The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Category: Writing Page 4 of 18

Salvation of the Damned is finished and coming soon to a Kindle near you!

So this weekend (around 5PM on Saturday, to be somewhat more precise), this happened:

And there was so very much rejoicing.

The final word count came in at just under 72K, which is shorter than I thought it would be, but it took a turn toward the end that I think is much better than what I’d originally planned (note: just because you outline doesn’t mean your books won’t surprise you), and it felt right to end it where I did, with enough resolution to tide the reader over while leaving plenty to anticipate for Book 3.

But it still has to go through revisions, and while there’s no doubt some stuff will get cut, there’s also a good chance some stuff will get added, so who knows what the final word count will be.

Although I’d originally hoped to have it ready in time for Halloween, in order to leave plenty of time for proper editing, the release date is getting pushed back to December. But considering last week was July 4th and it’s already Labor Day and Halloween is practically next Tuesday, December will be here before we know what hit us.

In the mean time, there’s still plenty of time to read Book One, Dominion of the Damned, during its limited free run on Wattpad, and to get your friends hooked on this series!

For a Limited Time: Read the COMPLETE Dominion of the Damned on Wattpad!

Now you can read the ENTIRE updated edition of Dominion of the Damned FREE on Wattpad! It won’t be up there for long — when I re-release the new edition on Kindle I’ll have to take it down.

If you haven’t read it, now’s your chance to get a free introduction to this trilogy, the second book of which is coming later this fall. And if you have read it? This is a perfect time to get your friends hooked on this series!

Still here? Well go on! Click here to read Dominion!

Dominion of the Damned Trilogy of the Damned Jean Marie Bauhaus

Read Dominion of the Damned FREE on Wattpad!

Dominion of the Damned Trilogy of the Damned Jean Marie Bauhaus

 

For the last few months, when I haven’t been drafting the sequel, I’ve been working on a revised edition of my vampires-in-a-zombie-apocalypse epic Dominion of the Damned. And for the last couple of weeks I’ve been posting it in serialized form on Wattpad. The first six chapters are available now, with a new chapter going up later today.

I’ll be re-releasing the new edition in e-book and paperback form, first in Kindle Unlimited for 90 days and then in wide release, once it’s all ready, all in the run-up to launching the sequel in time for Halloween(!). But if you don’t want to wait, or if you know someone you’d like to introduce to the ‘Verse of the Damned in a commitment-free way, check it out on Wattpad and tell all your friends!

 

Bound Spirits Restless Spirits Book 3 Jean Marie Bauhaus

Happy Bound Spirits Launch Day!

Bound Spirits Restless Spirits Book 3 Jean Marie Bauhaus

 

It’s here! It’s here! At long last, book 3 of the Restless Spirits saga, Bound Spirits, in which the Wilson sisters battle an angry poltergeist, a weeping woman who woos people to a watery grave, mistaken beliefs about their parents, and–worst of all–wedding fever, is now available in e-book and trade paperback formats wherever books are sold online. Head here for all the links!

Or head here to read reviews!

Have you already read it? Head here to leave a review (pretty please with all the sugar on top?)

Yaaaaaaay!

 

Pre-Order Bound Spirits!

Bound Spirits is available for pre-order! Head here to order your copy at your preferred e-book retailer.

Still behind on the series? Head here to grab the first two books!

Character Inspiration: Hannah Jordan

A lot of thought went into crafting the protagonist of my post-apocalyptic dystopian novel Dominion of the Damned. To survive this brave new world in which zombies ravage and vampires rule the remnants of humanity, I needed someone who was strong enough and courageous enough to survive the plague and stand up to her vampire overlords while still being entirely, relatably, vulnerably human. I needed a survivor who was both intelligent and practical-minded, yet young enough to not quite have her identity be fully nailed down and to be very confused and conflicted about her feelings — and also young enough to have parents who aren’t yet out of their childbearing years.

Meet Hannah Jordan. A country girl, the product of rural America, raised and trained by a survivalist father and a mother who emphasized a more traditional education, she was a nursing student who had her life all mapped out, happily anticipating the birth of her new baby brother when a worldwide zombie outbreak dashed her dreams and took her parents, leaving her as the sole guardian of the newborn, determined to protect him at all costs.

As adept at fighting and shooting as she is at stitching up wounds and comforting the sick and injured, Hannah is less confident when it comes to stepping into her mother’s shoes and caring for the infant. Yet it’s her love for her brother that drives her to brave a world that’s left them both at the bottom of the food chain, confronting monsters when she’d just as soon curl up and hide. She has as much common sense as she does book sense, but that doesn’t keep her from second guessing herself. She’s slow to trust and quick to assume the worst, but she’s loyal to a fault to those who earn her trust.

When it came to casting Hannah, at least in my own imagination, I wanted someone who could convey that mix of strength, intelligence, innocence and vulnerability. Maybe it’s because I was watching a lot of Firefly and also heavily invested in The Sarah Connor Chronicles at the time I wrote my first draft, but Summer Glau is who I’ve always envisioned, despite the fact that, really, she’s quite a bit more petite than Hannah is described as being. One thing I didn’t want was for Hannah to fit the cliche of a tiny girl who can inexplicably kick monster butt. Hannah is neither a cyborg nor has she been genetically enhanced, which is why not only is she not described as tiny, but also relies more on guns than on her fists and feet.

Even so, it was Summer Glau’s face and mannerisms that helped to shape Hannah, and this is who I continue to see years later as I read through the book in preparation to write the sequel. I’m not sure there’s anyone else more suitable who could take her place. But if you’ve read Dominion, I’d love to hear your ideas for casting Hannah in the comments!

Bits & bobs, and a NaNoWriMo update

zNaNoWriMo Participant 2014We’re into week 2 of NaNoWriMo, and I’m currently at 14,191 words (that’s words written in November. The total manuscript word count currently stands at 20,714 — about a third of the way through the first draft. I think). I should be at 16,670 by the end of the day, which probably won’t happen. But if I can put in another 2K before I call it a day, I’ll be close enough for comfort. Which means I’d better keep this post short so I can get to writing.

As for what’s happening within the novel, the plot hung a sharp left the other day and now I have to solve a decades-old murder in addition to getting my two protagonists to make with the smoochies.

What else am I up to? Yesterday, I finally put away the Halloween decorations, but left up the fall decorations and added a crocheted horn of plenty that I still need to take a picture of. Today I changed out the dirt in Matilda the Box Turtle’s tank and took her out to get some sun on what may well be the last warm day of the year. And of course there’s the freelancing. Fiverr’s keeping me busy with editing and book formatting gigs, and I just wrote this post on romance novel and wine pairings for Libib.

The forecast is showing wintry weather this weekend. As unpredictable as that crud tends to be in these parts, the rest of this week is going to mostly be dedicated to prepping, to make sure we won’t starve or freeze if we get stuck here and the power goes out. Of course, the more prepared we are, the less of a big deal winter storms tend to be, so if the sky simply sneezes out a few flurries over Tulsa this weekend, you’ll have us to thank. 😉

Right, then. Time to write. How’s your NaNo novel coming? Or any big projects you’re tackling this month, as the case may be?

How to Keep Your Momentum and Avoid Burnout During NaNoWriMo

zNaNoWriMo Participant 2014It’s National Novel Writing Month! Which means that millions of people worldwide, myself among them, are scurrying to draft an entire novel (or at least the first 50,000 words of one) within the month of November. If that sounds like a daunting task, that’s because it is, even for seasoned novelists and ‘WriMos like myself.

This post is dedicated to all of those brave souls who are daring to venture forth on this kooky month-long adventure. Here, just for you, is my advice on how to stay the course, keep the momentum going, and avoid fizzling out by the end of week 2.

Have fun.

Yes, writing a novel is serious business, especially if you want to end the month with something that at least has the hope of one day becoming publishable. But it helps not to take it too seriously. NaNoWriMo is the one time when writers all over the world are In This Together, cheering one another on. Take time to enjoy the camaraderie. If you can’t attend local write-ins and events in person, find a group on the official forums, or join in on one of the many Twitter hashtags dedicated to the event. Don’t be afraid to incorporate the occasional prompt or dare, even if your story is tightly plotted (you can always toss that scene out later, but sometimes those dares result in pure gold). However you find your fun this month, just know that taking this too seriously is a surefire way to lead to burnout and not finishing that novel.

Pace yourself.

If it’s easy for you to write 1,667 words (the daily quota you need to meet to get in 50K by the end of the month) in a single sitting, then by all means, go for it. For the rest of us, it’s easier to fit in sprints–short, quick bursts of writing–throughout the day. I especially recommend this method for people who think they MUST HAVE at least a solid hour or two of uninterrupted writing time to “get their head in the zone” before they can even start writing. NaNoWriMo–and especially NaNo sprints–are an excellent boot camp for getting you over that notion and training you to stop waiting around on your muse and fit writing into the small cracks of your day, which is an absolutely necessary skill if you ever want to earn a living writing.

Strike while the iron’s hot.

Related to the above tip, you’ll want to use all that enthusiasm during the first week or two to build up a buffer in your word count so that you can afford to take a break when you need to. Do you really want to have to worry about making your daily word count on Thanksgiving when you’re stuffed full of carbs and tryptophan and your family’s wanting to pile in the car and go see the latest Hunger Games movie? If you build up enough of a buffer, you won’t have to. Alternatively, you can just schedule your days off and re-calculate your daily quota accordingly.

Don’t read over what you’ve written…

…until you go to bed. Resist the urge to read your prior output when you sit down to write. Instead, print it off (so you can’t edit it) and read it right before you go to sleep. More likely than not, your subconscious will work on what comes next while you sleep, and when you sit down to write the next morning, you’ll know just where to start.

But if not, don’t be afraid to write crap.

If you get stuck, engage in free writing for several sentences–or several paragraphs–to loosen up the gears (you can absolutely count those parts toward your final word count, although you might want to highlight them or put them in brackets so you can remember to delete them later). And once you figure out where you’re going, just focus on getting the story down. Don’t worry about choosing the perfect words to tell it. You can worry about being artful on the second draft. For now, just get the ideas down.

Keep going.

If you find that you need to look something up, fact-check something, see how a word is spelled, etc., make a note in brackets and MOVE ON. Save research for the revision phase. Similarly, if there’s a type of scene that’s daunting or tends to slow you down and take a lot of effort, insert a place-holder note and skip to the next easy part.

Here’s an example. I used to write a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction. As such, I had to write a lot of fight scenes, which I always found difficult. So my early drafts were often littered with this note: “[And there was fighty-fighting!]”

Do just a little more.

When you end a sprint, or reach your goal for the day, challenge yourself to keep going and do just a little more, even if it’s just one more sentence.

Channel Hemingway.

Ernest Hemingway famously ended his writing sessions in the middle of a scene at a point where he knew exactly what came next. That way the next time he sat down to write he could pick right up where he left off instead of spending time trying to figure out what came next. I’ve employed this method for years, and it works like a charm.

Ignore the haters.

It’s bad enough that you’re likely to run into skepticism, if not straight-up opposition, within your own circle of family, friends and co-workers. Even worse, every year–and I mean Every. Year.–some elitist gasbag adds fuel to their fire by writing some condescending link-bait article about how NaNoWriMo is the end of civilization as we know it and how nothing good ever comes from it (I beg to differ). Ignore them. They’re wrong. Period.

Remember you’re already a winner.

50,000 words is kind of an arbitrary number. Sure, it gets you the coveted winner’s badge and “purple bar” and entitles you to some extra swag, but really, if you put aside your fears to tackle that novel this month, and if you make any progress at all, you can consider yourself a winner in my book.

Now carry on, fellow WriMos. You’ve got this.

It’s Halloween week and Nano prep week and there is so much to do.

This is a post to loosen the gears and prime the writing pump. I haven’t written anything since Thursday, unless you count blogging about the book giveaway contest (still going on, by the way, so be sure to enter!).

I did pretty well growing my word count on Ghost of a Chance last week, almost getting back up to where I was before throwing out most of what I’d written. But then Friday was busy and full of errands, which lead into a busy Saturday of cleaning house before my mom and aunt came for dinner, and by Sunday I was ready to veg and not much else.

This is shaping up to be a busy and short week, too. My freelancing load is light this week (…thankfully? Although this is certainly a trend that I hope is short-lived), but we’ve got a lot of errands to run, including taking our Chihuahua, Pete, back to the vet tomorrow to check his thyroid and liver enzyme levels. I also want to get as much housework and yard work squared away as possible before Nanowrimo begins on Saturday. So I probably won’t get a ton of writing done this week. My main goal is to do enough to keep it fresh in my mind so I can hit the ground running on Saturday. I’m actually feeling pretty good right now about the possibility of finishing the first draft of Ghost by the end of November.

And then there’s Halloween on Friday, which is an all-day celebration at our house, hence the short work week. Which as far as I’m concerned makes up for not getting to take Labor Day off like everybody else. We still need to pick out our pumpkins, stock up on seasonal ale (I think Matt’s planning some brand of pumpkin ale we haven’t yet tried, along with some Newcastle Werewolf Blood Red), decorate the front porch, and make sure we haven’t eaten so much of our candy stash that we still have enough for trick-or-treaters.

Oy. I’m already exhausted just from listing all of that. I guess I’d best get to it, then. What are your Halloween plans this year, dear readers? And if you’re doing Nanowrimo, what are you doing this week to get ready?

Book sale aftermath and killing a significant number of darlings for the greater good.

So the big October sale is over and everything is back to regular price. It didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but it still gave me a boost in sales, and I gave away a respectable number of books that will hopefully translate to some loyal readers down the road.

One thing I learned is that putting everything on sale to coincide with my book launch was not a good idea. It drew attention away from the new book, which is the opposite of what you want to happen during a book launch week. So… won’t be doing that again.

As for my new WIP, Ghost of a Chance, this morning I trashed all but the first two scenes. The scenes I deleted were meandering all over the place, so I’m going to chalk that up as a discovery draft and example of why I’m not a good pantser. Now I’ve got a partial outline and a better idea of where I’m going and what needs to happen to get there.

If this were NaNoWriMo, I’d have just made some notes about what needed to happen and kept going from there as if I’d already written it that way, and waited until I finished the draft to go back and redo the beginning. But since I’m not (yet) racing to meet a crazy word quota by a certain deadline, going back and writing the correct scenes seemed more likely make the rest of the story flow better.

I will be attempting Nano this year, albeit I’ll be cheating by working on this WIP. I’m going to do my ever-lovin’ best to finish the first draft by the end of November, but a lot depends on my freelancing schedule and workload, so it’s hard to say how that will go. I wanted to try something new in an effort to carve more time out of my schedule for working on the draft. My plan was to keep the little laptop I write on by my bed, and read over what I wrote that day before I turn out my light, and then make myself wake up and start writing in bed when my husband gets up in the morning. But then this morning, which was supposed to be day one of this new endeavor, he woke up WAY too dang early, and I fell back to sleep before I could even remember that I was supposed to write. Then when he came in and woke me up it was time for us to do our morning Bible study together. So… maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow morning.

Nanowrimo participant 2014

If you’re planning to do Nano this year, Kristen Lamb’s blog has several excellent posts on how to do well in that challenge. This post in particular is a must-read for anyone taking on creative endeavors in general.

And now I’m going to join my husband in an off-schedule weeknight cheat night, because the weekend was too short and we have way to much pumpkin and Halloween-related goodies and entertainment options that need to be consumed, and we were both really craving some pumpkin ale (as I write this I’m sipping on a positively delightful Red Hook pumpkin porter). I’m sure I’m going to regret this tomorrow.

Are you doing Nanowrimo this year? Are you playing by the rules or are you going to be a rebel? Let’s talk about your Nano plans in the comments!

Oh! And if you’d like to read occasional excerpts from the WIP, I’ll be posting them on Ello. Be sure to friend me if you’re there already. If not, I’ve got two invitations and nobody to give them to, so holler in the comments if you’d like one.

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