Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Update: Making Word Count

1. I made it! I finally met a whole week of word count goal! I'd been kind of waffling between last round's goal of 4k and my new count of 6k, and let me tell you, 6k was a bit brutal. I'm going to see if it get easier this upcoming week, because I'm not yet ready to face the possibility of adjusting that goal.
2. Posted all three blogs, including that hard-to-do Friday post. (Pretty purple new releases, anyone?) Could do a better job checking in with ROW80 peeps this week. I also did a minor blog redesign and expanded the "About" section to include common Q&As, and made sure I put up an explanation of why Blood Redemption isn't out yet and when people can expect it.
3. Getting ready for the IBC's Free Par-Tay, where you can rack up a bunch of free books including mine, we're also having a special Bestseller for a Day where all books are free!
4. The second installment of my serial went live this Friday! It's still crazy, thinking about having a serial of my own, but I'm working hard to keep up with demand. Maybe that's why word count was so tricky this week! It's not only word count, it's keeping more than one work balanced in my head.
5. I got to this weird point where I was totally incapable of reading this week. It was weird, because I'm halfway through Chelsea Fine's Anew, which I love so far, but something just happened where I couldn't look at my Kindle for one more second. I think it may have something to do with fiction overload. I have about three story lines going on in my head at the moment, and I think I just got overloaded. Instead, I started watching NBC's Grimm, a show I decided I love. I haven't gotten to watch it because it comes on the same time as Fringe, so thank god for on demand. It was kind of fun- I don't watch a lot of TV, so it was a nice break, and its a really creative take on The Brothers Grimm mythology.
Hope everyone's having a great week meeting their goals!

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Releases in Awesome!

I ran into two brand new releases this week that I really loved, so I thought I'd share them in case anyone's spending the weekend looking for new reads.
The first, JL Bryan's Fairy Blues, is a continuation of his Songs of Magic series. I helped edit it, so any mistakes are on me!
1. The sequel to Fairy Metal Thunder
   With their enchanted instruments charming the crowds, the Assorted Zebras attract interest from record producers, and soon they’re off to cut their first album and music video. Jason and his friends don’t know they’ve just become pawns in a sinister plot by a cabal of evil fairies... 
   Meanwhile, Aoide and her band pursue a new strategy for regaining their stolen instruments, one that will take them into the most haunted region in Faerie.

2. The second, Chelsea Fine's Anew, is a really recent discovery for me. As in yesterday! I was so pulled in by the beginning that I actually put down Becca Fitzpatrick's Crescendo to read it:
Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery...until she met a boy with a familiar voice. 
   Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet's determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he's kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer. 
   Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet's world becomes even more muddled. While she's instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she's impossibly drawn to Tristan--and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past...might just be the death of her. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Halfway There Update

It's shaping up to be a good week so far:
1. Word count stands right at 3000, which is half my goal for the week. Since this is midweek, there is hope I will make it!
2. Good reviews on my new novella, Worlds Burn Through:
is a good example. I <3 The Page Turner!
3. Rolling along with the IBC, I'm getting ready to be a part of a really fun event slated for the beginning of February called Free Par-Tay where you get lots of books. For free. Free is fun, right? Details forthcoming!
4. Managed to do all my blog updates so far. Now I just have to get the Friday one in, and I'll be disco.
5. Checkin' in with half the ROW80 peeps I'm aiming to so far.
6. Reading- ok, yes, I should do something besides read, probably, but I can't help it. I don't watch tv, rarely go to the movies, and generally spend all my time writing or editing, so reading is my vice, ok? Worse than ice cream. This week, I read Hush Hush for the first time. What took me so long? I loved loved loved it. Working on Crescendo now.
Lots of edits ahead of me still, a meeting, and a delicious strawberry crunch cake for working through the night (It's almost 6 pm here.) Plus the always fabulous Alabama Shakes are playing KCRW live. It's been, as Hemingway would say, a damn fine day. Hope all is well with the ROW! 'Til Sunday, -V

Sunday, January 22, 2012


It's rather dreary for winter in the south. Warm- in the 60s- but gray with just a bite of rain in the air. This is the kind of weather I normally love, and not at all typical for January. Normally this weather would find me curled up with a book and a blanket, and maybe a juice spritzer (too warm for tea, really.) But today I can't settle, either mentally or physically. I keep casting longing glances at my studio, even though today is the day I'm supposed to ignore that little voice that tells me I had better be working.
Does anyone else have that little voice? Do you know the one I'm talking about?
Does anyone else feel the world is a little grayer when you're not actively writing or pursuing the act of writing? 'Cause today I do- I have a major (for me) release out that's something like two days old. I have guest posts to write, bloggers to approach, things to edit, a serial to write every week, the sequel to the current release to send off, countless little book maintenance things, and blah blah blah. And every moment that I'm not doing something on this list feels a little screwy. And then there's the pressure of doing well- early reviews are good, requests for ARCs are brisk, and for the first time I've been uploaded to NetGalley and had (I was told) a slew of requests. All of this is good, but I still have that squirmy, better-be-writing feeling. I guess what I'm saying is that nothing, neither success nor failure nor simple ho-hum has much of an impact on this squirmy gray feeling of never enough.
Sometimes I wish I had a nice quiet life making lattes somewhere. 
But writing is something I literally must do. Every single time I've taken a break from writing, or decided I couldn't do it, for whatever reason, my life explodes in my face. And so- back to the treadmill, knowing I'm fortunate to be on it at all. 
I don't intend for this to sound like a bunch of complaining. Like I said, I do feel fortunate to be on the treadmill at all. Chalk it up to meditations for a gray day, and maybe I'll manage to actually take today off, a fact I will celebrate with Godiva should I manage it.
As for accountability, I lost all of the first of the week scaling Mt. Editing. I can gratefully say I've caught up so that I'm doing a little better than treading water on that front, so I don't expect it to slow me down quite so much. As far as my own writing goes, I finished the almost-final draft of the second book in the Chronicles of Nowhere series. I'm waiting to hear from betas, but unless something is drastically wrong that I can't see, I anticipate being done with it. So that's an almost 35,000 word novella I finished this week, with a wc of probably 4,000 original words this week alone. That's still on average with the last round, but not quite up to my new goal of 6,000 per week. However. Since I now have a serial going, I expect to be able to meet this easily going forward. 
I managed to do an epic amount of reading, considering. Reading really is one of the few ways I manage to relax without feeling guilty because, after all, it's research, right? :) I finished Cate Tiernan's Immortal Beloved series, which was excellent, and read Kelly Creagh's Nevermore. Responding to ROW80 participants was a bit of a fail, but I did read a half-dozen blogs. I just didn't add to the commentary, which I will try to fix this week. I am happy to report I managed to keep up with all my blogging goals, including that difficult-to-fit-in Friday blog. 
That's really all the important stuff as far as ROW80 goals go. Considering how slammed I've been this week, I suppose it works out. And hopefully next week will be even better.
I wanted to take a minute and thank everyone who's stopped by and offered their support, and especially everyone who read my serialized novel over at and gave me such positive feedback. It really meant a lot to have the support of The Row! Thank you guys, and see you at the next check-in! -V

Friday, January 20, 2012

Super Huge Release Day!

Three amazing things happening, and all in one day! It's super-mega release day here at The Ides of March, with a new novella launching along with the first chapter of my serialized fiction!  As if that's wasn't enough, there's also a guest post over at Savvy Verse and Wit featuring my interview of the rock band Glossary's singer/songwriter Joey Knieser! Check it out here. 

In the meantime, here's a link to the new book on Amazon,

Chloe Burke wakes up screaming most nights, haunted by nightmares of a world burned to ash. Underneath the dreams lurks a deeply buried reality; Chloe and a handful of others, including an enigmatic protector named Eliot Gray, are survivors of a decade old apocalypse that burned their home world to the ground.

Now their ancient enemies hunt them again. To keep their adopted world safe from annihilation at the hands of the Abandoned, powerful elemental creatures that burn through world after world in an endless cycle of consumption and destruction, Chloe must undergo a ritual of blood sacrifice. Eliot must keep her alive long enough to do it. Together they uncover secrets buried in the past's deepest, darkest ashes.

and a link to the new serial on Curiosity Quills! Step on over and have a read- it's free!

Sasha Alexander has a powerful ability.
Either that, or she’s dangerously mad. She isn’t always sure which.
Her father shrouds her in isolation, convinced he’s protecting her from the same madness that took her mother. But the seven impossible guardians that only she can see insist she’s gifted. Her companions since her mother’s suicide a decade ago, they protect her from hurt, pain and fear.
They also keep her from feeling love.
Sasha doesn’t know how to react when Noah explodes through her defenses. This strange young man with the scarred hands suddenly makes her feel again. And she wants more. More of Noah, of his wakening touch. But the guardians don’t want to lose their decade-long hold, while her father despises Noah on sight.
Sasha risks exposing Noah to a world that would cheerfully see him dead. But unless she can learn to control her own emotions, the biggest danger to them all may be Sasha herself.

Thanks to everyone for being here on this most exciting of days! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Midweek Update: Serialized Fiction Release

Not much to update today- I've spent the week thus far climbing Mt. Editing. I hope to be caught up by tonight so I can get back to my regularly scheduled program: writing for three of the remaining four days.

In other writing-related news, it's no surprise that my new series launches on the 20th- I've posted covers, had breakdowns, and so on. What's completely slipped by me somehow is the simultaneous release of my weekly serial, Daughter of Glass, which takes place in my Whitfield universe. It also launches on the 20th. I'll be doing a post at a later date about serialized fiction and what it means for both the writer and the writing world in which we find ourselves, but for now I'll just say I'm shocked this hasn't been more of a big deal to me. From now on I'm responsible for turning in a complete, brand-spanking new, well edited chapter every single week. Yeeps. I'm really excited, but I don't think the significance of this really hit me until this week. Not sure why- maybe because a book launch just seems bigger.

At any rate, please do check it out if you get the chance. Every week we'll have a fresh new installment for you, in addition to other serials CQ is running that are pretty darn good. Check them out here and have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Update and Such

A quick and dirty update today- I have let myself get swamped under with editing and really have to focus on that for a while. Probably the rest of the day, at the very least. Oddly, I used to be able to read and edit under almost any kind of condition; television, conversations, children bickering- it didn't used to matter. Now, however, I find that I need total quiet to be able to do this, which is extremely odd and unsettling for me. I mean, I write with music blaring, and that doesn't give me problems. Why should editing and reading be different? Odd. I'm headed out after an early dinner to go soak up the pin-drop ambiance of our local library.
It's also come to my attention that I need to get better at record-keeping. It's hard to know exactly how many words I wrote this week; I just write them, and sit back and look at the total word count at the end of the chapter or short story or whatever. This means that sometimes, esp. if I've done work on a chapter before, it winds up getting counted into the overall word count. I wonder if a system that doesn't count edited-out words into total word count would work better?
Not sure. But what I'm doing so far is what I've got and I'm sticking with it: This week I added 2500 words to a short story to finish it completely, I wrote about 1000 words on a guest post that's going up next week, and I just turned in two roughly 2,000 word chapters, for a total of 4,000 words. However, these last two are giving me problems, because i worked on them before, and I'm not sure how much of that is new or old. I'm going to go with a good middle figure and count half, so 2,000 words? Oh well. No matter how I slice this was a good week for getting things written, finalized, and turned in, so that's what really counts in my book. I'll continue to try to tweak a better system as far as word count goes.
Blogging's going well- I'm excited about the upcoming guest post. It feature the rock band Glossary- I got them to talk about books! So it explores the connection between books and music from the musician's point of view, and will be posted on the blog Savvy Verse and Wit on the 20th- the same day as two releases! (Choke.) That's going to be a busy damn day. I kept up with my other blogging responsibilities except for this goal I have of adding a Friday blog. Total fail there. Will have to work on that. Finished a book earlier in the week, thank goodness, because I haven't had a chance to read since then. And things I'm editing don't count!
Ok, really have to go, Daniel cooked an amazing early dinner so I could go away and edit later. Hope everyone is having a good week, and see you all soon! -V

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Midweek Update: Surviving the Radio Show

I survived the radio show!
Betcha didn't know how terrified I was beforehand. That's why I didn't tell many people about it. I actually thought about cancelling due to severe anxiety attack, but it all worked out in the end.
One of the questions? "How do you deal with fame as an author?"
I did my best to answer that, but I'm still not sure they weren't joking. Me? Bwahahaha.
Thanks to everyone who called in or listened to support me. I can't thank you enough, although before hand I would have begged you not to be present at my imminent humiliation.
Ok, enough of that. It's Wednesday, the ROW80 midweek update, and I have some accountability to report:
1. Word count: somewhere in the neighborhood of 2500. I wound up finishing a short story for anthology I got invited to do this spring, and that knocks out one of my WIP goals too! Now if I can just make that much progress on everything else...
2. Books: I read Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I liked it- not the bestest, but good. Thinking of picking up The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater next.
3. Responses to fellow ROW80ers: I still have four out of five of these to do. Bad me! But the week's not over, so there's time.
4. I have a mountain of editing still to do. I may have to sacrifice an entire writing day to catch up on this, which will make me very cranky. On the upside, I have managed to write something everyday this week.
5. I'll combine these, because they pretty much all have to do with the IBC, but I did my duty by Twitter, and my guest post is still up. It's about my 1 yr Indieversary, which you can read about here:
6. Really excited about the book coming out. I've given out several several eARCS and can't wait to see what people think!!! Excitement abounds at the Keire household.
I think that's it, but I also feel like I'm forgetting something. Tune in Friday when I start my new post themed "Tales From Small Town Bohemia," where I explore how to survive with your creative spirit intact in a small, conservative Southern town. (Hint: it involves flowy skirts and graveyards, among other things). Also, my family is a bigger part of this one, because hey, all us creative spirits flock together and reproduce in order to better program the future...
You know what? Never mind where I was going with that. I'll just see you on Friday, if you feel like stopping by. Until then, best wishes and good books! -V

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Update and Cover Peek

Just a quick check-in with Row80 stuff. I've had an insanely busy week so far. My newest series launches on JAN. 14th! Sorry, I know all caps are rude, but I'm that excited and nervous. I finally have a cover to reveal, and I spent a good part of the week writing the acknowledgements, putting on finishing touches, and communicating with the publisher. It's been totally insane. I'm doing an "official" cover reveal at a later date, but here's a sneak peek at what my baby will look like, and I have to say, I'm in puppy love with this cover:
 (Wipes eyes) It's always so surreal to see things coming together. I keep saying it, but I really think this is the best thing I've ever written. I've certainly poured the most of "myself" into it. What's really cool is that I already have the next book finished. It's in edits now. 

Interested in an eArc? They are now officially available from the publisher, and I have some I can give out in almost every format out there. If you're interested in a copy drop me a line at or leave me a comment. 

As far as ROW80 goes, it's been a mix of success and failure. Fails include:
1. Twitter: I have banked no tweets at all, and have barely communicated about anything since mid-week. Oh well. What can you do but try harder next time?
2. Posting: I missed Wednesday's post, and got swamped under on Friday, so I've missed my blogging mark this week.
3. Didn't really use many "formal" planning materials this week, but I did do my quick outlines and organizational bullets before I started each scene. Maybe this is more of a mixed fail than a total one. 
4. I've only responded to about half the blogs I wanted to this week, but there's still time! :)

What I did right:
1. A word count of 4,326. This is shy of my 6,000 word goal but it's over last round's average of 4,000, so I'm counting this as progress. I also did writing in areas other than fiction and did not count the words I wracked up editing, so maybe I'm closer to 6,000 than I'm figuring, but I'll stick with my 4,326 and be happy.
2. Reading: Apparently, this is something I have to do to stay sane. I read the absolutely sublime The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff and cannot recommend it enough. Her writing is highly stylized, so it's not for everyone, but if you like Franny Billingsley's Chime or Brenna's last offering, The Replacement, then you'll like this. 
3. I'm certainly doing my duty by the IBC. I coordinated their massive event Bestseller for a Day, and wrote a guest blog for Monday. I'll also be appearing on their blog talk radio show, so please tune in and/or send some good wishes my way so I don't blather like an idiot!
4. Editing. Good lord. I'm building a permanent camp at the top of Mt. Editing this week so I can be more comfortable, I swear. 

I think that's everything. Don't forget eArcs if you're interested, and please God send me good vibrations on Tuesday, when I make a radio appearance. I get soooo nervous about such things. Thanks for everyone's support during this whole crazy book process!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Row80, Round 1: Back Again

It's so hard to believe that this time last year I had just released my first novel. I also joined in a writing challenge by an Indie author I admired- Row80, and the writer was Kait Nolan. Four rounds, one year, and three novels later, I am back for more.
I'm not the type to make resolutions, so here are a collection of goals for 2012, broken down into Row80 sized chunks:
1. Write 6,000 words per week. Last round I managed about 4,000 per week, and I think I can up the ante a little bit. Correction: I must up the ante a bit, given the publishing obligations I now have, and the fact that I want to continue to publish some Indie works of my own.
2. Write at least three days per week. This breaks down into a neat 2,000 words per day to meet my word count goal, but if I write for five or six days a week, it's fine to churn out 1000ish. (Hint: Twitter sprints help immeasurably with meeting word counts. Those 1k/1hr goals really help get the wc knocked out.)
3. I'd like to write 3 blogs a week: the two Row80 updates that often venture into the craft of writing and editing, and one more on Friday. I toyed with the idea of introducing a themed Friday blog, and maybe this will be something I work towards for the later rounds of the challenge, but for now I think I'll keep it a free Friday blog. This keeps me blogging every other day; I've found that blogging is really good exercise for other areas of writing.
4. Read at least one book per week and at least rank it, even if I can't review it. I used to do two book reviews per week, but now I'm lucky if I can slap some stars up on Goodreads. But the important thing to me is to stay familiar with what's out there, and even learn a little something by studying how other writers approach the craft. At this point, for this round, I do not want to dictate specific genres. I'm just going to see what catches my eye.
5. Respond to at least 5 Row80 blogs per week. Hopefully I'll do more, and I certainly don't have to wait for a check in to pop in and "see" folks, but since I'm not sponsoring this round, I want to make sure to stay connected. Plus I, personally, will need the encouragement!
6. Utilize more formal planning materials in my writing. There are a wealth of character profiles, outline guidelines, plot worksheets, and so much more. I've never really utilized these to the extent that I see others use them. That all changed when I had to describe a character for my publisher so they could do an illustration of her. Suddenly, those character charts became invaluable to me and (I presume) the illustrator. Imagine what using them *before* or during my writing process could do for me!
7. Stay involved with the IBC. The Indie Book Collective is a really dynamic, diverse group of writers, and having joined staff, they suddenly take up a lot of my time. So far, though, the benefits outweigh the time spent working for them, like getting to be a part of some publicity events that are really a whole lot of fun.
8. Become more Twitter proficient. In a lot of ways I have more fun on Twitter than I do on Facebook, including the aforementioned invaluable Twitter Sprints. I plan to make better use of TweetDeck and bank at least 14 content-related tweets per week. This will also involve reviving my not-missed cell phone and using it to keep in touch more throughout the day. Man, I hate cell phones.
I have other goals that I'll list but don't really consider a part of my formal Row80 goals. Everyone seems to be making fitness goals, so I'll jump on the bandwagon and state mine here: I plan to get back on the diet track, following either Weight Watchers or The American Heart Association's diet, and lose one pants size by the end of Round 1. I also plan to walk my puppy three blocks further than I do now. Those are my modest, Goddess-In-Training goals for Round 1. Don't know if I'll actually formally join GIT (I tend to be shy about such things) but maybe I'll work up the nerve as more rounds pass by.
That reminds me that I do have text-specific goals this round, including:
1. Finishing Blood Redemption in Round 1
2. Writing 1 chapter of Daughter of Glass, my serial, once a week
3. Actually finishing DoG in Round 1
4. Begin working on Book 3 of my Chronicles of Nowhere trilogy, The Forgotten Fire (I just finished the draft of the second book, Shadowed Ground, today! Wee hee!)
5. Write a dark SF short story for an anthology I agreed to do late Feb.
6. Begin the book I'm going to write with the fabulous Stacey Wallace Benefiel
7. For future rounds, or this one if I'm lucky, begin/plan/brainstorm an SF novel I started a while back, and work on my adult fantasy I've had cookin' for about a year now.
Whew, that sounds like a lot. We'll see how I do. Wish me luck! Join me as Round1 starts and we Row80ers get this thing under way.