Busy Squirrell

A new year?

I know it’s a downer, but I can’t help but think that the New Year is just an artificial construct that we have as a result of our kind of awkward Gregorian Calendar.

I know, bummer right? Don’t even get me started on how we should revamp our calendar to follow the lunar cycles, thus breaking up all months into 28 days [SO HANDY! SO EVENLY PROPORTIONED! SO GLORIOUSLY STRUCTURED AND REGULAR!!!!] and how we should celebrate more astronomical events like the equinoxes and solstices. THEY MAKE MORE SENSE PHYSICALLY AND MATHEMATICALLY, what??

Anyway, despite all this, I STILL find myself getting caught up in New Year frenzy – making plans and feeling … refreshed? Or maybe it’s just all the wine I’ve had over my vacation and now I’ve got delusions of grandeur. Still! I have GOALS, people. GOALS. And I’m putting them in writing.

1. This year, my mantra, motto, raison d’etre is “I release” – I go to a great yoga class taught by a fantastic yogi. I just love her. At the beginning of class, we are encouraged to set an intention. Last week, my intention started out as “JFC I wish my hips were more flexible” but this wasn’t yoga-y enough so I worked on it and it  morphed into “I let my hips release” and then just “I release.” I realized that I needed this in my life for more than my hips (and my hamstrings – it’s like I’m a cyborg sometimes, there’s no give). During the yoga practice, I thought about other areas in my life where I could release things – long held ideas that held me back, long held fears that limited me, expectations that were unrealistic or maybe, not ambitious enough.

As a side note, I lost a lot of weight this year and it’s had be thinking – where else can I ‘release weight’ from my life? Are there things I’m holding onto, physical and spiritual that I can let go of?

So this has all culminated in my 2015 mantra – I RELEASE

2. Get book 3 of Covencraft [Double Sided Witch] edited and out there. Get book 4 [untitled] started AND FINISHED. YES, FINISHED.

3. Get another book done in 2015 – be it my werewolf gothic romance or the shiny new idea I have now for a bionic/cybernetic cop, I’ve got to WRITE MORE. Writing is like playing the cello – I don’t get better thinking about it. I get better by DOING. So far, I’ve done a book a year and I feel like I can do more than that. I actually think 3 books a year would be a good fit for me, but I’m going to shoot for 2 this year and see how I do.
Although, if I go with my werewolf gothic romance, I’ve an idea to turn it into a trilogy with book 2 being a vampire gothic romance and book 3 being a ghostly gothic romance.

4. Stick with my Spin, Barre and Yoga. I am really enjoying spin and no one is more surprised than me. I HATE the stationary bike, but I really like spin! It’s probably because I like the ladies at my spin place so much.

Let’s do this.

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Double Sided Witch Update!

 

Yikes! I’m just over 80000 words on Double Sided Witch, book 3 in my Covencraft Urban Fantasy series. I’m hoping to get this story wrapped by 100000 words (upped from my previous estimate of 90000).

I’ve been ‘doing’ Nanowrimo, so aiming for 1667 words a day (to get 50000 words this month). NGL, it’s been tough, but I’ve been sticking to it and clearly, it’s been working! I’ve gotten 28000 words in November! Not to mention, I started early, the last week of of October, and that upped my word count as well!!

Today I have to work through a plot issue before I can get to my words tonight after cello lessons. It’s not so much an issue as… logistics? I need some ‘extra’ bodies to help out with a sitch, but at the same time, don’t want anyone else but my main players to know what’s going on. Must think on this today!

Nano musings

Internets. I’m unofficially doing Nanowrimo. I say unofficially because book 3, Double Sided Witch was already at 50000 ish words before Nano started and you’re supposed to start a NEW project so that doesn’t count. but I thought I could still shoot for the word count. I actually started a week ago because I figured THERE’S NO TIME LIKE NOW AND WHY WAIT FOR NOVEMBER.

So this isn’t just me whining on DAY THREE. I SWEAR. it’s more like whining on day 10. WHATEVER.

The thing is, I changed my whole beginning. I got half way through and was like DAMN I did not set this up well. Okay, let me go back and fix this. so I did and I’m really happy with the new beginning. But now I’ve reached the point where I need to align that with what I already had written.

Which I can do. I’ve done this before.

So what’s the problem? Well, that means I’m deleting words! And that means I’m not going to make my word count! And that makes my Type A STRUCTURED brain VERY UNHAPPY AND SQUIRRELLY.

I’ve just got to get the fuck over it. So! The goal for tonight is to ‘sit’ with this and learn it as my truth. I know that sounds hokey, but it’s what I do. The word count is a great goal, but the TRUE goal is to get a working draft of book 3. And that means some of these words gotta go.

 

Looking for more Covencraft?

Hey all! For those of you done with book 2 of my Covencraft Series, Counter Hex, and waiting on me finishing writing book 3, Double Sided Witch, I’ve got good news! I have a short story featuring Jade in Fable Press’s anthology, Fable’s Carnival! [via Smashwords]

Fable's Carnival at Smashwords CoverIt’s also on TXTR, and for US residents on Barnes and Noble

The Fable authors got together and decided to try for an anthology and we voted on teh theme ‘carnival’ but, it was up to each individual author to interpret that as they wished. Here’s a little snippet from my short story, Carnival Moon, to whet your appetite!


Jade knocked on Paris’ office door and then pushed it ajar with her foot, spying him at his desk. Paris was on the phone, looking up from his computer and acknowledging her with a quick quirk of his lips. Since her hands were occupied with a tray of coffee and a grimoire, she jerked her head in the direction of the Queen Anne chairs in front of the fireplace and headed there. She saw Paris tilt his head to get a better look at the spellbook she was carrying. It was just one of her regular grimoires, not one of her demon spellbooks. She knew better than to take one of the demon books out of her house – he’d told her several times. Several long, annoying times. There were only three demon grimoires that they knew of at the coven; Paris had one and Jade the other two. Jade wasn’t sure where he kept his, only that it wasn’t at the Coven. Jade’s two were safely ensconced in her cottage. Today it was just a regular spellbook – one from the Coven’s library. There were a few spells Jade wanted to try, but, given her history, she’d been banned from new magic anything until Paris could review it first. You lose control of one or two spells and maybe try a demon rune without asking first and suddenly, you were on the shit-list.

She sat cross-legged on the floor and spread her stuff out. If she was going to have her coffee, muffin and spellbook, it was easier to be on the ground. Paris finished his call and then came over, hitching his trousers up carefully before descending gracefully into a cross-legged pose as well. Jade crammed a piece of muffin in her mouth and simultaneously handed him his coffee (which was sure to be overly sweet – he had such a sweet tooth), as he spoke.

“The werewolves have asked to meet you.”

Jade paused at Paris’ words, coffee cup half way to her mouth. She worked her mouth around the muffin, swallowing the dry morsel so she could speak. “I was sick that day.”

Paris frowned at her comment. “What day?”

Jade shrugged, washing down the muffin bite with her drink. “Whatever day it was the ‘something’ happened that made the werewolves want to meet me.”


I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think! It takes place directly after book 2, but before book 3 – right in the middle! Happy reading!

Covencraft Update – Double-Sided Witch (Book 3)

Hello internets!
It’s time for a status update on book 3 of my Urban Fantasy Series, Covencraft! I’ve been a bit behind in my writing over the last few months. There were some things, with some issues and some blah de blah but I’m back on the writing wagon! This weekend I’m with my writing friends in South Carolina and it’s always a really good jolt for my creativity and productivity.

I’m almost a quarter of the way into book three! My working title (which I sincerely hope ‘sticks’ because I love it) is “Double-Sided Witch.”

I’m still in the ‘setting up’ phase – where I’m positioning all my dominoes and getting them ready. I always feel like the first 2/3 of a book is this domino positioning and the last third is where, if I’ve done my job well, all I have to do is knock them all down. At this point, I’m predicting 90000 words for the book. I alternate between “OMG IT’S GOING TO END UP AT 130000 WORDS IF I KEEP UP LIKE THIS” to “SOB, THIS ISN’T GOING TO EVEN END UP AT 60000 WORDS BECAUSE I CANNOT PLOT.”

This is also the point where doubt sets in. Is there too much plot? Not enough? Is too much happening? Not enough? WHAT IS GOING ON?? lol. I find I just need to keep my head down and keep at it.

For those of you who have read Counter-Hex and expressed a love for Bruce (Jade’s lizard familiar), you’ll be happy to know that he’s back in book 3. For a guy who was only supposed to be in one chapter of Counter-Hex, he’s made himself a place in my heart and I’m happy to have him back in Double-Sided Witch.

I’ll keep you updated as go along!

What do you do when you don’t like a book?

One of the things I really struggle with is this: what do you do when you don’t like a book?

For a long, long time, I pushed through. I kept reading even if I didn’t like it. And then, I thought, SCREW THIS. LIFE IS SHORT. I’M NOT GONNA WASTE IT ON BAD BOOKS. So I stopped reading when I wasn’t enjoying a book.

Flashforward to when I got my first book published and now, every time I feel like I’m not enjoying a book, I get this gut-wrenching feeling like there is someone not enjoying MY BOOK just like I’m not enjoying the book I’m reading. Once again, I feel like I have to PUSH THROUGH.

But.. for what? What am I hoping for? I was just reading a book last week and I was JUST NOT INTO IT. I didn’t connect with the characters, I wasn’t really invested in the mystery, I just… didn’t care what happened next and I found myself taking a deep sigh and GIRDING MYSELF before I fired up my kindle to start reading.

Was this how I wanted to spend my spare time? NO.

So, I removed the book from my device and my goodreads [I don’t like giving books a bad review! OMG, I KNOW HOW IT FEELS AND I CAN’T]. I feel kind of guilty about not finishing, but mostly, I just feel relieved.

And now I’m back to reading a book I like! I’m currently reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s about how quickly we size things up and make decisions. I’m still on a bit of a non-fiction kick at the moment.  I’m much happier now! I look forward to reading again!

But I thought building a Platform meant like, you know, pieces of wood?

I’ve been into non-fiction books lately, which is NOT like me but I’m always open to my likes/dislikes changing so I’m just going with it. Of course, one of my biggest interests is writing and my book, so I’ve been reading some books on both.

I’m in the middle of Fast Fiction which I’m hoping will help me get faster at actually WRITING. But the clincher is you have to do all your PLANNING before hand. This has always been a sticky point with me. I don’t like prep work. I don’t like to tape shit up before painting, I want to just get to painting. I don’t like moving shit around so I can get organized well, I like to just start organizing. And similarly, I don’t like to start planning too much when I should be writing.

Because planning is HARD. UGH. it involves THINKING AND PLOTTING and sometimes these things aren’t fun. I can lay down the FUN scenes, it’s the little bits in between the fun scenes!

I’ve also been reading about marketing and how ideas spread. All this keeps pointing toward DEVELOPING A PLATFORM. which. Yeah. It must be capslocked. It’s a capslocked kind of thing.

So it’s all social media this and social media that and networking and pimp your work and *SOBS*. I kind of identify as an introvert! I LIKE being at home! I LIKE not talking to people. I LIKE being by myself. Can’t I just know that the book is good and it will eventually take off? Maybe? Someday? with luck? and maybe some black magic or a ritual sacrifice?

The answer has been a resounding NO.

I mean, I’m on social media. I like tumblr, and Pinterest and I do okay with Facebook [although too much FB makes me angry]. So I’m out there, I’m just… Out there for me. I reblog the stuff I like and pin the stuff I like and blog about stuff that’s on my mind and I don’t really worry about ‘creating an authentic brand,’ or if it all has to do with my books.

I wish I could say ain’t nobody got time for that. But I guess I have to make time?

 

Luckily, Riding a bike is just like Riding a bike!

I signed up for a sprint triathlon that runs Sept 6.

IKR? LIKE WHAT WAS I THINKING.

Consequently, I need to get in shape. Heidi invited me biking this weekend. Heidi is also the EVIL MASTERMIND behind signing up for the sprint triathlon.

She is petite, but mighty.

So, I managed to stuff my bike into my Honda Civic and meet Heidi for a ride. In the five years I’ve had that car, it’s the first time I’ve ever had to put a bike in it. Which means I’ve not taken my bike ANYWHERE. Riding or otherwise.

Luckily, riding a bike is like riding a bike – despite the LENGTHY TIME it has been since I was last on one, I picked it up quickly enough! A few rough spots where I was a little wobbly, a few times my chain and gears locked up [my bike needs to be serviced] but I did it!

Heidi took it pretty easy on me, just biking around Didsbury. Although there were a few times that I was thinking “OH MY GOD, HOW CAN THIS BE UPHILL?? IT DOESN’T LOOK UPHILL AND YET I’M GIVIN’ HER ALL SHE’S GOT, CAPTAIN!”

Heidi was able to keep up the conversation while I only managed some breathless, “Yeahs,” “Uh-huhs” and “No, no, I’m okay! I always look red like this and all sweaty SWEET MOTHER I ALMOST GOT A BUG IN MY MOUTH”

What can I say? I’m not very outdoorsy!

But the seal has been broken and I hope to get the bike out more!

yanno, as soon as my butt stops hurting from this ride!

The family that doesn’t really fight together?

My sister and I consider ourselves pretty funny. Okay, we consider ourselves REALLY funny. We sometimes joke that we should have our own reality show – the problem is, it would be 98% complete and utter boredom rounded off with 2% comedic brilliance.

We don’t exactly DO a lot of stuff.

And when those WACKY shenanigans DO happen, we’re sometimes too dry and nonplussed for what would be considered DRAMATIC REALITY TV. We also don’t really fight with each other. Or rather, if we do fight, it’s a cold war – everyone knows there are nukes, but no one is quite willing to be the one to set them off.

But mostly, we just get along. Even when things go pear-shaped

Take for example my burned fingers on Tuesday of last week. I burned them BADLY on the lawnmower. If this was a reality show, there would have been TEARS. AUDIBLE SOBBING. FRANTIC TRIP TO THE ER. TENSE MUSIC. EMOTIONAL UPHEAVAL. WOULD I EVER PLAY THE CELLO AGAIN???? WHAT ABOUT MY WRITING CAREER? WOULD I NEVER BE ABLE TO GET A MEDICAL DEGREE AND JOIN DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS???

What happened instead was, I ran for the cold water, soaked it and then decided this was not helping Jenge mow the lawn, so I held a cold piece of rock-gravel against the burn while we finished mowing the lawn.  Okay Jenge did the mowing. I watched and offered moral support, frantically dashing to get another rock when the one was holding wasn’t cold enough anymore. But I did help empty the bag! with my one good hand! We’d already started the lawn! It needed to be done! The next day was garbage day and I wanted to get that grass in there!.

Then we had a lackluster trip to the Shoppers Drug Mart for First Aid supplies [What about this one? No, I think that’s for sunburns. This one? Well, I think that’s just the no-name brand of this. Should we ask the pharmacist? IDK, that seems like a long line) and only when THAT didn’t to work, did we go to the Urgent Care center. Which is ANYTHING BUT URGENT. It was, like, 3 hrs of my sis and I sitting there on our phones for me to finally get called into the back and then for a nurse to finally say all they were going to do was put polysporin on it and send me home (REALLY WISH THEY’D SAID THAT WHEN I CHECKED IN). And then I STILL didn’t see a doctor! Actually that’s not true. One came in and said, “What have we here?” and I said “Burned fingers” and he said, “Are you Shelly?” and I said “No” and he left and I never saw another doctor again. After 3 hrs and then hearing the nurse say they would just bandage it and put poly on it, I checked myself out and had to sign an AMA [Against Medical Advice] form.

Then we went out to Jenge’s car and CLICK CLICK SPUTTER.

Again, in reality TV land, the car not starting at 10.30 at night after 3 hrs at Urgent care would be met with SHOUTING. CRIES OF OUTRAGE. SHOCKED FACES. WOULD WE NOT MAKE IT TO THE RANSOM DROP IN TIME? WAS SOMETHING RIGGED TO OUR CAR TO EXPLODE?

We turned and looked at each other. I shrugged. Jenge turned the key again and then she shrugged. She pushed the button on her radio. I pushed the button on the radio. She said, “I’ve been good to this car. Dammit. I took it for all it’s service appointments. I JUST GOT THE LETTER TODAY THAT SAID IT WAS PAID OFF.”

Me: Like, today-today?

Jenge: Like at 4pm today. I just opened it and was all happy it was finally paid off. It’s still sitting on the table. Figures. BASTARDS.

Me: That’s shitty. [clutches gauze to my fingertips – they still aren’t bandaged because I was going to do that AT HOME]

Jenge: [presses overhead light that won’t turn off now]: ugh. Do you have AMA?”

ME: [presses same light that jenge just pressed] No but I can sign you up online right now.

Jenge: Yeah.

Me: Well, we’ll call Darren [our bro in law], I guess.

Jenge: [shrugged again]: “Yeah. I guess so.”

So we called him. And he came out. There was no hollering. No shouting. No, “YOU BETTER GET HERE AND HELP US.” No GNASHING OF TEETH. The conversation was sorta like

Me: Um, Darren? You up?

Darren: Yeah, what’s up?

ME: We’re at the urgent care center and Jenge’s car won’t start. Can you come down?

Darren: Yep.

Me: We’re not sure what it is. Maybe we just need a boost. OR should we call AMA?

Darren: I’ll come down and take a look and then we’ll see. Be about ten minutes.

Me: Thanks, man.

Pretty anticlimactic.

So maybe we DON’T deserve our own reality show. At least, not on network TV. PBS? Can you only get a reality show if you fight desperately and meanly with your family?

Calgary Comic Expo!

Today I’m off to the Calgary Comic Expo. I’ll be attending with my bro-in-law and my nephews. For those of you that may be in attendance, here are some thoughts:

Don’t be a Dick! – People cosplay for fun! for their OWN fun and the fun of their friends. Some people are HELLA good at it. Some aren’t. But everyone is there for FUN. Don’t be a dick.

I repeat, don’t be a dick – a lot of cosplay costumes may be skimpy. Most [if not all] female cosplayers AREN’T DOING IT FOR YOU. They’re doing it because they like to dress up. and LET’S BE REAL – the cos play options for women has a lot of issues. A lot of female character costumes are ridiculous. Don’t be a dick and sexually harass someone who’s there to enjoy their time.

RULE 63 – – an internet adage which states that for every fictional character, there exists an opposite-gender counterpart. WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU – it means you may see Female!Batman, NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH BATGIRL. Female!IronMan, Female!Hulk [again, not to be confused with she!hulk]. Not to be confused with RULE 34, which, let’s face it is probably the most real rule out there.

Stay hydrated – the cement floors will SUCK THE MOISTURE from your body. That and you’ll be walking around and probably forget to stop and drink. Stay Hydrated folks!

Don’t go broke! – ZOMG so much SHINY. So many things you must own! Stay frosty, kids, stay frosty and save your pennies only for the best!

Have Fun out there!