Goodbye, January. Hello, Sanity.

Since my January turned out to be a seemingly endless dumpster fire of a month, I’m declaring a New Year do-over. In case you’re out of the loop, i.e. not subscribed to my newsletter or Instagram, my mom had a stroke right around the time of the last post, and life kind of went off the rails after that. The good news is that my mom is doing much better. Things have settled down and life is getting back on track.

The other good news is that this unexpected turn of events shouldn’t have too much of an impact on my writing and publishing plans for this year, although I’ve learned my lesson about not leaving room for life to throw you hard and fast curve balls. But so far, it looks like I’ll be able to carry on mostly as planned, turning in Bound Spirits at the end of this month and then going from there. The only big change is that I won’t have time to have a beta reader look at my manuscript first, but that won’t be the end of the world.

Look for this blog to get back on track this month, starting with a post about my favorite things of 2017 that I started last month and didn’t have time to finish. Better late than never, right?

Now let’s all join together in a collective deep breath and sigh of relief. January is over. February is short. Spring is right around the corner. Bound Spirits comes out in August. This can still be a good year.

New Cover Reveal, and Changes A-Comin’…

As of today I’m just short of 60,000 words along on Ghost of a Chance. I’m going to try my best to finish Act Two this week. It’s getting there…

As I start rolling toward the end of my current WIP and having a little more breathing room in my schedule, I’m turning my attention in my spare time to Dominion of the Damned, for which I have plans. Plans which include a brand spanking new book cover–and here, my pretties, is the official cover reveal for the new edition:

dotd-sample-cover

As you can see, that’s a paperback cover. Yes, that means I’ll be issuing a paperback version once again. I had pulled down the original paperback after I realized I’d made several amateurish formatting mistakes (I know a lot more about book interior formatting now, having been doing it professionally for a while now) and always intended to redo it and put it back up. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m also giving it another editing once over, which is currently in process. So far I’ve found a number of minor issues that will be fixed in the new edition.

Barring a sudden deluge of freelance work requiring me to drop everything else, I’m hoping to get the edits and e-book re-formatting done this week, and get the new edition of the e-book online by early next week at the latest. The paperback will take a bit longer. Once those are out of the way I’ll also be looking into producing an audiobook version.

As you can also see, the cover says “Book One.” That means that there WILL be a Book Two. I know I’ve been bandying about talk of a sequel for years now, but apparently this is the year of getting long-talked-about sequels written, because I am hereby officially committing to getting Book Two: Revolution (or, possibly, Uprising) published sometime next year.

Soooo… that’s happening. What else?

Oh! Yes. You can also see that I’m going with my initials on the cover instead of my full name. So that’s a branding decision I’ve made — I’m going to be publishing my lighter, cleaner, more family-friendly (and, eventually, Christian non-fiction) writing under my full name, and my darker, more PG-13 and R-rated stuff under my initials. So that’ll help you decide which of my books match up best to your sensibilities.

Also! New author photos! The fantastically talented photographer I’m married to shot new portraits of me last week, and there are so many winning shots that I’m having a hard time narrowing them down. Once I do that (and we get them processed), those will get posted here and all of my other authorish online spaces.

I’m going to be continuing to tweak my author branding in the months running up to the official launch of Restless Spirits, and that’ll probably include a website overhaul. But nobody really cares about that, do they?

So that’s some stuff to look forward to until I start putting out actual brand new fiction again — which will hopefully happen this year, once Ghost is in the can.

Restless Spirits publishing update, plus thinking ahead about Dominion of the Damned sequels

I just fired off the revised edition of Restless Spirits to my editor at Vinspire. So that’s off my to do list — on to revising and formatting Restless Spirits: Love Letter, and then back to drafting Ghost of a Chance.

Naturally, in order to revise Restless Spirits, I had to read through the entire book again. And do you know what I discovered, to my surprise and delight?

Guys, this a really good book.

It feels weird to say that about something I wrote, but it had been so many years since I read it last that I’d forgotten most of it. And I kept having to go back through about every chapter to re-check for errors or things to change because I was so engrossed in it, as if someone else had written it. It even made me cry. On several occasions. My husband must’ve thought I was nuts.

I was, however, astonished at the number of blatant errors I came across, despite many different sets of eyes having looked at it before it was originally published. Thanks to this experience, as soon as I get the time I’ll be going through the rest of my self-published books to see if I catch anything that got missed.

Other than fixing errors, I also tightened up a few spots and cleaned up the language to make it more family-friendly. I was really surprised by how much there was. I didn’t remember Ron being nearly that big of a potty-mouth. I’m glad my mom never read it. Most of it was just completely unnecessary and could simply be deleted without changing any meaning or emotional impact whatsoever. There were a few places with stronger cussin’ where I had to get creative to achieve the same impact, but I think the book is better for it. And now my mom can read it. 🙂

The new edition of Restless Spirits comes out on Halloween of this year!

 

Thinking ahead…

Here’s a little something to give Dominion of the Damned fans hope: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and planning toward finally continuing this series. Unfortunately, I won’t really be able to get started on the second book until my contract with Vinspire is fulfilled, but in the meantime I’m hoping to kick things off by doing another revision pass on Book 1 and then doing some re-branding and re-packaging to breathe new life into it and generate more interest. This probably means I’ll be taking the current version down in the near future and then doing a re-launch later this year. I’ll also be issuing a new paperback edition, AND an audio version. And then hopefully I can get the second book written and ready to publish sometime next year.

So… stuff to look forward to! Yaaaaay!

A New Look and a Publishing Plan (and a Dash of Panic)

So I FINALLY made the time to design and build myself a proper custom blog theme, and I’ve gotta say, I’m in love with it, if I do say so myself. If you’re reading this on LiveJournal (or in a reader), you should click over and give it a look-see.  My goal with the design was to capture the whole “dark fantasy verging on horror with romantic overtones” thing I’ve got going on in most of my writing, with a heaping helping of turn of the century Art Nouveau to help tie in the eventual turn I plan to take toward steam punk. Also, this pin was a big inspiration.

I also set up some new pages toward the goal of making this look like a real author site, all official-like, but I haven’t got any content on them yet. I’ll be filling those in over the coming weeks.

With that out of the way, and also in the FINALLY! department, I’ve developed an editorial schedule for my upcoming books up through 2015. The goal is to release two books a year over the next three years (counting this one), and also to write two books each year. I’m not sure yet exactly how I’m going to pull that off (Camp Nano and November’s NaNoWriMo will surely play a part), but that is the goal, and the schedule is as follows:

2013

Publish: Eucha Falls (by late spring/early summer) and The Hero Factor (by the end of the year).

Write: The still untitled paranormal suspense follow-up to Restless Spirits (not a sequel, but loosely related) and the first sequel to Dominion of the Damned. Not necessarily in that order.

2014

Publish: Dominion 2 and the paranormal suspense.

Write: Dominion 3 and Radium Town.

2015

Publish: Dominion 3 and Radium Town.

Write: Some things yet to be determined. Possibly the YA fantasy I outlined a year or two ago. Possibly a Hero Factor sequel or spin-off. Or possibly something new that hasn’t yet occurred to me.

So why am I saving Radium Town for last, considering most of the people I’ve spoken with about my pending projects have been the most enthusiastic about that one? For one thing, because I have a lot of research to do before I’m ready to get started on it; but also because I think I might try going the traditional publishing route with that one, and it would be nice to have some solid sales numbers behind me to help entice an agent and/or publisher, and I think probably finishing my series is the best route to accomplishing that. I guess we’ll just have to see.

At any rate, as I have officially entered the final month of my thirties, it feels good to have at least this much squared away and have some direction as I transition into my OH HOLY HECK I’M ABOUT TO BE FORTY YOU GUYS!

How George R. R. Martin Killed My Novel (except not really)

This is my least favorite time of year. Strike that — it’s my second least favorite, behind those long dreary (and occasionally icy) weeks of winter when the holidays are done and you just want it to be spring already. Now the summer holidays are done and I just want it to be fall already, but it’s not quite as bad as the winter doldrums, because that time of year is depressing, whereas this one is just irritating. And hot. I will never be a fan of Oklahoma summers.

But the writing is plugging along. I passed the 50,000 word mark on Dominion last week, which NaNoWriMo has trained me to see as this great milestone and feel like I should have a party or something, even though with this book that’s only the halfway mark. But it’s not as far along as it should be, mainly because I made the mistake of deciding it would be a good idea to re-read the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series so it would all be fresh in my mind when I read A Dance With Dragons.

BIG mistake, at least as far as my writing goes. It’s generally just not a good idea to read a book that you’re fannishly obsessive about while you’re in the middle of trying to write your own story. It’s especially not a good idea to engage in an entire series that you have such feelings about, and ESPECIALLY when the shortest book in said series weighs in at around 700 pages.

So now when I sit down to write, I find my mind wandering to George Martin’s characters instead of thinking about what my own should be doing, and instead of writing I want to go outside and sit in the shade with a tall glass of lemonade and lose myself in Westeros all day forever. It’s especially bad now that I’m up to the third book, which is my favorite (so far) and heavily features my three most favorite characters (who I can’t even mention by name because even that would be a spoiler to you TV show fans who are trying to stay pure). In fact, I would be reading it right now, but I promised myself I’d post a writing update today, so here we are.

Clearly, I need to get me some ASoIaF/Game of Thrones icons Got some.

But I am still forcing myself to write, and once I get going I remember how much I love my own characters and care what happens to them, so that’s good. I’m planning to have Dominion ready for publication by October, in time for Halloween–which seems fitting, seeing as how it began on a Halloween.

And now I’m off to read.