21 February 2014

things I do when I'm supposed to be writing

Right now, I'm facing down doing some revisions to Episode 5 of SHIFTED, which means I want to do anything but. One of my least favorite things is cutting out words I've written and replacing them with new ones, even when I know the new ones will be so much better.

Lots of exciting stuff going on since last time I posted. Most importantly, of course, is that my daughter turned 2 earlier this week. And there was thundersnow here in the D yesterday.

Oh, and I got the draft of Crystal Magic: Clearwater Witches Book One to the editor on Wednesday.

!!!

I'm really excited that the draft of Crystal Magic is done, and I'm really excited to get the edits back (which probably won't be for another couple weeks, and, let's face it, I'll probably be a lot less excited when I see the mountain of work that awaits me). I'll hear from my editor this weekend on the projected turn around time, but I'm still hopeful for a March launch.

Things are moving fast right now, and contrary to that being a bad thing, I feel very liberated. Taking a cue from my friend Rachel Schurig, I mapped out a writing schedule for the rest of the year. If I'm able to stick to it (and we'll see how well that works once I get edits back), it's possible that I'll be able to write 8 books this year (with the rest of Season One of SHIFTED counting as one book). EIGHT BOOKS. Part of me thinks that's insane--I mean, in the past it's taken me a solid year between books. But the fact is that I've already got one book with the editor. And writing episodes of SHIFTED is typically a quick process. And though I've scheduled 6 whole weeks to work on When I Need You, it's possible that I won't need that long because so much is already written.

For the first time since August 2011 (when Awaking was published), I actually feel like an author.

So, if you haven't signed up for the newsletter yet, you should so you can keep up with the latest  information. 

And you should tell me to stop writing this blog entry and get back to, you know, being a writer.

18 January 2014

works in progress and other mysterious beasts

January has been good to me, my friends. Or maybe I've been good to it. I'm not sure which. What I do know is I'm producing more words more quickly than I ever have before (except maybe back in the late '90s when I tried my hand at Hanson fanfic... But let's leave that in the past). 

I'm taking full advantage of this whole working-part-time thing. Monday through Friday, I use my writing time to the best of my ability and I'm hitting my daily and weekly word count goals. Well, killing them is more like it. And I'm liking the feeling. 

My current project is one that has a long history. A long history. I wrote the first draft of this story back when I was in the ninth grade (when I was about 15). Loathe as I am to admit it, that's more than half my life ago. I teach kids in the ninth grade now. But I digress.

The original MS was pretty good--for a 15-year-old. And since I started on this journey with Awaking back in 2011, I've had it in my mind to revise the story--one day. Well, that day is here.

Now, I know it will disappoint the friends who read the original draft of The Crystal Society back in the mid-1990s, but the WIP I'm working on now resembles the original in only the tiniest of ways: it's still about witches and the main character is still named Kristyl.

So, enough beating around the bush, right? What is this new project?

Well, the new series is called Clearwater Witches, and the first book follows Kristyl Barnette as she moves to the small Michigan town of Clearwater and learns a bit about her family and its history--and about herself. I'm super-excited about this book and the rest of the series: it's the kind of story I like reading, so it's really fun to write.

As much as I love The Naturals trilogy, I feel like I've grown so much since beginning that project. I'm bringing that to this new project. And it feels good.

Concurrently with the Clearwater Witches, I'm working on the Shifted serial. I love Peter and Leigh, and I'm excited for some surprises they have in store. I'm also working on transcribing a draft I wrote serveral years ago. This other project, When I Need You is more in the vein of Sarah Dessen, and it's one I'm very excited to share with you. It's one that's very special and very personal to me. And it's got a FABULOUS cover!

So, long story short, I've got a lot of fabulousness on the way. No longer will it be a year or more between releases. I'm actually planning to launch book one of Clearwater Witches in March of this year. March! That's so close, guys!

I'll keep you updated on the latest developments, don't you worry!

13 January 2014

something old, something new

Full disclosure: I am writing this when I should be working on my WIP. What else is new, right?

Well, there are a couple exciting developments in the life and times of yours truly. First, last week I was able to put down more than 18,000 words in my current project. That's nearly a third of a book right there! That's super exciting to me. Next, the second episode of SHIFTED is out--or will be in less than 24 hours. I'm excited to be putting out a new episode every other week until June. I think you guys will like where this serial is going. And then another development: I've got a third (THIRD!) project on deck. I wrote a book back in maybe '09. It may even have been '08--but I guess that doesn't matter. The problem? I wrote it out long hand on a giant sketch pad. I then worked on transcribing it. 55K+ later, it's still not done. I stopped working at transcribing it because I figured any time I had to dedicate to writing should be spent, well, writing. So, this story was put on the back burner.

Well, now that I've got dedicated time to write every day, the idea of taking some time in the evenings or on the weekends to work on finishing the transcription progress and then working on edits doesn't seem too big a deal. I've even got a cover lined up!

I'm really excited about this story. It's much different than my usual stuff. It's still YA, but much less paranormal. A bit more romance.

All in all, this year is shaping up to be pretty fabulous. If you want to keep up with the latest developments and releases, you can either check back here frequently or sign up for the newsletter: http://eepurl.com/DARP5.

As I finish this post, I've got a cat on my legs and one on my hip. I hope your day/evening is as awesome as mine!

02 January 2014

january, of all things

Well, first of all, I'm watching The X-Files. For this, I blame my friend Mary: I went to her house a couple weeks ago and watched the first X-Files movie (Fight the Future). After watching that, I've had a craving for the rantings of Fox Mulder. 

But that's not what's important at the present moment. What's really on my mind is January. I try not to be all crazy with the new-year-new-you mentality, but I'll admit I've been looking forward to January more than usual this year. Since going part time at my day job in late November, I have been testing the waters, so to speak, when it comes to using my new "free" time for writing. Come next week, when school starts up again, I'm going to be hitting the ground running (I hope!). My goal is to have the draft for the first book in my new series to be completed by the first week of February. I've already got episode 2 of SHIFTED set to go live on the 14th, and I'm working on getting episode 3 ready for the 28th. 

In February, I hope to finish all (or most of) the remaining 12 episodes of SHIFTED so it can have smooth release dates every two weeks between 1/14 and 6/3. 

Come March, I hope to be working on edits for book 1 of the new series and the draft of book 2. I would like to have the first book of the new series (more details to come in a different post) in late March or early April. And if the fates are smiling (or if I just keep writing and not making excuses), book 2 should be ready to fly come June. 

As excited as I am for all of this, I can't help feeling the slightest bit... well... terrified. Since 2011, I've only managed to put out one novel per year, with 2013 being a banner year with one novel (Becoming) and one novelette (SHIFTED, Episode 1). In 2014, I'd like to put out eleven 10,000-15,000 word episodes of SHIFTED and three or four full-length (60,000-ish word) novels. 

To be clear, this is kind of insane. At least it's kind of insane for me. The idea of writing all this down and posting it online for anyone to see gives me pause. My old concerns rise up within me: What if I say I'm going to do this but I don't accomish it? In other words, what if I FAIL? 

If I don't do it? Whatev. 

For real. The world won't end. Just allowing myself that grace gives me the confidence to move forward with my grand plans. If I don't succeed, I'll survive. If I don't try, I won't accomplish anything. 

So, in short, in 2014, I'm planning to kick ass and take names. I'll venture into uncharted territory. I'll write. I'll write a lot. And I won't make excuses. 

Here's to 2014. More than that, here's to January. 

30 November 2013

winning and the art of awesomeness

I just did it. I validated my word count on the NaNo website (two, actually: the regular one and the Young Writers Program site, since I did NaNo with my Creative Writing kids this year).

Let me tell you, friends: It feels pretty darn good.

While I'd love to tell you I've written an amazing novel this month, that would be stretching the truth a bit. I'd even love to tell you I followed the guidelines set forth by NaNo (i.e., write a first draft of a new novel), but that would also be a lie. I did write some new stuff: I've got two and a half episodes of Shifted (mostly) written. Though they are, in many ways, even rougher than the first episode was despite the fact I only had a day to write the first one, I'm still excited about them. Tomorrow begins December, which is the month for revising (NaNoReMo?). In addition to these brand new works, I also did the final fixes on Becoming. Since I was already to the point where I was basically rewriting the scenes at the end anyway, I figured it fit in with the spirit of NaNo: writing new stuff.

So, do I feel like a winner? I do indeed.

I'm glad I took on this challenge. I mean, sure, it's fabulous that I was able to actually accomplish the goal I set, but it was also nice giving myself the option to fail.

Now that November is over, what's next? Well, moving forward, I'm officially down to half time at my day job, which means I suddenly have 3-4 hours a day to write. This upcoming week, I plan to see what kind of daily word count goal is attainable and sustainable, and then I want to make plans based on that. How often will I put out an episode of Shifted? How often will I put out a new novel? I don't know the answer to either of these questions for sure yet, except to say that it will not take me a year or more to put out something new.

That alone makes me do a happy dance.

***

Speaking of Becoming: It is finally done and for sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. It is not yet up on iTunes because for a reason unknown to me, iTunes takes FOREVER to publish stuff.

And this Shifted thing I keep talking about? So far it's just one episode of a larger piece. Since its publication at the end of August, it's been exclusively on Amazon, but that exclusivity has ended. I'm in the process of getting it up on Kobo, B&N, and iTunes. Kobo is giving me sass (though I won't complain too much since Becoming went on sale relatively quickly); iTunes is, as I mentioned, a bit sluggish; and I need to make some modifications to the cover to upload it to B&N. So, I'll let you know when Episode 1 is available for people who don't buy their ebooks through Amazon.

You can find links to all my books here.

19 November 2013

changes on the horizon

So, some big changes in my life right now. I'm pretty excited, actually. 

My day job is as a teacher. This year, though, teaching has been tougher than usual. So, here's the change: I'm about to go down to part time at my real job, and I'm about to devote much of that extra time to writing. 

To say I'm excited about this change is an understatement. Don't get me wrong: I'm sad to be saying this temporary farewell to half my classes. I'm fighting the creeping sense of failure at not being able to be Super Woman and handle everything that's on my plate plus all the things I want to put there. But I'm okay with it. I need this change, at least in the short term. 

In related news, I'm thisclose to having Becoming (The Naturals: Book Three) ready for publication. And I've got an episode and a half of SHIFTED written. Honestly, I haven't felt this awesome for a while. 

So, friends, exciting things on the horizon. Stay tuned for updates. Sign up for the mailing list so you can know immediately when new books are ready for you!

02 November 2013

nano and procrastination

Yesterday was the last day of the first quarter at school. What should I be doing right now? I should be assessing narratives and finalizing grades. What am I doing? Well, that's clear, isn't it? I'm writing a blog post.

Yesterday also began the month of November. There are several reasons this month is noteworthy: Thanksgiving (U.S.) occurs on the fourth Thursday, my sister will be turning 30 this year, and this month also marks the fifth year since my mother's death.

Oh, and it's National Novel Writing Month.

NaNoWriMo is something I've known about for years, yet I've never thrown myself into participating. I think a large part of what's kept me from doing so is the fear of failure. I don't like setting myself up to fail. When I choose to take something on, I generally like to have the opinion that it's something I can handle. NaNo scares me. What if I say I'm going to do it but I can't?

Something I'm learning right now is that I have limitations as a human being. The lesson I seem to have to learn over and over is that I am not the general manager of the universe: If I beg off, the earth will keep spinning. My actions (or lack thereof) will not lead to the destruction of the entirety of existence.

I know this seems like a silly lesson to have to learn, but it's one that my brain oftentimes refuses to accept.

So, how does this tie in to NaNo? Simply this: I've decided to ignore the voice that cringes at the though of committing myself to writing 50,000 in 30 days, the voice that demands, "What if it's too much? What if you can't do it?" I'm attempting to change my mindset. What if I don't finish? For real? Will the NaNo cops come get me? Will I be shunned from society? Will my cats refuse to snuggle with me ever again? No. Of course not. If I don't hit 50,000 words by November 30, the world will still be here on December 1. Will I have failed at the challenge I set for myself? Sure. Is it that big a deal? No. Will I have more words written by then than I do now? I hope so.

So, here, I suppose, is to hope. And grace.

And now, I should get back to grading things so that I can spend time writing later today.

Wish me luck.

***

Is there something in your life you're putting off doing because you're afraid you might fail? What is it? Do you think you can be brave like me and attempt it anyway? I'd appreciate some company on my journey.