elessir’s hoarse words. There was no artifice here, no mockery. And it scared the hell out of me. I froze even as I cradled him, and had to force my next words out through a fear-locked throat.

“And this is what’s riding around in Jude now?”

He sagged in my arms, spent, though his gaze never left my face. “I’m sorry,” he said.

Then he fainted, leaving two shocked Warders and me with his limp form–and an afternoon that had gotten much, much worse.

Bone Walker, Drollerie Press, Mirror's Gate, Vengeance of the Hunter

More CoyoteCon and status update-y type things

Today’s Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Fiction panel went swimmingly if I do say so myself, and as soon as I have a link to the transcript, I shall post it here! There was quite the turnout, not only of Drollerie authors but of one non-Drollerie author as well, Lucy Snyder, whose urban fantasy Spellbent I think I’ll have to be reading now.

Meanwhile, tonight’s Maynowrimo performance was not quite as awesome as yesterday’s. But I did throw words nonetheless at three total books!

Bone Walker: 238 words into Chapter 10, just enough to push me up over the 27K mark for the book. 30K is possibly doable by the end of the week.

Shadow of the Rook: 277 words into Chapter 3. A Faanshi chapter, the first in this story so far. And now I’m all “oh RIGHT Faanshi and Julian and Kestar! I really like these characters! And their story isn’t done yet either!” Shadow is hovering around 14K at the moment.

Mirror’s Gate: Only 79 words here, on Chapter 2. Mostly I was too distracted by the other two books, even though I’d also opened this file. Book’s now around 4K.

All told that’s 594 words, which is still above my old quota of 500 a day, so it’s all good!

P.S. I picked up a couple new followers on Twitter today, so if you folks clicked through to see this post, hi there! Hope you’ll hang around for more.

Drollerie Press

My post for Maynowrimo, on motivation

Those of you who’ve seen the Drollerie Blog Tour posts I’ve done may recall my fellow Drollerie author, Joely Sue Burkhart, with whom I appear in the anthology Defiance. She’s also the author of Beautiful Death and several other works from Drollerie, and she has a new work coming out from Carina Press this year. That’s a lot of undiluted awesome for one author to be packing–but Joely took it up another notch by hosting Maynowrimo this year, her answer to Nanowrimo, in which participants can set their own goals for writing projects. She’s doing this in conjunction with Drollerie’s event CoyoteCon, and there’s already quite a bit of lovely community action going on on its mailing list!

One of the things she’s doing for Maynowrimo is highlighting writing-themed blog topics all throughout the month of May. And this post is my contribution to those. Joely gave me free rein to write about whatever I’d like, so long as it was writing-related. That’s a whole lot of territory, though. So I’m going to narrow it in and talk about one thing in particular: motivation.

Which is to say, how you keep writing even when you have a rejection list as long as your arm, and you’re certain you will never, ever sell a word as long as you live.

I realize that it’s easy for me to spout off about this–after all, I’ve sold something. But here’s the thing. Even if you do make that first sale, this doesn’t get you off the hook for maintaining that motivation. If you’re an e-pubbed author like me, you may well be secretly wondering if you’ll ever have anything in print. If you’re actually in print, if your books can be spotted on the shelves of brick and mortar stores, you have to kick it up another order of magnitude–because now you have to worry about how well your books will sell, and whether your publisher thinks they’re justified in buying your next two or three books. Writing and selling one novel is tough enough. Writing and selling enough novels to maintain a regular income? Even tougher.

So how do you keep yourself going, no matter what stage of the process you’re at? For me, a lot of it is what I hope’s a healthy mix of realism, optimism, and sheer love of putting words together.

I need the realism just to remind myself that you can write the tightest, most cohesive novel ever, and chances are still pretty high that you won’t get published. You still have to do the work to find a publisher who’ll take it, or an agent who’ll do that work for you. This means you need to find someone who will not only see a potential sale in your work, but who will also be passionate enough about it that they’ll want to convince other people to buy it, too. And since a great deal of that passion is fundamentally subjective–no two people are going to have the exact same reaction to the exact same novel–it’s a lot like trying to start a romantic relationship. It’s probably not going to work unless you and your agent/editor have the basic click.

And although it’s a tough thing to do, I try to give myself permission to fail. Sometimes this means permission to not get any writing done if the emotional, mental, or physical stresses of day to day life are sapping my creative energy–like they often do. Sometimes this means the bigger permission of not actually ever getting a book into a physical bookstore. Realism says that sometimes I simply won’t be able to write, and that I may not ever have a mass market paperback with my name on it, or be nominated for a Hugo. And you know what? That’s okay.

This is where optimism comes in. Optimism says, “Okay, these hundred or so books over here that you plowed through last year because they were just that awesome? You can write one easily as good as any of those. Go for it!” Optimism says that the important part of this whole process is trying. My chances of accomplishing the publishing goals I have aren’t big–but optimism makes me remember that they’re also not zero, as long as I write the best novel I can and do the necessary work to get it into the hands of the people who need to see it.

Last but not least, there’s the love of writing in general. I am a voracious reader, and I read so much just because I love stories and I love books. I read what I find fun–and I therefore want to write the sorts of things I’d find fun to read. It helps, too, that I come out of a long history of online role-play, so I’m very used to characters in my head demanding to have their stories told and not shutting up until I do something about them. The simple act of creating those stories is just that fun for me. The possibility of getting them into other people’s hands, people who might in fact give me money for them, is just icing on top of an already pretty delicious cake.

As with anything pertaining to writing, your mileage will of course vary. Writers, solitary creatures that we are, come in countless variations; what works for one of us is by no means guaranteed to work for anyone else in our number. But I would definitely encourage all of my fellow writers to try to work both realistically and optimistically, and most importantly to write stories you find fun. That’ll go a long, long way to keeping you going even when you’re not sure if anybody else on the planet will read a word you wrote.

Don’t discount the value either of commiserating with your fellow writers. We may all be naturally solitary by virtue of our chosen craft, but I guarantee you that we’ve all suffered the same pangs of doubt. There’s great virtue in venting your frustrations to sympathetic ears–though be sure to let them vent back! So this is my invitation to anyone reading this post: vent! Let me hear your frustrations in keeping your work going. And if you have tips to share on how to keep your spirits up and the words coming, share them with your fellow writers!

Thanks much to anyone who’s read this, and thanks again to Joely for Maynowrimo and giving me a chance to sound off!

Drollerie Press

CoyoteCon and Maynowrimo are GO

If y’all have been following the news from Drollerie Press lately, you may already be aware of this–but just in case you aren’t, we’re having us a month-long online writers’ convention called CoyoteCon! It’s just like a physical convention, with panels and guest speakers and everything, but this convention doesn’t require you to shell out hotel and airplane funds, and you can participate from the comfort of your own computer. All you need to do is hop over to our site and register for the hosted chat sessions you’re interested in, and we’ve got quite a few.

Many Drollerie authors are participating, and we’ve got guest speakers from other publishers or agencies coming in to chat with us as well. We’ve even got scheduled word wars sessions, for the most dedicated writers among you! Go check the site for more information.

Meanwhile, my fellow Drollerie author Joely Sue Burkhart, a.k.a. , is hosting a related event she’s calling Maynowrimo! Go check her site for more information on that, especially if you’d like to sign up. I’m participating, with a hard push to get as much of Bone Walker does as possible. And watch this space for a post from me to come on Tuesday, as part of her series of guest posts on writing-related topics!

May’s shaping up to be a lot of fun at Drollerie, and we hope you’ll come join us!