Monday, May 30, 2011

Weekend Update: "Darkness" and ROW80

Wow! What a week. It's excellent to be back on the Interwebs and approaching something resembling a normal routine again. Here's a slice of my writing life as I move forward with ROW80 goals:

Writing/ editing:
I pretty much spent the past month or so engaged in some pretty intensive manuscript redux. I'm not going to lie: it was painful, but also satisfying because I could feel myself becoming a better writing. Kind of like when your muscles are sore from working out, but at least you have muscles, right?
So I can definitely say I reached that ROW80 goal. I thought, hey. I edited and formatted my tail feathers off, so I can take the rest of the week and not write or edit. Goal met. That lasted a couple of days. Friday night, D found me hiding under the blankets like a kid after lights out with a pen and small notebook.
"What are you doing?"
"Uh, making a grocery list?"
"In paragraph form?"
Busted. I was, in fact, frantically scribbling down ideas which were coming hot and heavy. Several of them. Apparently, even editing counts as some kind of creative fallow period for my brain, because I had a lot of ideas. Too many. And now I'm kind of left wondering which direction to go. Obviously there's the third and final "Gifts" book. I also have The Resurrection of Blake House, a sort-of ghost story that's already pretty close to finished. But oh, the sexy new ideas. Some of them aren't even that new. They just got sexier as I scribbled furiously under my blanket. I've never really tried working on more than one story idea at a time, so I don't know how that would work out. Some people seem to manage it fine. The plan is to finish Blake House and get it out quickly- this summer- before finishing the "Gifts" trilogy to release late summer/ early Fall. In the meantime, I'll just flesh out the sexy new(er) ideas and see what happens. ROW80 III draws nigh, after all.

I have learned the value of having some spare posts in the queue. If I'd been able to do that, I wouldn't have fallen off the face of the earth with my blogging while I was sprinting towards the finish line. Being a writer, writing has to come first. I have no regrets about that. But I could also utilize Blogger's auto-schedule feature if I had some things lined up. So here's to being better prepared next time.

Reading/ reviews:
It's a real sign of how focused I was that I didn't read much at all during my Internet break. What reading I did accomplish happened when I collapsed in bed, but before my brain shut off. Still, I managed to read a few things. Among them:

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Books released with as much hype as this one almost always automatically annoy me.
Guess what? This one more than lives up to the hype.
Divergent is one of the best books of the year. It can hold it own against the entire Hunger Games trilogy any day, and I love the Hunger Games. It's exciting times for YA Dystopian, and Divergent is the best entry into this category all year.

The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1)The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers series so much. I have high hopes for this series, and in many ways, it delivered exactly what I've come to love about her YA writing. The characters were well developed, the relationships complex, the world building nuanced. I especially liked the way she set this one in rural Canada. The setting was amazing. Armstrong is Canadian herself, and I don't know if that accounts for why the setting just seemed so much stronger than her Summoning series, which was set in New York and its environs.
What I didn't like, and can only wait for the sequel to pick up, was the way the book just ended without any real conflict. I don't mind a cliffhanger ending at all, but I put the book down without any clear sense of who the bad guys are. I mean, who am I supposed to be rooting for, and why, exactly? So the plot failed to develop for me there at the end.

In my TBR pile: Jessica Sorensen's The Fallen Star; Amy Plum's Die for Me; V.J. Chamber's Brighter.

I've got the whole new-book-just-released thing going on. My head kind spins when I think about it. I'm really blessed in that my books seem to be doing really well on their own. I know how amazing that is and I'm really grateful for it. But I'm also looking ahead to see what I can do for the series. Not just to increase sales or anything like that, but because I'd like to do right by my readers and give my future books the best starts they can get.
One thing I mean is that I keep getting emails from people who want to know where they can buy my books in print, and I have to tell them they're not available yet. I have to admit, I find the idea of print mildly terrifying. But enough people have asked me for print versions that I'm starting to develop a guilt complex. One lady who has the ebooks already wants physical copies because she "wants to get me when I'm starting out." Um, terrifying much? But a lot of people still don't have e readers or labor under the mysterious delusion that reading on a Nook or Kindle will hurt their eyes like a backlit computer screen. So... I'm looking into print.
Also: fun swag, updating my website with new playlists, contacting book bloggers, cross-promotion, having an actual advertising/ marketing budget (!?!), and buying a Nook.
What? Buying a Nook? Yes, Barnes and Noble is a really strange market. Volatile. Mysterious. One month I absolutey swamped my Amazon sales there. Lately? Nada. Most writer friends just roll their eyes heavenward when asked about the vagaries of the B&N market. So I thought about buying a Nook and getting cozy with it. Maybe, if I wine and dine it, it will unlock the secrets of the B&N universe for me. First, I'll try the Don Juan approach. If it doesn't fall madly in love with me and tell me how to crack the B&N market, then I'll have to move on to less pleasant methods. I'll make it read long boring texts aloud while listening to muzak until it begs for mercy.
Of course, I could save my money (and dubious sanity) and just do some research. Maybe I'll try that first. :)

Well. It's good to be back. I hope everyone's having an excellent week, and will continue to do so. For those of us here in the U.S., Happy Memorial Day.


  1. YES! I felt like they left off a couple of chapters in the Gathering. Like they were supposed to get hijacked on their way to wherever it was they were escaping to or something. Either way, I look forward to seeing where the next one picks up.

  2. Wait! Wait! The next Gifts book is out?! DUDE HOW DID I MISS THAT? :goes to buy immediately:

  3. @Kait- Talk about a soft release! :) I do want to plug it more. Amazon seems to have had an off week, to put it mildly, and I need it to fix itself before I can really do what I want with the new book. It was a real struggle just getting it uploaded, and I'm still waiting on them to fix some things. Grr.
    In The Gathering I just want to know if the town is run by good guys or bad guys. That's all. It's not too much to ask. That info would seriously impact the creepiness level.

  4. I haven't read Divergent yet, but my to-read list is soooo very long, it might be a while till I get to it, although it sounds interesting, and somewhat similar to my newest book, in a few minor ways. I do love a strong female character.

    I hope your sequel book sales pick up, and that the Amazon break down doesn't last too long. :)