Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Short Story Has a Cover!

First, the exciting part: I got to see the black and white interior covers for the Primetime short story anthology today. I think mine is so wow. I think of it as part Sin City, part early 20th C Parisian absinthe poster. It will make great swag, that's for sure. And I can finally reveal it!
The artist is named Ricky Gunawan, and he's done a number of book covers and logos and such. Of course there is a big pretty color cover for the whole anthology, but this is the one that will introduce my particular little story. I should see if I can scrounge up my blurb and post it. (rummages) Oh, here it is, the ultra short version:

Jessa's earliest memories are of the destruction of her world by the ruthless Syncline Corporation, who are determined to have the rare mineral verressence- and her- at any price. The only member of the ruling family to survive the Day of Fire, Jessa roams the surface of her burnt and twisted world as the princess of ash and cinders. Protected by Harker, her personal guard, Jessa receives hope for her planet's future one day too late. 

In other news, I finished Daughter of Glass rewrites AND the bonus chapter. The whole thing clocks in at about 47k, which is pretty long for a novella. It makes me wish I had the time to go back over it and add another three or so chapters, to see if I can't whip it into full novel form. One thing I learned in grad school that actually sunk in is that there are some assignments worth stressing over, and some that are not. I think I probably have more important stories to mull over than this one- there is a point where you must let things go. And so I have sent of DoG to the powers that be, and we shall see what they have to say.

Next up: Blood Redemption, rewrites and such, even though I am really sick of the whole thing. I should like to be down one chapter by next check in. This setting goals only as far as a week or so ahead has worked out well this past week, so we shall see if I can maintain momentum. I hope everyone else's week has been productive but most of all FUN. That is, after all, the point.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Finally Finished, Plus An Announcement of Consequence

What do writers do when they finally finish a book? In Stephen King's Misery, it's a single glass of Dom Perignon. In Romancing the Stone (a guilty pleasure on par with Goldie Hawn's Overboard) Kathleen Turner has a glass of wine. Someone else (forget who) has a cigar. But I neither drink nor smoke, so what to do? There's some strawberry ice cream in the freezer. Maybe I'll have some. And then maybe I'll ignore the laundry for the second day in a row and play The Sims all afternoon before enjoying my husband's heavenly pot roast that even now is making the house smell like Sunday dinner. Or maybe I will go out in the back yard and jump off the pier and go swimming.

And then, of course, it's time to start another book.

But as to celebratory ending rituals, I honestly have no idea. I just know I'm relieved to have Daughter of Glass finally, finally done, with substantial rewrites already in place. That was my goal this weekend- to have DoG done, with rewrites, by Sunday check-in. All that's left is the bonus material, and I've given myself until the next Row80 check in to finish that. I've already figured out what the bonus material will be- a chapter rewritten from the male lead's POV- and I feel really good about it. It's a chance for him to get all protective and sexy, and I can't wait to write it.

It feels really, really good to have goals. And even better to meet them. I know me, though, and I really did fall in a deep pit of Off The Map lately. That makes it important not to aim too high, because I really don't want to fall back in the pit. So I will stick with little goals, like my bonus material by Wednesday. And after that I can begin to think about what's next- undoubtedly Blood Redemption in some fashion.

This brings me to my big announcement: I have a short story coming out in an anthology featuring such luminaries as Aiden James (The Judas Chronicles) and J.R. Rain (the Samantha Moon mysteries.) 

Sorry about the abrupt font switch, but I really do feel like yelling. Hope I didn't hurt your virtual ears there. The story is called The Last Carnivale, and it's far future SF with a huge kick of dystopian apocalypse. The anthology is called Primetime by Curiosity Quills, and I couldn't be more excited. I've been sitting on the news for a while now, until I got the go-ahead to do a shout out. There is a soft release on Sept. 17th, but the big official release will be on Oct. 1. If anyone is interested in an ARC and doing a review of the anthology by the soft release date, please do let me know. Interested parties could also probably just read stories that appeal to them and review those, if time is a factor but you do want to help out. (Please please pretty please I'll be your best friend forever.) In the meantime, I will be salivating over cover art and waiting with baited breath to post that here, along with more substantial details. I still find it a bit odd to write short stories. As a writer I do not consider them my natural habitat, but this one is dear to my heart because it is part of a larger world that I hope to turn into a novel some day.

Okay, so that is my writing news from my ROW80 world. It has been a good week of meeting goals and even having a few dreams fall into place. It's the kind of day to put in my pocket for a darker one, and thanks to everyone who gave me shout outs of encouragement throughout the week. Best of luck to all of you, and I'll check in with you all again soon.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

ROW80: Baby Steps

I guess I have babies on the brain. I recently gave birth to one, after all. Oh hell, she's crying. (Brb #1)

So it occurs to me that, while the whole point of Row80 is to set measurable goals and stick to them, I have fallen so far off the wagon that I need to break the goals down into even smaller bites. (Brb #2) Therefore, I'm not even going to try to look at the bigger picture right now. I'm going to focus on what I can do in the here and now, and try to limit myself to, say, a week on out as far as planning goes. Many reasons for this, including (brb #3) le bebe. I was a lot younger, more energetic, and generally had less going on the first time I was a mother. I certainly wasn't a writer then, too. So I have no idea how to pace myself in the face of all of that, other than the immutable fact that one must simply write, no matter what it takes. Hopefully pacing/timing myself for a week or so will help me with the bigger goal setting.

So......
...... finish rewriting Daughter of Glass by the weekend. THEN write the bonus chapter by next Wednesday. That gives me two more check ins to have one of the smaller goals knocked off the list. But hark! I hear Kait Nolan's cheerful chirp: "Measurable... measurable..." And really, I suppose I do need to break it down further. This is the Row, after all. I am going to aim to squeeze out an hour a day, interruptions included, although the hour need not be continuous. Since I am going for rewrites rather than original content, timing myself may work out better. And it may flow better with the constant diapering/feeding/rocking/singing of silly songs that is my life now.  Therefore- an hour a day, with DoG rewrites by the weekend, and bonus chappie by Wed. Happy writing to everyone else; I hear brb #4 coming on.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Carrying the Fire

After a long absence in more ways than one, I feel like I owe something of an explanation, to myself and to others. No disclaimer for this post, although one might be warranted. Consider it Vicki Keire version 2.0. Hopefully this newer model is less buggy. :)

I thought I had learned a few things about writing by now:

There was the time I hit "publish" on my very first Indie novel, and the spiral of fear and excitement and rightness that brought. There was the time my book first cracked the Top 1000, and then the Top 500. I very nearly died of asphyxiation that day. The thought that I might actually be able to make a go of this writing thing, and the despair and panic I felt in the days and weeks and months when I couldn't. Times when words wouldn't come, and friends shot past me in sales and accolades, and other friends... didn't. But they were still friends, and I felt blessed. A publisher approaching me... ME... seemingly out of the blue and wanting me for their very own.The days when I looked around and realized I was writing, and blogging, and networking, and volunteering, and designing, and editing, and my books were published and pretty and loved and they actually had sequels that were published or nearly so, and fans.... did I mention them? The wonderful readers who stuck with me and cheered me on and pushed me, clamoring for more, honest about what they liked and didn't and what they wanted more of, always eager for that next book or Twitter chat or blog post, or just a piece of my life in general. To realize I'd gone from that single nervous button push to a life that could, and would, consume me.

And then there were the breakdowns.

I don't really know what else to call them. Difficulty concentrating. Hating my characters, unsure of what they wanted me to do next. Gut-freezing anxiety about finishing anything. Hiding from responsibilities- writing and otherwise- because I simply could not cope. Black hole days and weeks and months that I'm still not sure how to piece back together. Being crippled by the choice between a green shirt or a striped one. An inability to read. To read! Let alone write. Apathy and the bewildered hope that there is some way out of the maze, but not being able to find it. In short, going totally off the rails.

This is the part of being a writer that I'm still learning to navigate. Some of us are blessed with a kind of evenness in writing and in life that has always eluded me. It's like I've always had all the pieces of an ordered life arranged in front of me, but I can't make them fit together. Almost every single writer or musician or artist I really deeply admire has had to learn their way out of the maze. Some are, unfortunately, consumed by it. But the ones who aren't- the ones who learn the trick of shining in the darkness- these are the ones who, as Cormac McCarthy would say, "carry the fire." And that's what I want, even need, in my writing, and by extension, in my life. I no longer want to separate the two. To do so will make the chasms that much deeper and deadly.

The fun part- the recharging, soul-affirming part that is the carnival of creativity that we all live for and love- that is the easy part. I've struggled to define what kind of writer I want to be since I pushed that first fateful button. I have to define that before I can even move on to setting realistic, worthwhile writing goals. And this blog is the first place to start. Scanning my past entries, it's always been part diary, part window to my world. It is a place of honesty, and I need that more than ever now. So I will not apologize for the honesty. I can only hope I haven't scared some of you away, or made others of you roll your eyes, because so many of you were lights in those chasms when you didn't even know it. And now that I have railed, it's time to roll up my sleeves and get back to it. As the ever industrious Kait Nolan is fond of pointing out, the way forward is paved with measurable goals. So I will think on those, in writing and in life, because for me the two are one and the same.

I am finally learning that the best writing comes from a full and interesting life.