Friday Update

Friday Update: Writing Progress, Another Giveaway, and Weekend Plans

Welp, we made it through the first full week of 2021. And what a week. 2020 is sitting on the bench, holding this year’s beer and looking impressed.

Anyhow, I managed to keep going all week despite all of the distractions, a feat for which I’m giving myself a pat on the back. I finished two freelance articles, kept my commitment to blog every day, and also managed to add a few thousand words to the novel. All that while managing to keep our house in decent order, along with help from Mr. B. The only thing I slacked off on this week was exercise, mainly because it’s been cold and dark and that triggers my instinct to cocoon inside blankets and move as little as possible. We did get out and rake leaves on Tuesday, though, so I wasn’t a total sloth.

Aside from all of the political craziness and managing to be consistent with my writing all week, the highlight of this week was getting a big bouquet of roses and a sympathy note from Chewy.com, which you can read more about over at my pet blog. Oh! And before I forget, you can grab a free copy of Desolation, the first book in my Dominion trilogy, in the January Book Bash over on My Book Cave. While you’re there, enter to win a $30 ebook gift card!

As for Revolution 2, I’m still on that big chapter I mentioned in Monday’s post, but I’m making decent progress on it. Once my article writing is out of the way for a while, I’ll be able to work on it for more than twenty minutes a day. I’ve still got to squeeze in today’s sprint, but after that I’m done for the weekend. This has been an exhausting week already, and I need a break. Tomorrow I’m planning to stay offline, ignore the news, and spend a lot of time with my Bible, praying for this country. Last weekend we started marathoning the Hobbit trilogy, but didn’t have time to finish, so hopefully tomorrow’s agenda also includes watching the rest of Five Armies, which I have never seen.

What are you up to this weekend? Tell me in the comments!

 

Bound Spirits: Making Progress

Since my last post announcing my blog break while I focus on writing Bound Spirits, I’ve added a little over 10,000 words to the 10,000 or so I salvaged from the initial draft, bringing the total so far to 22,275.

I wanted to get to at least 30,000 by the end of this month, so it looks like I’m on track to get close to that, if not right on target. If I can keep up this pace through the end of August, and include a couple of Saturdays spent holed up writing all day, I just might actually be able to meet my deadline. Hallelujah.

Here’s a little teaser with some sisterly banter to help tide you over.

“Could be. It’s a good working theory, but we shouldn’t assume the two hauntings are related until we have more to go on.”

“You’re right.” Chris blinked and looked at Ron. She wasn’t used to hearing those words come so easily from her sister. She went on like it was no big deal. “I think Joe and I should go back there tonight and see if we can get the White Lady to talk.”

“I think that’s a spectacularly bad idea.”

Now Ron looked surprised. “Why?”

“You’re kidding, right? Do you remember how her crying made you feel? It’s too dangerous.”

“Which is precisely why it should be Joe and me to try and interview her. So what if she’ll make us sad. It’s not like she can make us suicidal. Or like we can do anything about it if she does.”

“No.” At the defiant look on Ron’s face, Chris added, “Please? Let’s just wait until we can talk to Marsha’s grandma and find out what she has to say.” When Ron didn’t agree right away, Chris pressed. “Ron? Please promise me you won’t go over there until we all agree it’s the only thing left to do.”

Ron slumped a little, but said, “Fine. I promise.”

“Thank you. Was that so hard?”

“It wasn’t easy.”

“Well, I’m proud of you anyway. I’ll be even more proud if you actually keep your promise.”

All Caught Up

I’m officially caught up to where I need to be on my noveling projects. After typing up all of the scenes I wrote longhand for Ghost of a Chance, and re-using a slightly revised scene from an earlier draft, the word count currently stands just a hair short of 47,000, which puts me over the halfway point. I’ve got to start hustling to get this draft done on time.

Thankfully, I’ve got a whole week with no freelance projects on my plate, so I’m going to use it to get ahead and get some forward momentum going again. Which means I’ll probably be scarcely seen in my usual online hangouts this week–and possibly for the next several weeks until this is done. But it’s all downhill from here, folks.

DOMINION is free! Also, good things happen when you follow good advice.

Dominion of the Damned by Jean Marie Bauhaus Dominion of the Damned is currently a free Kindle download on Amazon, both domestically  and internationally. It will remain free through this Sunday, and then it will go back to its regular price of US$3.99. So get your free copy while you can!

I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with its performance so far. Today is the first day it dropped to free, and until now I haven’t publicized that fact anywhere outside of my mailing list (which is still quite tiny). But as I write this it’s on the verge of crossing 500 downloads, and it’s already cracked the Top 10 Free lists in both the Dark Fantasy and Dystopian categories.

This time around I followed advice from David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible on selecting the right categories to increase visibility, and it seems to be paying off. Before, I had it listed in the more general Horror and Contemporary Fantasy categories, where there was a lot more competition. The current categories are not only more appropriate, but also less populated, which means I didn’t have to register nearly as many downloads to crack the popularity lists as I would have in the previous genres.

Of course, only time will tell if this gives my sales a boost once the price goes back to normal. Hopefully, it will at least earn me some new fans and a few more reviews.

***

910 words added to Radium Town today, bringing the total word count to 8,792. That’s the most fiction I’ve written in a single day in quite some time. I’d hoped to crack 1K, but I told myself I would stop at 9:30 so I could get this post written and still have time to watch last night’s Supernatural and get in some reading on Wizard and Glass and still get my butt to bed on time.

I think this book is shaping up to be a good candidate for serialization, what with its long chapters and plenty of opportunities for cliff-hangers. That’s definitely territory I’ve been wanting to explore, but then again, I’ve kind of always planned to shop this book to agents, so I need to give that a lot more thought.

At any rate, here’s a rough, non-spoilery snapshot of today’s output:

Outside, the air was brisk and clear. Betty pulled her cape a little tighter and followed Will down the steps to the front walk. When they reached the street, he held the gate open for her and asked, “So what’s so urgent you’ve got to leave a dinner party to send a telegram at this time of night?”

Betty sighed. “I was hoping you wouldn’t ask.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s classified.”

“Classified? Heck, Betty, if you don’t want to tell me, all you got to do is say so.” He shoved his hands in his pockets and lapsed into silence as they headed toward Main Street. Betty made no attempt to fill it. She knew it wouldn’t last long. After a moment, he proved her right. “So what have you been doing all this time in Washington? Or is that classified, too?”

Betty smiled. “Depends on which parts you want to know about.”

Quick Update

This has been a busy week, and I wasn’t able to get my final editing post ready to post on time.  So that — along with the reveal of who won the pro bono manuscript edit — will get posted next week.

Meanwhile, here’s a quick update of what else I’ve been working on:

Last weekend I wrote most of another horror short. It’s got two more quick scenes to go, and then I’ll probably post it here when it’s finished, which I will attempt to do this weekend.

Last week I also finished the steampunk pixie story, but I haven’t started editing it yet. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do with that one.

Once those are both wrapped, I’m going to get back to the flash fiction collection and try to wrap that up before Nanowrimo — which will be a challenge, because my creative writing time is pretty much limited to the weekend right now. But I’ll see what I can do.

As busy as this week has been, last night I hit a wall of both mental and physical exhaustion, and woke up this morning with a big bucket of CAN’T. So I’m basically giving myself a three-day weekend to rest. Well, today wasn’t a day of rest so much as getting chores and errands out of the way so I can relax most of the weekend. Hopefully, two days of putting my feet up and indulging my creative side will give me back my mojo for Monday.

Updates on Eucha Falls and the Steampunk Cyborg Short

Eucha Falls coverGood news for anyone who has been waiting to read my pseudo-Slenderman, loosely creepypasta inspired, haunted amusement park story Eucha Falls: the wait is almost over!

The bad news is that the anthology to which it’s been under submission for the last several months politely declined its inclusion (I received a very polite rejection signed by Ellen Datlow herself. I’m cheering myself up by pretending that they’re not all signed with her name and that at least one of the slush readers thought it was worthy of her attention). So, that gamble didn’t pay off. I’m really not at all upset by the rejection. I’m much more upset that I put my initial publishing plans on hold for several months only to be told that it’s not quite what they were looking for, when it could have been out there earning me royalties and, hopefully, some fans.

This is why I self-publish, y’all.

At any rate, it’s already been thoroughly edited and beta’d, so I’m going to do my best to get it ready to release this weekend. That should be doable, as the cover (seen left) is ready, and all I have left to do is add front and back matter. But I’m having company on Saturday, and this is also the weekend of my wedding anniversary (which is actually Monday), so I’m not making any promises. Still, it should be available sometime next week.

As an aside, I was briefly thinking about changing the title (again). There’s one element of the story that’s inspired by the creepypasta Candle Cove (which you should go read right now if you enjoy a slow build to the unsettlingly creepy). Last weekend I discovered that the author of Candle Cove, Kris Straub, has both a website and shared storyworld (though both have been on hiatus for quite some time now) that happens to go by the name of Ichor Falls, which hits a little too close to home, especially since I’m crediting one of his stories as inspiration. But I can’t really think of a more suitable title, and if he wants to take it as a shout-out (assuming he ever even discovers my story), that’s fine by me. [/aside]

As for the steampunk cyborg pixie story, which currently has the working title Special, it is very close to done. I only have time right now to write about 450 words per day, so it’s creeping along, but I’m at the climax and the denouement is outlined in detail. I originally started writing it to submit to another anthology that’s being produced by Clarkesworld,  but my experience with submitting Eucha Falls has made me decide to publish it myself rather than letting it languish in a slush pile for months on end. I posted an excerpt here last Friday, and now I’m trying to decide whether to go ahead and post the rest of it as a freebie here as well as making the e-book free. Right now I’m thinking that’s probably what I’ll do.

Also, and I know this is a long shot, but I have a very specific image in mind for the cover: a steampunk butterfly. If anyone knows of an artist or crafter or jewelry-maker who does that type of thing, who is a fan of my work (even of my old fanfic) and/or who is willing to barter for services or yarn-crafted goods or even baked goods, if you could put them in touch with me, or vice versa, that would be awesome.

Camp NaNoWriMo, Day One: Monsters & Mayhem

2013-Participant-Facebook-Cover

Project: Radium Town, the Steampunk Weird West adventure set in my hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma at the dawn of statehood and featuring Will Rogers and Tom Mix.

Writing stage: First Draft

Today’s Word Count: 1,270

Total Word Count: 1,270

What happened: Right now I’m just writing out a detailed synopsis, then I’ll go back and flesh out each scene. Synopsis-wise, I’m up to the part where the monster reveals itself.

UFYH: I watered the plants, and added some moisture to the turtle’s habitat, and sat our poor, wilted snake plant outside in the hopes that sunlight will perk it back up. I need to vacuum and do more laundry, but those will probably have to wait until later in the week. I need to go get dressed so we can take Sasha back to the vet to see if her new meds are helping.

Later: After the vet, I need to deal with e-mail, then start building the custom WordPress theme I designed for a client last week. This evening, I’ll cook up a big batch of salmon patties for dinner, then we’ll watch the season finale of Walking Dead. Still haven’t watched Doctor Who yet. We’ll either watch that or start the second season of Justified before we head to bed.

Finishing Falls and Indulging Spring Fever

Project: Eucha Falls, the recurring dream/creepy pasta/Slenderman mashup that’s taking longer than any short story should ever take to write.

Starting word count: 10,314

Today’s word count: 236

What happened: FINISHED IT!

Final word count (before editing): 10,550. Still novelette length, but not as long as I originally expected it to be.

Non-spoilery sneak peek: It’s the denouement. It’s pretty much all spoiler.

What’s next? After some deliberation, I’ve decided to rearrange my writing and publishing schedule and go ahead and write Radium Town next; mainly because I’m noticing a trend of steampunk stories featuring historical figures, and I’m afraid if I put it off too long somebody will beat me to Will Rogers (after all, I put off writing my idea for a story about how the Wizard of Oz became the Wizard, and look how well that turned out for me). So that is going to be my Camp Nano project for April. I’ll be spending my writing time the rest of this month on researching and outlining.

C25K/UFYH: Well, yesterday afternoon Matt and I went outside to toss the football, which, as usual, meant that I did a lot of running after the ball, so I got some exercise then. But the spring weather and the sound of our neighbors playing music from their homeland left us both craving Mexican food and beer, so I knocked off work early and we had us an impromptu spring-time celebration. Which meant we stayed up late, which in turn meant that we both overslept this morning. So I pretty much had to choose between writing time or UF-ing time, and the writing won out.

Nevertheless, I did take a few minutes to clean up the fast food detritus from last night’s mini-party and do some minor kitchen unfussing.

Later: Client projects, mainly, and then we’ll finish the season finale of Downton Abbey.

Epic Running and Not So Epic Tidying

Project: Eucha Falls, the recurring dream/creepy pasta/Slenderman mashup that’s taking longer than any short story should ever take to write.

Starting word count: 9,385

Today’s word count: 928

What happened: The climactic penultimate scene. Lots of running.

Non-spoilery sneak peek:

Without a word, Shane pulled her close and charged at the crowd, dragging her with him as he used his linebacker shoulders to barrel his way through. Melanie closed her eyes and let him pull her, trusting him to get them both through this. She felt hands, both big and small, grasping and tearing at them, trying to hold them back.

UFYH: Gathered up trash and put it in the trash bin, decluttered the entryway and took care of the big pile of mail that had gathered there (I thought about taking before and after photos, but my husband doesn’t really appreciate it when I put pictures of our messes on the Internet for all to see) (speaking of my husband and appreciation, I should also point out that he’s been doing much more cleaning than I have lately, all on his own without any asking or prompting. I’ve got myself a good husband), put away some living room clutter and picked up the dog’s toys. Which probably won’t stay put away for long.

Later: I need to update my portfolio and spend some time marketing my biz and lining up work for next week. Then I have one last thing to do for my last low-paying contract job before I get started on this week’s client projects. And at some point this afternoon I’ll try to take a break and go outside with my husband and enjoy the pretty weather.

Because Accountability is Highly Motivating

Okay, gang, we’re going to try something new. Since we’re already (!) coming up on the end of the first quarter of 2013, it’s high time I get a move on with some of these goals. So I’m going to be posting progress reports on a few different goals; namely, writing, getting in shape, and getting my house in order.

I’m trying out a new schedule (actually, it’s an old schedule, one that for some reason only seems to work for me during Daylight Savings Time, so I ought to be fine until November), and it’s one that leaves me time each day for writing and for working out. For working out, I’ll be building up to, and then attempting, Couch to 5K. But that schedule only makes you work out three days a week, so on the other days I’ll be doing an hour of UFYH (don’t click that link if you can’t handle swearing).

My aim here is to do these things and post progress reports every weekday. If I skip a weekday, I will have to make it up on the weekend, and I’m counting on you guys to not only cheer me on but also to hold me accountable.  So do feel free to give me a good talking to if I don’t hold up my end of the bargain.

So without further ado…

Project: Eucha Falls, the recurring dream / creepy pasta / Slenderman mashup that’s taking longer than any short story should ever take to write.

Starting word count: 8,363

Today’s word count: 1,022

What happened: Melanie was lured into the sideshow tent.

Non-spoilery sneak peek: 

She emerged into a long hall, dimly lit by display lights suspended over long glass cases that stretched along each heavily-curtained wall. She approached the nearest case. Inside lay a small, unidentifiable mummified creature. An engraved metal plate in front of it claimed it to be a faerie’s remains. Next to it was a taxidermied “mermaid” that looked like some poor monkey’s face had been sewn onto a fish. Taking up the rest of the case was a pile of shrunken heads, purportedly taken from a tribe of Amazonian cannibals.

C25K/UFYH: After my last stab at starting C25K, I decided I should start off a little slower this time and build up to the running part, because as it turns out, I’m not the sort of person who finds the feeling that your heart has been replaced by a xenomorph chest-burster to be much of a motivator. To that end I had planned to go for a thirty-minute walk this morning, but seeing as it was only 30 degrees out there when the time came and I’m a big wuss when it comes to cold, that wasn’t happening. So instead I did the five-minute warmup from the Cardio Kickboxing for Dummies DVD, which left me winded enough to be glad of my wisdom to take it slow this time. I followed that up with ten minutes of stretching. Eh, it’s a start.

Later: A dreaded phone call (I pretty much dread all phone calls, so there’s nothing special or especially dreadful about this one), followed by lunch, followed by wrapping up the remainder of last week’s To Dos so I can get started on my client projects tomorrow with a clean slate. To be followed by dinner, and then falling into bed with my husband to watch The Walking Dead and the 3rd season finale of Downton Abbey. And then surely to have pleasant dreams filled with hugs and puppies. Man, you guys, at this point I don’t know which of these two shows is more gut-wrenching.