meet the new boss, same as the old boss

So here’s a quick status update since I’ve been absolutely absent for a while.

My university’s fall semester ended 13 December and spring semester started 11 January. While I didn’t write as much for Love in the Ruins as I would’ve liked to during the break, I did do a lot of plot planning and organisation. I deleted a bunch of stuff, figured out where flashbacks go, and stared at the timeline until my vision blurred. About a year ago when I was first starting to write this story, I had about the same number of words I do now. Evaluating progress by word count, I’ve gone backward.

It happens. Sometimes you write 40k then realise 20k of it is shit, or went in a direction you change your mind about. In my case, it also just happens that I went through a series of events (maybe I just grew up a little? who knows) that caused my perspective to change a lot. In short, I didn’t really understand people and how to talk to or connect to them before, but now I have at least a little understanding. When rereading what I’d written, I found myself not agreeing with what the characters did and said. It was a bit like getting to know them all over again looking through the eyes of a more socially aware person.

Guess what that means! Yeah, the first 12 chapters, which I’ve rewritten again and again, were pretty much rewritten again. I basically figured out what I actually want and re-outlined the whole thing. I mapped out how all the characters are related, wrote up detailed personality charts for them, and set up templates I could use to track how they change over the course of the story.

I also did something really wild, something I never do… I wrote out of order. I’m sure you can imagine that with all that planning or staring at timelines, I got sick of it and wanted to write something, but couldn’t write the scene that came directly after where I was stuck. So I put on some haunting music and wrote a scary flashback scene. Honestly, the flashbacks were so helpful in allowing me to just get something down, since those are plug ‘n play.

The new goal is about 30k shorter at 50k, but we’ll see what happens. I’m still drowning in coursework, and being an English major means lots of writing already. I have to take a full load of courses in the summer to graduate on time since a bunch of credits didn’t transfer so I can’t even look forward to having a break for just writing until next winter break… There’s also my part-time job, and I’m not often in the writer headspace once I get home from work, so I’m writing maybe 200-300 words every three days right now. Slowly but surely.

Funnily enough, my musical muse has decided to come back, though. I’ve been playing guitar hours a day without realising hours have passed and have come up with a bunch of new songs.

Driven released today!

Driven is officially available in digital and print! Honestly, I can’t believe it’s already December, let alone that I’m releasing my third book. I’m glad I finally get to share this story with you all!

Fantastic Fiction Ebook / Print
AllRomanceEbooks
Amazon Kindle

There’s also a release party this Thursday, 10 December, from 5PM – 7PM PST (8PM – 10PM EST). There’ll be teasers and a chance to win a free ebook copy of Driven. Anyone 18+ is free to join, so come say hi if you have time.

November and Chill

It’s been a wild October. November is going to be both more and less chill.

Because of the way I have my class schedule set up, I was taking four courses at once the last two weeks of October. This left no time left over for…pretty much everything. Add financial issues with my school, my part-time job, plus elderly family members who depend on this reliable Capricorn over here, and you get a Very Stressed-Out Nick. Suffice it to say that Love in the Ruins did not get done. There were ideas brainstormed, scenes mapped out, whole chapters edited, but no new words. November is all about changing that.

I’m only taking two courses for the rest of the semester, which ends around 13 December (5 days after Driven is released, whoo!). One of those courses, Speech 100, I have to take because a communications course wasn’t required to graduate from my community college, so guess who didn’t take it. The other, Writing 101, I have to take because, well. The CC took my score of 3 on the English AP test and let me take higher-level English classes, but the university I’m at now only accepts 4’s and 5’s on the AP. So even though they did accept my upper-level English credits (all of which I got A’s in), I technically didn’t meet the entry-level college writing prerequisite. Which is some shit, but what can you do.

So, because the coursework load should be less of a strain for the remainder of the year, Love in the Ruins is gonna get some serious attention. The frantic scramble to get all my assignments done those last two weeks of October? That’ll be all of November, but with the pressure put on the book. So yeah, less chill on one side, more chill on the other. My mental state is gonna be so awesome after this.

What I’ve done so far, 5 days into November… After doing the last read-through of Driven before publication, I did mostly more brainstorming. As I’ve said before, these books are different genres and so require drastically different mindsets that I have to work to get myself in. Thinking about the book and its characters, getting myself mentally there takes a couple days by itself. I did a thing I haven’t done in a while and hand wrote a bunch of stuff, including a map. I forgot how much I enjoy it.

The book has had 12 chapters (about 30k words) for a while, and these 12 chapters have been edited and re-edited a few times. Why? I’m not the type to edit as I write, and I don’t have the problem of being a compulsive editor. But with new ideas and plans that were thought up after 30k has already been written, it means a whole bunch of scenes need to be gone over again with some of this new knowledge in mind. For example, some of the new characters who are introduced were given entirely new backgrounds, and the size of the main setting (Haven) was reduced. I’ve gone over these same chapters so many times, each time adding or removing things that I changed my mind about, and I can’t move forward until they’re addressed.

After that, December calls for starting edits on Top Notch. Should be easier since the main foundation of the story is already there. That, and I won’t be in school for half of the month, so it can have my full-ish attention.

Driven – Cover Reveal, Excerpt, and Pre-order Link

The cover for my next upcoming book, Driven, was revealed at the release party for Love is for the Living last night, and today it’s all official~

It’s muchly pretty so be sure to have a look. Sinfully…Addicted to All Male Romance has it up here and KathyMac Reviews also posted it, along with an excerpt.

Driven is now available for pre-order from Fantastic Fiction Publishing.

Love is for the Living – Cover Reveal and Pre-order Links

Happy Wednesday all. I’m so excited to announce that the cover for my next book, Love is for the Living, has finally been revealed! Much thanks to the folks who designed and created this lovely thing. Go check it out at Sinfully…Addicted to All Male Romance.

LIFTL_sinfullybanner

Agony Tate also hosted a cover reveal at her blog, along with an advance review of the book! So if you were wondering what’s been said about it so far or want some idea of what to expect, be sure to go have a look.

Have no idea what I’m talking about? Besides the book’s page on this site, a summary and excerpt are available at ForbiddenFiction, along with book and content information. (I’ll tell you right now the most extreme thing as far as content goes is probably violence/gore, but I mean, zombie apocalypse, duh.)

You can pre-order Love is for the Living at Fantastic Fiction Publishing, AllRomance, Smashwords, or Amazon now! It’ll be released October 13, 2015, just in time for your Halloween reading.

Don’t suppose you know any good mechanics?

Camp-Winner-2015 I finished another revision of Driven, and, well, it was mostly rewritten. Where I initially planned to spend the month of July writing the second book in the Albion Rising series, Love in the Ruins, I instead spent it editing. Quick word count rundown through the editing process:

  • Draft started with about 80,000 words.
  • I deleted chapters 18-27 (the whole ending), knocking it down to about 54,000.
  • Went back up to the beginning, rearranged the first three chapters, and then ~writerly shenanigans~ happened as I started going through. Eventually it got back up to around 86,000.
  • Then I deleted a bunch more in the middle and it went down to 67,000.
  • In the end? About 84,000.
  • I’m not good at maths, but that’s maybe 49,000 words rewritten? My goal for July’s Camp NaNo was 80k—not to write that much, but to have a final word count of at least that on the draft, since it started out that length. A well-earned win, I’d say.

Because so much new work was done on Driven, this means the publication date’s pushed back even more to allow for another round of edits. Love is for the Living will actually be published first, and the release date is currently set for October 13.  I saw the cover art for it yesterday and it’s brilliant.

As for what happens next, I really will begin working on Love in the Ruins. Starting on Monday of course, because even if I didn’t think a break was deserved after over a month of nonstop editing, there’s no way my brain is up to the task of jumping into another intense project just yet. I never did get around to planning the rest of the story arc either, because the Driven edits came back first. Probably all of Monday (and Tuesday, lbr) will be spent brainstorming just what the hell is going to happen, making notes, doing research, and putting things down on the timeline.

Speaking of research, I am so done with UK settings after this, at least for a while. It wasn’t just the time I spent on Google Earth, either (or asking my friends questions like, “Wait…dungarees?”). One of the main characters in Driven, Mitchell, has a Scouse accent, and there are literally so many different variations, as well as sources that claim to be the “real Scouse accent” that it nearly drove me up the wall. If it wasn’t critical to the character’s background I would’ve scrapped the whole thing. I’ve always preferred setting stories in fictional towns and cities anyway, which is what I did with Top Notch.  Luckily, the apocalyptic wasteland of the Albion Rising books provides a way to have new settlements pop up, so I’ll be able to play with locations even though it’s still in Britain.

News, Updates, Changes, Developments

Time for some news! I took a short break from writing this past weekend to travel to Philadelphia with friends, and also won’t have much time to write this weekend because of family/friend birthdays and DC Pride. But overall, I’ve been regularly productive since I last posted. Once all the social obligations are out of the way for this week I can get back into the swing of things and get the words flowing again.

Updates… Well, the new Forbidden Fiction website finally launched! There were some setbacks, but now it’s all sleek and new. They’ve already started serialising stories, and there’s free erotica to be had, and it’s just awesome. I’ve even got a swanky new author profile~

With the majority of attention being directed to the publisher’s new website, the release date for Driven has been pushed back from this month to August. Wouldn’t have wanted a rushed editing job amongst all the commotion with the site renovations, so this is an opportunity to come back to it and give it the attention it deserves. I’m sure the final result will reflect that!

Very excited to finally get it published and out there. While I had fun writing and working on Behind Locked Doors, it’s not my usual type of story. Historical is not my “thing,” but all writers have genres they want to play around in from time to time (or at least they should, if they’re any good). I think Driven is a more accurate example of my “usual.” Not just because it’s contemporary, but because it’s a bit dark. I love violence, gore, horror, thriller, etc. and there’s considerably more of it in Driven than in morally-refined-Victorian-era Behind Locked Doors.

Also some developments on This is the Way the World Ends, which, like Driven, has undergone a working title change. The series is now going by Albion Rising, with the first book as Love is for the Living. (If you poke around on the site, you’ll see I changed some of the pages to account for this as well.) Does this make you think “love in the time of zombies?” Hopefully it does, because that’s the point. (But don’t let the cliché/romcom-ness fool you; it’s still about zombies so it’s even more dark and violent than Driven.) The new working title for the second book, Love in the Ruins, is also meant to emphasise the theme of loving in a time of apocalyptic struggle. Later this month is probably when I’ll sit down to outline a bit more of the plot, that way when I do Camp NaNo again in July I’ll have a clear plan of where the story is going and can jump right into it.

With regards to Top Notch, I did decide to combine the original 9k short story with the 40k sequel into one novel. Because the sequel takes place a few months after the short story, I’m thinking a chapter to bridge the gap should do the trick. So even though I’ve “finished” writing the sequel, I’ve still got one last thing to do before wrapping it up and sending it off to the publisher. A couple friends did suggest just adding “Three Months Later,” but that may be cheating just a little. Besides, it’s a good opportunity to show character development and not just state it, which is always fun. I also need to do one last read-through anyway.

May

April’s over and so is Camp NaNo. I ended up not meeting my goal of 25k, mostly because school and other minor obligations got in the way. There was also a period where I lacked the motivation and then suddenly it was somehow almost May. I plan on July being better, mostly because it has to be.

A friend mentioned that she realised she had no idea what I was doing, so I thought I’d post a bit of a status update. It has been more than a month. (Which, wow, I still can’t believe.)

Because lists are awesome, here’s the list of things I’m working on:

  1. Top Notch 2.0 (the version of the story told from Lucas’s POV…and obviously not the real title should I choose to publish this version, lol)
  2. Stunted (the sequel to Top Notch)
  3. Driven
  4. This is the Way the World Ends
  5. Edge of Endor

On the subject of Edge of Endor, I’ve started watching The 100 and Peaky Blinders, both of which have been giving me ideas for the plot. That’s why I want to get back to it so badly. The number of notes I’ve made for it just gets higher and higher, and it seems like everything I see inspires a new idea. The most significant is probably that I chose to tell it from multiple characters’ points of view. It’ll make for a better story and be good for character development. God, I love character development.

April – Camp NaNoWriMo

So I’ve signed up to do Camp NaNoWriMo this April, and am going to do the July session as well when that comes up. I’ve done NaNoWriMo two years now (and didn’t win the second go-round because I was in the midst of doing more editing than writing) but this’ll be my first time doing the camp. I’m a bit anxious about dedicating  a whole month to the project I’ve settled on, because there are so many things to be worked on (not even including coursework) and I wonder if I’ll find the time. Like this past NaNo season, there are edits, edits, edits in my near future, though it does help that I can set my own goal.

Starting at the top and working my way down the list of writerly things: there’s the final few edits on Driven to be done, which haven’t come back from the editor yet. When I was first told it would be on the way, I sort of floated around in a non-productive haze waiting for the email, because if I let my mind get into a mindset for a world it’ll take a day or two to pull out and get fully engrossed in a different one. Though the best thing for me to have been writing at the moment was the sequel to This is the Way the World Ends, I didn’t dare delve back into it because the edits for Driven could’ve come back literally any day, and then I’d have to do an abrupt mental readjustment. Why start when I’d just as soon have to yank myself out and stop?

But, after maybe two days of consideration, I felt I should work on something. There was a dream I’d had a few weeks before and had frantically taken notes on before it could escape my mind completely, and thus the outline for Top Notch was born. So, thinking a short story was a safe enough thing to play around with while I waited for the email, I set to writing it. After finishing it and still not having heard back, I waited another few days and finally gave in to writing a sequel.

The sequel, which is currently titled “Stunted,” is now maybe three or four chapters from being finished, and then I’ll finally feel like I can put these characters to rest. But here’s the thing: after writing the climax, the words suddenly stopped coming, or at the very least were being elusive. (Haha, climax, coming, I crack myself up.) A few chapters back I’d considered the idea of rewriting the entire thing (the original short story included) from the other main character’s POV, as a sort of exercise to get in his head better, which is what I then decided to do. So far it’s been fun, and it’s definitely interesting getting to tell Lucas’s side of the story. I have no doubt that when I’ve come full circle it’ll be easy to pick up where I left off with Casey.

In addition to Driven, This is the Way the World Ends also needs a bit of touching up. The current ending needs a little extra something and is a bit of a cliffhanger, hence the minor rush on the sequel. Yet another mindset jump to prepare for. I’ve done the same dance for months now, though, not just between these two stories but with Behind Locked Doors as well. With a well-planned schedule, taking into account the time I’ll need to mentally adjust, I know it’s doable.

It does lead to a bit of Camp NaNo nerves, though, which is why I nearly didn’t sign up. At the moment, I’ve put down the Top Notch retelling as the novel I’ll be working on, setting a relatively low goal of 25000 words. (Stunted is already 30k, and since Top Notch is 9k, 25k is actually under my expectations for the whole retelling.) Because there’s certainly no rush on anything to do with Top Notch, it’ll simply be a fun activity to do while I wait for Driven edits, and since I don’t expect the editing process to take the whole month, it’ll continue to be a fun background activity.

The problem arises with the Worlds End edits. Should those come back in the month of April, I’d have to drop everything Top Notch. With my mind already in the apocalypse headspace, it’d be the ideal time to work on the sequel again. What happens to the Camp NaNo novel then?

What I’ve done the past two years (during which I wrote fanfiction for it) I simply listed my novel as “various fanfictions,” knowing I’d be writing multiple stories totalling at least 50k, but no single one-shots that long. If it comes to it this time, I may have to do something similar. It would certainly be less anxiety-inducing than committing myself to a single project.

The July camp session, however… I’ve already planned for that to be entirely zombies. I’ll be out of school, and since Driven currently has an estimated release for June, that’s likely to be out of the way as well.

In summary: I’m doing the Camp NaNoWriMo thing and as usual there are hella irons in the fire.