Writing Update: April 2022

Look at me being all accountable and posting two months in a row.

The Quiet Dead

My zombie plague novel is with an editor now. I should have it back shortly and I can start working on it again. I keep toying with submitting it to small press, but then I think, what if they don’t want the other books? There are at least five in the series, and I promised myself that I would put out the whole series. On top of that, I’m having an argument with myself on whether or not this is horror or thriller. Most zombie novels fall into horror (or so they’re tagged), but when I think of what defines the horror genre, I come up with stories that send chills up my spine and make me not want to turn the lights out. This is a story about surviving a zombie apocalypse and while the dead coming back to life is pretty scary, I don’t think it qualifies as Horror. At least, not mine. They’re mostly just a prop or a motivation that pushes the story forward.

Down Finnegan’s Hollow

I finished the major revision to my ghost story, Down Finnegan’s Hollow. I’ve added a few turns that, I think, have made it a better story than what I originally wrote. I’m putting this one away for a bit. Let it ferment, and I’ll look at it again in a couple of months. For now, I’m just basking in the fact that it’s done!

Untitled Alternate Reality

The Story Formerly Known as Gutterchilde is what I’m working on next. I’m very excited about this book too, and I think there’s a good chance I’ll finish the first draft this year because it’s the same kind of excitement I had for Eva and Skye. Hell, I might even add the Arlington Creed spin-off series to my list.

I took this story back to the drawing board, so to speak, gutting it completely, but retained some key points. I’m also working on maps that I want to include when I set it up to publish, to give the reader some points of reference. I love city-building games, so map-making is an extension of that. My deadline is to complete the first draft by August 31st. I should have a good idea at this point, as to whether or not to work on the second book of my zombie plague novel. The first draft for that book is already written, and I have half of the first draft for the second Eva and Skye done as well.    

Ugh, so many stories, but the important part is I’m finally in a place to release them.  

Writing Update for March 2022.

It’s been two months since my last update. I am an Aries. One of our traits is that we start many projects but finish very few. That’s been my problem for the last few years, and I’m not sure how to fix it, or if I can. Over the last two years, I had plenty of time off (due to lockdowns) and I could have used that time to write, but I didn’t. I’m not going to beat myself up about it either. Life just got in the way and that’s all there is to it.

I’m looking forward now. Especially for this summer. I have four projects I’m working on, the first is my zombie novel. I’m getting it ready for publication. I’m looking at a June release. It’s the first book in a series of 5 (yikes), and I have a good idea on the overall plot and it’s one of those ‘need to get it out of my head’ things. This and other stories have poked at me for the last seven years, and I need to get them out.

The second project is my magical realism novel, but I think I’ll rename it The Magical Hair Solution. It’s done and I have given myself a late summer release date for it. Again, I’m self-publishing. I thought this was a story agents would want, but I was wrong. That’s okay. I’m not upset.

The third is my ghost story Down Finnigan’s Hollow. It’s one of two ghost stories I want to put out. I had a hard time with the ending of this one, and like my zombie story, it went through some hard revisions as well. Right now I have less than ten thousand words left to write and a solid ending. I’ve given it a mid-October release date and I really want to stick to it.

I’ve decided that the few scripts I’ve written I’m going to rewrite as novels. There is one that I originally started as a novel, a sequel to my zombie series, that I thought would be good as a script, but lately, I don’t feel scriptwriting is my thing anymore. Maybe it’s because I’m putting out another novel for the first time in years, but I’m just feeling the love for the format.

Now add in my 4th project—a podcast.

Yup, I’ve taken the plunge, BUT, it’s part of the Strong Women, Strange Worlds website that focuses on women and other under-represented gender identity authors of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I’ve toyed with the idea of a podcast for months, but it wasn’t until Terri Bruce asked me to do one for Strong Women, Strange Worlds site that it finally came together. I have a launch date of Friday, June 3rd. I know it’s a few months off, but I need the time to find, record, edit, and upload a pile of interviews. I’m aiming for one a week and maybe some group podcasts sprinkled in between, not sure yet, but it feels good getting back into interviewing authors again. I really like the series that I did a few years ago.   

Do I have a pile on my plate? Maybe, but I think it’s doable. I’m only focusing on four projects right now, and as I check them off my to-do list, it gets easier. I haven’t been this excited about my writing in a long time and I can’t wait for you to read these stores.

Writing Update: December 2021

Happy New Year’s Eve! Been a hell of a fucking year.

First off, here are the stats for my query. I’ll keep updating as replies trickle in, but I don’t expect any more. It’s been seventeen weeks as of tonight. Way past the 4-6 most agents give so I’m going to assume they passed.

Stats of December 31, 2021.

35 queried

15 rejects

1 request – 1 refusal.

As you can see, the request didn’t pan out. To be honest, I was very surprised at the number of rejections for this submission. This story is a light-hearted tale based in the 80’s. Being a teen during this decade was intense, to say the least. A lot of stuff was going on, and I tried to incorporate that into the story. The motto for that decade was sex, drugs, and rock’n roll, whether people like it or not, and there are some dark parts to it as well. I’ve never written anything that agents seem to want, and I was okay with that, but I thought maybe this one time . . .

Anyhoo…

I didn’t complete NaNo, and I didn’t think I would either. Because I work retail, November and December are busy months for me, and while I didn’t get 50k written, I did surpass last year by about 3k and I’m happy with that. Book 2 now stands at just over 20k.  

Now with the new year just a few hours away, I have plans. This setback hasn’t stopped me from wanting to get my stories out there. If anything, it’s made me even more determined, and not just for my magical realism novel either. I have plans for my zombie series and a couple ghost stories that I’d like to publish. That is, after they’ve been revised and edited.

This is my goal for 2022. No more sitting on my ass. I have things to do.

Writing Update: October 2021

Happy Hallowe’en! Blessed Samhain (saw-wen)!

First off, here are the stats for my query.

35 queried,

12 rejects

1 request

That one request has me very excited so cross your fingers! I’ve never had anyone request more pages apart from the original submission, and I’m not sure what to think. They said they liked the five I send and wanted another fifty, that’s a good sign, right? Then my head starts to do me in with thoughts like ‘what if they don’t like anything after that? What if just the first five were good and the rest is shit? I added a bit more since my submission, what if they don’t like that? Did it change the mood? Ugh, someone turn my brain off please.

To keep me and my doubts busy, I began the second book of my Eva & Skye series. Working title is, Eva and Skye and the Dawn Charm. I’ve got a few chapter down now, and I’ll continue to work on it for NaNo, which is what I did last year for the first book. I put a blurb up on the Nano site if you’re interested. You can find it HERE.

This is the continuation story arc that I wanted to write from the beginning. It also shows why I had certain secondary characters appear in the first book, and while their roll was very small and may seem not necessary, but they actually are, and I didn’t want to give them a cold introduction.

I’ve also discovered that making short TikTok videos is easier than making long YouTube ones and have started putting up more content on my page. I’m still working out what I want to do, but I think that because there’s a time limit has a lot to do with why I prefer it. It’s a Twitter form of YouTube.

Have a safe Hallowe’en and save me some candy corn! 

Writing Update: September 2021.

Well, it’s been exactly four weeks since PitMad, and I can honestly say I’ve never been so disappointed in all my life.  Not that I wasn’t surprised, but I thought I’d get more out of it than I did. A hell of a lot more. Honestly, I thought I had an interesting story, but apart from the other authors it didn’t seem to strike a chord with any of the agents who were looking over the pitches.

While this is a setback, to be honest, it wasn’t all that surprising. Especially when you see PitMad in real time. So many posts go flying past, it’s hard to read them, and as the final tally was over 50,000 during the event, that’s a lot of scrolling.

On to round two – querying agents. I swear I’m an old hat at this. I’ve queried two other books and it felt nice getting back into the swing of researching agents. Of course, because I was using a different and sub-standard writing program, I didn’t realize that there were a few grammar mistakes in the samples I sent. I caught it after the first ten were sent.

I gave PitMad a week for replies, but with querying it must be longer, so I’ll give it until the new year. January 3rd. That would be four months exactly. In the meantime, I’ll be working on book two, because this was always going to be a four-book series. I’m also looking into publishers, and the self-publishing sites I’m on.

Oh, and I went in with my mother and purchased a subscription to Word. At least it’s cheaper this way.

Maybe next month I’ll have happier news.

Query Stats September 30/2021

33 queried

7 rejects

0 request

Writing Update: Thursday, August 28th, 2021.

There’s only one project to update on, and I am proud to say that Eva and Sky’s Magical Hair Solution is DONE.

This is the first YA story I’ve ever written and I was surprised how easily the plot evolved considering the last YA I wrote was when I was a YA myself. Maybe it was the setting? It’s based in the early 80s, and even though I do remember some things of what it was like back then, there was still a lot of research I had to do. For instance, the book opens in 1982 and I had a few of the characters dressed like Madonna, but she didn’t come on the music scene until almost a year later. I remember the whole Madonna craze, I just couldn’t remember what came before her.

When I mean done, I mean revised, edited, revised again and final edits. I have a couple pitches for PitMad this September 2nd, and a 1000-word synopsis. I’ve worked on this for a solid year, and it feels so good to finally have it complete.

There was a lot I cut from this story, including a major sub-plot that really didn’t push the story forward, but if I end up doing a second book, I can put it in there because at that point, it will be part of the plot.

While I wait for Pitmad to start, I have some time to look at where I want the story to go. I do have an overall plot for four books, but I as the characters are in high school, I need to connect the plot to that setting. I have a fews ideas, and I think it’ll be fun but I need to worked hard to keep it from feeling like Harry Potter, and I’m pretty sure I can accomplish that.

Hopefully, I’ll have some good news for next month’s update.

Writing Update: Friday July 30, 2021.

It’s been four months since I wrote an update. Work started back, and between that and a few non-writing projects, I forgot about my blog. I think there will be random blog posts going forward. There’s just not enough time during the day to do everything I want and need to do.

But enough whining . . .

Eva & Skye’s Magical Hair Solution.

Revisions are done. It was a hard revision too. I cut about 4k from the story and focused more on two primary areas; Eva and her love interest, and the ending. The ending is important, not just because it’s the ending, but here is where the final lesson is learned and I really need to show that.

Even after all this time, I still love this story. I love reseraching and remembering what it was like beeing a teen in the 80’s. Back then, it seems like a great time, but I was too young to understand what was really going on in the world. I don’t think I’d want to return to that time, not when we’ve come so far socially.

For the next month I need to work on the synopsis and minor edits. The synopsis is going to kill me. I have NO IDEA how to write one, so if you’ve got any tricks, let me know.

W.I.P #2 (formally known as Gutterchilde)

I’ve been poking at this one again. I don’t care for the plot anymore so the whole thing has to be re-written. The only thing I do like is the map I created. I found a rough outline for a Victorian paranormal series I wanted to explore, and I think I’ll combine the two. I’ve got such a rich, detailed map drawn up, now I just need a story that will do the map justice.

This is so frustrating! I have an idea of what I want the story to be, but it’s changed so much in the years since I first thought of the idea, I don’t know what I want for it now. I’ll poke at it some more over the next few months. Maybe something will stick.

How is your writing coming along? This might seem a bit premature, but is anyone gearing up for NaNo yet?

Hopefully it won’t be another four months before I post another update.

Writing Update: March, 2021.

My laptop died. I’ve had a battery problem for the last year and a half, and it went critical during the summer. That was fine, I just made sure that my charger was close by and when the power drained (usually after an hour of use), I’d charge it up. Then, right after I’d finished the second last chapter, it no longer recognized the charger! Not only that, the plug was loose so if I moved, it would slip slightly and disconnect. I was writing with one eye on the charger and the other on my file. Thank the Gods I save everything to a flash drive.

With that, and the fact we’re in a third lockdown that has been extended until the middle of May. I’m truly surprised that I got as much writing done as I did. The stress of the last few months has seen me do other things than write, which adds to my stress levels, and I’m surprised I’m not an alcoholic at this point.

So let’s begin:

Eva and Skye’s Magical Hair Solution

I have finished the first draft. It was completed on the seventeenth of April. The final few chapters were hard to write, not because I was coming to the end, but because of the content. I had to break my characters hearts and while they’re not long scenes, I did tear up.

My work place stayed open do to online orders and curb-side, so I had A LOT of time off and manage to get work done. It wasn’t my 2000 words per day that I did during the 2nd lockdown, but I’m happy with what I did. I found two sub-plots as I wrote this last few months; one will deal with a volatile relationship between one of the characters and a love interest. I’ve raged against ‘bad boy’ characters becoming a love interest for years, now I’m going to show you why (read my original rant HERE). The second has to do with two secondary characters. Their storyline will continue into the rest of the books I have planned. I also did a bit of foreshadowing dealing with the other main character and the overall plot to the series, but it won’t really come into being until the second book. 

The most challenging aspect of these magical realism stories is creating a world that doesn’t resemble Harry Potter, especially when it comes to the education of young magical people, and while I don’t want to build an entire education system from scratch, that might be what happens. I also found an interesting sub-plot dealing with Eva’s father’s family, and I want to incorporate this into future books.

Word count – 89,678 of 89,000.

I had planned on just working on a new project for a few weeks and leave this one alone, but the night I finished it, things started coming to me; little things, revision things, and I got up and I’ve started editing and revising. If I do a scene a day, it should take me about nine weeks. If I can do more than one scene per day, great, but I have to take into account that I will be going back to work and one scene may be all I can do before my eyes get too tired. So I finished on the 18 of April. I should be done with revisions by June 20th.

That is the goal.

So tell me, how is your writing going, or not going? I’d love to hear how your projects are coming along.

Writing Update: March 2021

2020 took a toll on my writing, and it seems 2021 is going to be a little easier on me. Our second lockdown ended half way through February and it felt great to get back to work, but my writing suffered for the first few weeks. I really didn’t work on anything until the beginning of March, and then it wasn’t the 2k that I’d been doing during 2nd Lockdown. At least I was writing, and two other stories started poking at me again.

So let’s begin:

Eva and Skye’s Magical Hair Solution

As I’m back at work, I’ve dropped my writing goal to 1,000 again. With blogging and other things, I don’t have the extra time to add more than that to the project. I’ve also been adding plot ideas for a second book. I want to have four books for this series, and I do have a rough idea of where they’re going to go. This first one will be light, but it’ll get darker as the story goes forward.

Word count – 63,000 of 89,000.

Pangea

This is a semi-new project and that’s the working title. I’ve mentioned before that I grew bored with my Gutterchild story (and then someone used that name for their published book), and working on the story with Scrivener did renew some interest, and I’ve been looking at this one again. I like the overall plot, but there are some details that need to be changed. I had originally wanted several books for this series, but right now I just want to get the first draft out. This won’t be the same plot as Gutterchild, and I’m still debating if I should move forward with it or mesh in a new one. I like the new idea too. I’m just not sure if I can sustain it for more than one book.

Zombie Plague

Another story that’s been poking at me again. After Nightfire rejected it *sadface* I didn’t send it out again. Life got complicated again (holiday season) and between being exhausted from work and the talk of a second lockdown (which happened), this story was the last thing on my mind. One good thing about being in a pandemic, I now know how the government-all three levels, along with the population at large, would handle a world-wide outbreak. Now that I have real-world experience, I want to include that into the novel, which means a minor revision. There are also a few things I want to take out and put into the second book, which already has a first draft. Looks like I’ll have a lot to do once I finish the first draft of EVA AND SKYE.

Take care and stay safe.

2020 Writing Update

It’s New Year’s Eve. The end of a stressful and heartbreaking year. Everyone’s lives have changed so much in the last 12 months, that it’s hard not to look back and genuinely hope that 2021 will be better.

I write this at the beginning of yet another shutdown. No doom-scrolling this time. I’m quite over that, and lack of money aside, I’m enjoying this one. It’s given me a chance to work on my NaNo2020 project – EVA AND SKYE’S MAGICAL HAIR SOLUTION. I didn’t finish it by the end of November, which was a given considering I work retail and the holiday shopping season ramps up during that month, so I’m taking this time now to work on it daily. I’ve set a personal goal of writing two-thousand words per day, and so far I’ve kept to that goal with only one day off. This story has come together better than I had expected. I’m at forty-thousand words of the fifty-thousand word goal, that will be extended to seventy-five. Mind you, this is still the first draft so there may be some deep edits coming.

My zombie-plague novel SURVIVAL RULES was rejected from Nightfire. It happens. I’ve set it aside for now. Not really sure what I want to do with it, but at least it’s done. I may have to change the name too. There is a writer at another indie publishing house who has a zombie series with almost the same title (she has the word RULES in her title), and she’s done the same thing that I wanted to do as well; have RULES in the title of each of her books. Maybe something new will come to me.

I haven’t touched either of my ghost stories DOWN FINNEGAN’S HOLLOW or THE POSSESSION OF MERCY MOREAU. Right now I’m focused on Eva and Skye and it’s completion.

Well that’s it for the end of this year. I am truly hoping 2021 will be so much better.

For those of you who subscribe to my newsletter, keep an eye out for a little something from me in the New Year; a post with a small excerpt from Eva and Skye. For those of you who don’t, if you’re so inclined, click HERE and it’ll take you to my web page and you can sign up from there.

Have a safe and happy New Year.

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