February Update

Hello all! It’s been a couple of weeks since Apocalypse 2020: Into the Black came out, so i wanted to update everybody on what I’m working on next. I have two projects in the works at the moment (with several hundred more on the back-burner always, of course).
 
Tarantula Hawks – This is a small-town murder mystery about a man who returns to his hometown and family after eight years away, and while he’s there investigates the county’s only unsolved mystery. I’m currently finishing up editing on it and plan on sending it around to some agents before the end of the month, in an attempt to get it traditionally published. If I don’t get any bites from it, I’ll be self-publishing it on Amazon later this year.
 
Mutant Crisis (Working title) – After Apocalypse 2020, I said I was going to step away from the LitRPG / GameLit genre, but I had this idea gnawing at me and it really could only be done as a GameLit book – so this is what I’m writing right now. Working on the first draft at the moment, but it’s going quickly. This is going to be a trilogy of survival-horror GameLit books, inspired by Resident Evil and other similar games, that I’ll begin self-publishing on Amazon later this year.

Wow, I suck at this

So, my last entry was nearly a year ago, and in it I talked about rebooting my life. Now, I’m going to try that again. First I’ll look over the things I said last year and see what has changed.

GOALS:

Write more – My goal here is 8,000 words actual writing every week. Editing doesn’t count.

I have actually done this, for the most part. I have been writing for four hours every day for a while now. Word count might not be 8,000 words, as some of that four hours have been spent editing, but I’m happy with the amount that I have written since making this post. I’ll be updating my Current Projects page to reflect what I’ve done and what I’m working on now.

Edit more – I have several finished drafts right now that need editing. I have been putting them off until finishing the next project, but there needs to be a better system in place for getting edits done. I’m going to say the goal is to edit at least 8,000 words a week as well. That’s not really that much, but more than what I’ve been doing.

I’ve edited several of my projects and am working on getting them out to agents (in the case of novels) and magazines (in the case of short stories). Still a process, but I’m happy with what I’ve done here.

Stream Regularly – I have been streaming on Twitch intermittently. If it’s something I want to continue doing, I should be doing it regularly. At least two hours 5 times a week is the goal. The main thing is to set a schedule in advance and stick to it.

For several reasons, I have completely stopped with streaming. First of all, my internet is awful, and I couldn’t get a decent upload speed. Secondly, it was a distraction from writing. I tend to take on too many hobbies and I have to hold myself back from that. As much as I enjoyed streaming on Twitch, I have to give it up.

Read more – I have been slacking on my reading lately, which means less inspiration to write. The goal is to read at least twenty pages a day. Novels or short stories. Comic books don’t count.

I’ve still been slacking on reading. I’ve been listening to audiobooks more, and have been reading a chapter per night in bed, but I haven’t been very consistent on it. This is still a good goal for me, and I want to do better at it. I’ve stopped reading current comics entirely, as there was just too much I wanted to read and I couldn’t keep up with everything. The Civil War II storyline in Marvel completely killed my interest as well. I still want to read some of the books, but when I do, it will just be trade-paperbacks.

Eat/Drink Better – I need to lose some weight. This is a fact. The first part of this is eating / drinking better. I drink too much Coke. This is the first thing I need to cut out. A cup a day at the most is the goal here. 1 cup. 8 oz. That’s not a very hard goal to achieve. 1 cup of coffee in the morning and the rest of the time it’s water only. If I go out to a restaurant, order water. No cokes with free refills. As far as eating better, the goal is to make more fresh vegetables and less bready foods. Two healthy meals a week, and only one indulgent meal per week allowed. I’m letting myself a little leeway here, as most of the foods I make are very fresh and not fried or just awful. I eat okay for the most part, just a little improvement will go a long way.

Well I’ve completely failed on this goal. I’m about the same weight that I have been for the last several years, but I still am not eating healthy, and I’m still drinking two cups of coffee per day, plus coke sometimes. I have cut back on the Coke however, so I guess that’s a partial win.

Work Out – The second part of losing weight is working out. The goal here is to spend at least half an hour every day working out in some way, be it running, bodyweight workouts, or walking the dog if I’m hurting that day.

Nope. Didn’t do any of this. Still should. Don’t want to.

Sleep better – I have already been trying to improve this, but I’ve been slacking again the last couple days. I tend to go to bed and watch youtube videos until 1am, then sleep until 9 or so. I’d like to change that to be asleep by 11 and up at 7. I was doing this for a few days and I felt much more productive. I need to get back to that.

Still should work on this. I’ve pretty much been going to sleep between 12 and 1am, and waking up between 8 and 9am for some time now. I don’t think that’s really a problem anymore however. I go to bed around 10, and either read or watch Netflix/Youtube. I don’t watch television, or any other videos throughout the day, so this is my time to do that. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing, and I’ve been happy with the amount of work I’m getting done in the day, so I’m actually fine with my sleep schedule now.

Post more on social media – I have a twitter, and my blog, but I so rarely post on it. I need to do this more. Networking is so important for a new author that it’s nearly impossible to get published without some sort of online presence. I need this, so the goal is to post SOMETHING every day on twitter, and post a full blog post every week on my WordPress, about whatever I’m working on or thinking about.

Haha, obviously I have not kept up with my blog, but I have actually been posting more on twitter the last couple of weeks. I need to do more, but I get social media overload very easily. I can’t keep up with everything. I’ll try to make posts on this blog more regularly however, and I’m going to continue to use Twitter often.

NEW GOALS

So after nearly a year, let’s figure out which goals I want to keep and any new ones I want to add.

  1. Write for 4 hours per day – This has been working well for me for some time now. I will occasionally take a day off, but I’ve limited those to every other week or so. Largely, I spend the time between 10am and 3pm writing, with a lunch break in the middle somewhere. Either editing, or writing new material, it’s all working towards the same goal of creating a story.
  2. Read More – Still need to work on this. I’d like to read a book per month at a minimum.
  3. Eat/Drink Better – Still need to cut back on the Coke, but I’m going to keep with my 2 coffee per day addiction. I don’t have very many vices, and I just enjoy my coffee too much.
  4. Post more on Social Media – One post per week on this blog, and One tweet per day is the goal here.
  5. Keep up with the housework – This is something I’ve severely neglected. After I write for four hours, my brain is fried, and I tend to just want to lay down and read or go for a walk or something. I rarely feel like vacuuming or dusting the house, or the other thousand things that need to be done around the house. I need to find time and energy to do these things however, so I’m going to make it a goal here. Spend 3 hours per week cleaning the house. That’s not much. It can be done!

That’s it guys. Thanks for reading. I’d love some feedback, support, and motivation!

Life Reboot

Inspired by Wil Wheaton’s life reboot, I am going to do the same thing. There are many things I don’t like about myself and that I want to change. My life has been in a stalemate for some time and it’s time to make some changes so that I can move forward.

GOALS:

  1. Write more – My goal here is 8,000 words actual writing every week. Editing doesn’t count.
  2. Edit more – I have several finished drafts right now that need editing. I have been putting them off until finishing the next project, but there needs to be a better system in place for getting edits done. I’m going to say the goal is to edit at least 8,000 words a week as well. That’s not really that much, but more than what I’ve been doing.
  3. Stream Regularly – I have been streaming on Twitch intermittently. If it’s something I want to continue doing, I should be doing it regularly. At least two hours 5 times a week is the goal. The main thing is to set a schedule in advance and stick to it.
  4. Read more – I have been slacking on my reading lately, which means less inspiration to write. The goal is to read at least twenty pages a day. Novels or short stories. Comic books don’t count.
  5. Eat/Drink Better – I need to lose some weight. This is a fact. The first part of this is eating / drinking better. I drink too much Coke. This is the first thing I need to cut out. A cup a day at the most is the goal here. 1 cup. 8 oz. That’s not a very hard goal to achieve. 1 cup of coffee in the morning and the rest of the time it’s water only. If I go out to a restaurant, order water. No cokes with free refills. As far as eating better, the goal is to make more fresh vegetables and less bready foods. Two healthy meals a week, and only one indulgent meal per week allowed. I’m letting myself a little leeway here, as most of the foods I make are very fresh and not fried or just awful. I eat okay for the most part, just a little improvement will go a long way.
  6. Work Out – The second part of losing weight is working out. The goal here is to spend at least half an hour every day working out in some way, be it running, bodyweight workouts, or walking the dog if I’m hurting that day.
  7. Sleep better – I have already been trying to improve this, but I’ve been slacking again the last couple days. I tend to go to bed and watch youtube videos until 1am, then sleep until 9 or so. I’d like to change that to be asleep by 11 and up at 7. I was doing this for a few days and I felt much more productive. I need to get back to that.
  8. Post more on social media – I have a twitter, and my blog, but I so rarely post on it. I need to do this more. Networking is so important for a new author that it’s nearly impossible to get published without some sort of online presence. I need this, so the goal is to post SOMETHING every day on twitter, and post a full blog post every week on my WordPress, about whatever I’m working on or thinking about.

So these are my goals. Like Wil, I’ll check in every month and grade myself on how I’m doing. I hope by laying these out like this and holding myself accountable that I can improve on these things. Goals may change every couple months, but only if I’m doing well in them.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about these goals, or personal goals of your own. Any encouragement is greatly appreciated. Having an audience will definitely help me stay accountable. Thanks for reading!

Writing / Life Update 12/6

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last several months. This one will be pretty short, but I’ll try to post more in the near future.

Just a quick update on what I’ve been up to:

I wrote 50,000 words in November for NaNoWriMo. My novel is called A Ring in the Dark – it’s a dark fantasy that feels like a twist between Wizard of Oz and Hellraiser. I haven’t finished the novel yet. I expect it to be around 75,000 words when done.

Been playing Fallout 4 some, though not as much as I’d like. Just no time for it. Loving the game though.

I had planned on joining in on the Read-a-Long that several bloggers were doing in November for A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, but just didn’t have the time. I am reading it, however, though somewhat slowly.

I did read Dark Places by Gillian Flynn however, while in Austin on Thanksgiving. I thought it was a great mystery thriller that kept me hooked. I read it almost straight through. Very good stuff. We rented the movie afterwards (which I didn’t even know existed until after reading the book). The movie was not so great. Very rushed and no style at all.

My goals for December –

1) Finish the first draft of A Ring in the Dark.

2) Third draft of Haint Blue – on this one I decided to cut it down to a short story and submit it for Writers of the Future. Still need to reduce the word count by quite a bit.

I have several stories in my head that I’m itching to get started on. I think the next project after I get Haint Blue ready for submission will be writing Natural Twenty. This is a story that I’ve been nurturing for nearly a decade. I wrote it out as a comic book series and submitted it to Oni Press earlier in the year, but it was rejected. I have been thinking of a way to adapt it into a novel, and I think I have some good ideas for it.

Also have a mystery novel that’s cooking in the back of my head. I’m combining it together piece by piece and hoping that I can get started on it in the near future.

Thanks for reading. I’ll try to update more frequently.

Writing Update 9/23

Hello everybody – So my video game break is over and I’m hard at work writing again. No more games until October 25th. It’s hard for me to give them up like this, but I’m focusing on my writing more than ever now and I’m accomplishing a lot and feeling good about myself again.

My goals for this month are:

1 – Finish a detailed outline of my NaNoWriMo novel, which I’m calling A Ringing in the Dark – for now anyways. It’s a dark fantasy that feels like a mixture of The Wizard of Oz and Hellraiser. I’m really enjoying the creation of it so far. It is going to be a self-contained novel – no series or sequels here – and will probably be my longest novel to date – as an adult fantasy novel, that is no surprise really.

2 – Do a second draft of Haint Blue – I like a lot of things about that first draft, but there’s a ton to improve upon. Right now the draft is at about 30,000 words. I plan to expand on some of the storylines and restructure the story, adding a good 20,000 words to it. During the first draft, I was thinking it would be a novella, but now I’m convinced it will become a full novel.

3 – I was thinking I might write a short story this month as well, but I don’t see that happening. I just don’t think I’m going to have time after doing the first two things on this list. I have an idea in my head that’s kind of a cyberpunk story about a guy who works at a pawnshop. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to write it soon.

I’ve been posting much more regularly on Twitter lately: Follow me there if you’re at all interested in me or my writing. Thanks for all the support you give me.

Writing Update 9/17

Just a quick update on how things are going with me.

I finished the first draft of Haint Blue a few days ago. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I originally planned on it being a novella, and the first draft ended up around 30,000 words. However, after writing that, I feel like there’s more story to tell, so I think I’m going to make it a full novel and explore some of the plotlines a bit further.

After finishing the first draft, I took a few days off to relax and play games and such. Been playing the Witcher 3, which is amazing. Also been playing Shadowrun: Hong Kong  and it’s very, very good as well.

Been reading quite a bit this last week or so:

The Last Wish – loved it. Great stories enhanced by knowledge of the video game.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day – I’ve always found her interesting and this book made me appreciate her even more.

The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket – I enjoyed this little read, probably more than the first book. The author’s writing style is very interesting and the stories are very dark for children’s books.

Paper Towns by John Green – Loved it. Might actually be my favorite John Green novel. It’s a little unbelievable at times, but that might the the point.

Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell  by Brandon Sanderson – Great novella. I loved it. He packs so much worldbuilding in such a small space. I want to read more about this place and these characters. This story is still on sale at Amazon for 99 cents as of this post. Definitely worth the price.

Feeding the Feral Children by David Farland – Not my favorite David Farland story. It’s very short, but still could not quite hold my attention. Still, there’s quite a bit of interesting worldbuilding stuff here that I enjoyed.

Now back to me: 

So, in November I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo. On Saturday, I’ll begin outlining that novel, and I’ll be working on my second draft of Haint Blue. Then, if I can squeeze it in, I’m going to write a short story before the end of October as well.

Oh, lastly – the price of my novella White Mountain has been lowered to 99 cents on Kindle! Pick it up if you’re able to, and leave me a review. I really need and appreciate the support.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

#writerproblems

I started to submit one of my stories that I wrote a while back to an agent and on their submission form it asked “Tell us one of your favorite sentences in this manuscript.”

So I go back and start reading through it, looking for a great sentence and I’m like “All these sentences suck. This story sucks. I suck.”

Now not submitting. Time for a rewrite.

Writing Update 9/8

Wow, I just kind of disappeared didn’t I? Sorry about that.

I’ve been working pretty hardcore on Haint Blue. I should finish that story within a week or so. Then I’ll be doing editing on a previous story, before prepping for NaNoWriMo in November, when I’ll be writing my obligatory serial killer novel.

Finally finished reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. Loved it. Also read I, Robot by Asimov and loved it as well. I had read Asimov’s Foundation several years ago and didn’t care for it all that much, but I, Robot really pulled me in and I loved how he could tell all these very different stories about the same central concept.

Right now I’m reading The Last Wish – the first of the Witcher series – mostly because I’ve been playing The Witcher 3 and it’s been blowing me away.

So that’s what’s going on with me. The reading group is doing Kushiel’s Legacy, which I unfortunately was just too busy to take part in. Hopefully I’ll be able to jump into the next Read-a-long.

Oh- comic books – I’m about a month behind on stuff and am slowly catching up. I just can’t keep up with them anymore and am being forced to cut back on them to spend more time writing. That’s how it goes, I guess.

Now that I have everything organized a bit better, I’ll hopefully be posting more often. Thanks for reading!

Read-Along – Kushiel’s Dart – Part 10

Kushiel's_DartHello everybody. Sorry I’m a day late – I just didn’t have time to read much last week! This is the final post for the Kushiel’s Dart Read-along – MY first read-along.

I loved reading this with all the other bloggers. This made me read a book that I might have never read on my own. It made me finish the book (in a somewhat timely manner), when I probably would have given the book up after the first hundred pages or so had I been reading alone. I also loved seeing everybody’s ideas about the subjects that the story deals with. What I’m trying to say here is that I had a blast with this read-along and I can’t wait to do another one.

This week Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is hosting. Head on over there to join in the conversation.

I’ll be discussing events from chapter 84 – the end of the book below.

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS

1.  Isidore d’Aiglemort comes back into play for the battle against the Skaldi, and Phedre takes a huge risk to turn him from an enemy back into an ally – to a point, at least. And d’Aiglemort’s one demand is to have Waldemar Selig left to himself on the battlefield… What were your thoughts on Terre d’Ange’s unlikely hero, when all the dust settled?

Well, in a big way, d’Aiglemort caused all this destruction to begin with, so his redemption here feels like a drop in the bucket to me. However, Phedre’s description of the scene with d’Aiglemort’s army crashing into the Skaldi, and d’Aiglemort taking 17 wounds before downing Selig is just so fricking awesome that I almost want to forgive the guy.

In the end, he’s just helping to clean up his own mess – something he wouldn’t have ever done if he hadn’t been caught and forced to. So, despite his valiant final days, he’s still scum to me.

2.  After the war, we get a wedding! Ysandre and Drustan survive to unite their people after all. Did you think they’d both get this far, and do you have any thoughts on how this union (political, romantic, or both) might turn out?

I feel like their union is going to turn out just fine. They seem to truly love eachother. However their two nations may not work out as well together. There could be some strife there, which Ysandre and Drustan both being partial to their own people and culture.

Honestly, no, I didn’t think the marriage would ever happen. I thought something would occur to stop it. I love how it was used as kind of a breath of relief after all this war.

3.  Melisande is finally discovered, and brought before the Queen to be punished for her treason. Though, of course it’s not as simple as that with her… Were you surprised at all when she escaped? And do you have any ideas about who might have aided her?

I was completely surprised that she escaped. I thought that she was going to be put to death, and I wondered what form of execution she would choose. I have no idea who might have aided her – I still can’t keep track of most of the names in the book.

Part of me thinks that the three Phedre’s Boys who follow her at the end of the book might be up to something. Maybe not all of them, but at least one. It’s strange to me that they are so loyal to her. Joscelin laughs it off saying he knows why – I’m guessing he thinks that they are in love with her. This seems to be trouble to me. Unrequited love can easily create a monster.

4.  Ysandre and Drustan aren’t the only ones to get their happy ending – well, up to a point, anyway. Phedre and Joscelin try on the quiet country life, and it goes well for a while… Once again Phedre is unable to forget, or be forgotten by, Melisande – wherever she is. Do you think Phedre will return to her old life, as we leave her contemplating? If so, is her choice the right one?

I think she will return to some form of her old life. I think she will return to serving Nammah by sleeping with clients again – of her own choosing this time. I don’t think I can judge whether it’s the right choice or not. I mean, if it was me, I’d say just be happy with your little kingdom, your perfect boyfriend, and you easy life.

But she’s an anguisette. She desires suffering. So she’s not going to be happy in that life. When you’re only pleased when you’re in pain, how can you ever truly be happy? It’s a weird conundrum.

Final Thoughts

Phedre sneaking away from Joscelin and through the Skaldi camp was one of my favorite parts of the whole story. I love seeing Phedre putting other skills to use beside her abilities in the bedroom. I wish there had been more of this type of stuff throughout the book.

The terminus move that Joscelin almost performs – where he would have killed Phedre and himself simultaneously – is interesting, but it almost seems a little blasphemous. Like the Cassiel brother just gives up protecting his target and kills her instead. It seems contrary to many of their other beliefs. I guess that’s why it’s so rarely performed.

Selig tortures Phedre by stripping the flesh from her back. I wonder how that effected her marque. It seems like it would have distorted the image in some way, unless Selig intentionally avoided the tattoo.

The side story about Joscelin’s father and brother feels a bit forced to me, and out of place. It is one part of the story that is not fleshed out very well, and when they spot him during the combat I don’t feel the emotion I think I’m intended to, because it doesn’t feel like it’s been earned.

We see the Skaldi pony again! I’m glad his story is resolved here. I feel like that’s the only reason the Yeshuites appear at the end – so Carey wouldn’t have to listen to people asking “What happened to the pony!?”

Short Review

There’s so many good things to say about this book. It has some truly amazing sequences that will be ingrained in my memory forever (Joscelin’s fight in the snow, Phedre watching the battle from the arrow slit, everything with the Master of Straits). The world-building is fantastic. I envy Carey’s ability to tie everything together so well. The plot is such an epic story that seems to completely change every few chapters. It’s just incredible writing.

There’s a few problems I have with the book – It’s a little overly long, with some boring sequences needlessly stretched, there’s too many similar names without much to identify the characters, and the plot gets very convoluted at times.

However, overall I enjoyed the book much more than I ever expected to, and cant wait to read the next in the series.

(More) Final Thoughts

The SF/F Readalong group is reading Full Fathom Five next. Since I have not read the previous two books in the series, I wont be able to participate in this one. Instead, I’m going to take the time to finish up a couple other books that I’ve left hanging. I still haven’t quite finished The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer.

There’s already discussion about doing the next Kushiel book (Kushiel’s Chosen) soon. I will definitely participate in that.

Thanks again, everybody, for reading!

Other Bloggers:

Allie at Tethyan Books