Category Archives: News

News: Computer Brick Recovery, Tsuki, and Pitching (And WIP!)

Hey everyone, so as promised, update on what the goobly gook happened with my computer.

Short answer: the April 18 update.

For those who aren’t aware, Windows launched a major update that started staggered roll-out on April 18th. Problem: the code of the update reacted poorly to one of the top free anti-virus softwares available by the company Avast, including ones such as AVG. Guess what I have used for YEARS with no problems? Yeah. No fun. In addition to causing issues, it also wiped out all prior save-points, so there was no way of me just undoing it so I could function. I had to renew my warranty with Dell to get a backup save-point for Windows to start from. (I’ve also changed anti-virus companies, not as a slight to AVG, but because I didn’t want to go through this again.) But I’ve gone through the update (again), and I am almost completely back in business, just have to get GIMP re-installed.

Then Tsuki took a turn for the worst. I thought she was at least maintaining weight, but no. In addition to that, her breathing had gotten odd in a manner similar to how it had gotten when she was a kitten and then again last year. The vet and I started trying to get her to turn around or at least make it through the weekend so the vet could try and do an x-ray…but it was too much for her, and we lost her to a heart attack. I had to get through my grieving, and that was so hard. It was the first time I was present for a pet’s death, and she had been my whole world for eight years. Kari has been by my side constantly since then, but I don’t have the heart to get her a new companion. I know that it wasn’t bringing Kari in that caused the issue–it just exasperated the situation. But I still can’t do it. I’ll probably stick to one cat until I have to start from scratch, and then I’ll get siblings to keep me distracted…

Speaking of distractions, I used a lot of them to get through these very hard weeks. I turned to Zelda: Wind Waker for a bit, because that is my go-to grieving distraction and always has been. Before her heart attack, I just saw Ocean’s 8. And I did a little work. One thing I did was participate in two “pitch” events on Twitter. I’ll probably do a post on my experiences with those as a blog post, because not a lot of people talk about them or overly promote their success rate, so I’d like to do something that has my personal experiences as well as some statistics behind it. I did send out a few more queries, slowly working my way through the list of options and then I’ll be looking into self-publishing.

I also started two different WIP original works, rather than just touch on my fanfics, and worked on the joint MMO I’m developing with Ginny. So what are the WIPs? One is set in a shared universe of mine and Ginny’s, dealing with a teenage werewolf pack, a female vampire who isn’t fully grown yet, and family relations. Because I am a sucker for complicated family stories, apparently. The other is just a bundle of weirdness that is basically me taking a fanfic idea and going, “How could I make this original?” I obviously don’t have extreme high-hopes for the second, but you know, Ro (the vampire) is currently stonewalling me, so it’s something to work on. As for the MMO, we’ve established where we want to be before we get the blog up and going, so I’m trying to poke away at it and get us to where hopefully sometime next year we can reveal it all and get everyone excited. 🙂

Hopefully I’ll be back to a more regular schedule now. Short of you know, more drama or emergencies. (Please no more of those, I am at the end of my limits.) I’ll be back with my comments on pitch contests next weekend, and to follow with reviews of Ocean’s 8 and…something, we’ll see what happens.

Advertisements

News: Ten’s Future, Feedback, and Fair!

Hey everyone, I promise you’ll get some RP shenanigan-type posts this weekend, with fair rehearsal over with, I should be able to start posting then again, when it’s easier for me to post something without being completely brain dead. Speaking of fair, I survived! There are like no decent pictures (at least that I have found yet), but I’ll try to post a couple when I can. It was hard, because this year was butt-ugly cold. We made chessboard history of the unpleasant kind, our stage froze solid Friday night/Saturday morning! Thankfully, we still managed to put on a good show when fair was open.

Sun’s Guard: Ten is still being queried. I’ve got about 25 still outstanding queries, though some of those are about to hit their four-to-six-week, you  haven’t heard from us it’s a rejection, notice. Of course, some of those have please follow up at four-to-six-weeks, so I may be poking people, wee! I’ve also got a bunch of open tabs right this second in my browser to screen for more queries. I’m on page 4 of 12 lists in Query Tracker, so hopefully I’ll hit the end of possible people to query by the end of this month or next, so then I’ll finally either have rejection from all possible sources or an agent.

What happened with the full manuscript offer? Well, after six months of nudging, I finally got a response. It was just a feedback letter, no notes on my manuscript and obviously no request for a revise and resubmit. That right there makes me…leery, considering how long she had the full book. The things inside the letter also confused me, but I won’t debate them in-depth here. I did double-check my readability levels (which are at 9th-10th grade per the Dale-Chell readability scale, at least the first chapter and the last which tells me the middle will be about the same), and considering none of my professors ever said anything sounded too young, I’m going to ignore that critique for right now. I also think the market is over-saturated in first-person POV, which is causing some perception issues of third-person. So at this point, I’m not going to do a bunch of edits. I might change my mind if I get more critiques in the same theme.

…and I feel better having written that all out, huh.

Anywho, like I said, I’m going to continue to query. If I run out of agents, I do have a very tentative self-publishing plan in place, or at least the basic framework. I don’t think I’d go down that road until I have a buffer in place though, so I’d write the second and third books and then start it. Maybe my friend Melissa Storm and I could share  booth space at SoonerCon, she’s an artist and I’d be pushing the books. Hell, maybe I’ll push Ginny’s too, maybe that will just be my thing. (I’m joking, please don’t let this become a thing, oh please…)

In the meantime, I’m still working on the game between me and Ginny. Right now I’m getting the story-script written for the demo week in different starting areas, which is also forcing us to make some final character decisions, yay, and we are always finalizing little details in mechanics. Once those are done, I need to do some town-lay-out mapping and plotting. I’m also getting rough drafts for potential blog posts scribbled down, since we’ve got the idea to stir up interest with a blog, have a tip-jar for funds to commission artwork for the pitch while I’m finishing up story, probably after I get the initial version done and am working on the alternate versions.

As for the blog, I’m going to do something exciting. I’m going to go buy three or four traditionally published books, and grab some indie published things, and those will be what I review, alternating around. I’ll probably honestly get everything on my Kindle unless I fall in love with it and want a physical copy to lug around. So you know, indie writers, if you want a review, let me know! I will be cross posting to both here and Amazon to make sure it’s fair with those, since I know indie books really could use the reviews. (I’m also working on making my reviews nicer.)

Update: Oh look, someone managed to snag a good photo on Friday before it became so cold I had to huddle under my cloak or wear a turtleneck and the smoke irritated my eyes to where glasses were required! BEHOLD THE MAGNIFICENT MOON HAT!

30221640_10214319897583169_859122227496639325_n


Writing: Thoughts on Querying…

I feel like preemptively labeling this part one, I’m sure I’ll have more as the process continues for me. For those curious, yes, I am still querying. I sent my full draft to an interested agent, but seeing as how staying in contact with her over the last six months became…difficult…I am actively seeking other options. Query Tracker, btw, is a great tool. I was reluctant to use it because I wasn’t sure it was verifying the agents, but nope! It’s safe!

So some funny (or annoying) things that have happened or I’ve seen, and my reactions.

One agent actually had a note on submissions: “No more vampires, sorry.” That made me laugh, and it also made sense? I wish more agents did that. Like rather than giving us broad genres, they specifically said, “I am sick of seeing this, I want to see this.” And no, telling me you want “strong storytelling” and “books I can’t put down” doesn’t tell me anything. That’s super subjective. If you are sick of first person narratives, say so.

I ran into two rather curious things, too, that gave me an amused rant to put on Twitter if no where else. I saw a lot of agents listing interest in LGBT fiction. And my immediate thought is, “Errr, you’re missing a letter?” A is important, especially for my books. In addition, romance tended to run through extremes–either EPIC or don’t bring it to me, it has cooties! Which all of that makes me laugh, since my main character is so far down the gray scale of demi-sexuality she is almost ace. (Which is the A.) It definitely shows room for growth, at least in my opinion.

Another thing I’ve noticed is there’s a mixed situation to the flooding of inboxes that agents get. There’s basically three things going on, and all of them have their pros and cons. Though to be honest, one super annoys me more than any of the others.

One solution is the no response means no. Ugh, that’s harrowing. Because of their work schedules, agents can’t guarantee when they will get to a book outside of a pretty long time frame. I get just wanting to hit the delete button and move on to the next, but I wish they would at least have a form they sent back to end the misery. But again, that takes time, and it’s time they may not even have. Others do have a form response that they send, and they guarantee replies within a certain window. Obviously as a writer, I love that, but I wonder how much it pulls away from the writer’s work.

The third solution is the one that cheeses me off if it’s not handled properly. Having an intern help with the slush pile of new submissions. On one hand, if it’s used as a tool, I feel like it’s the perfect solution here. The agent can go through the queries while giving notes out loud to the intern who is keeping track themselves, and then the intern can go generate the responses while the agent moves on. My issue is when its the intern who is going through the slush pile themselves and determining what the agent even sees. (What I have dubbed “intern-gating.”) I know one agent who does it of the ones I’ve done so far and even stuff that she has requested in a contest or conference to see gets turned back. Thankfully those people email her directly and get told to send it to her, but ugh, what a waste of people’s time.

The amounts of material requested also run the friggin’ gambit. Could we not come to a consensus, particularly one that doesn’t handicap the writers involved? The more pages there are, the more the agents have to read, I get that. I just think five pages isn’t enough. Ten, at a minimum, can at least get you to the action…or if it doesn’t, the writer has bigger problems. (There is a reason Sun’s Guard: Ten went through so many drafts, I was desperately trying to get to Moonshine faster.) I mean, I’d prefer the first three chapters, but I know that’s a lot for some to get through too.

I’m on the fence about a synopsis. On one hand, I think it is a handy tool for agents. On the other, I think it also can be very misleading? I tried to keep mine focused, but that was hard. Ginny had to hold me in from going down some of my subplots, partly to save space and partly to keep agents from getting distracted by seeing what isn’t there. I can’t imagine the trouble that other people went through. My professors weren’t much help, I remembered talking to Chester about not knowing what I was doing, and she said no one does when it comes to synopsis.

So there are my funny stories/observations. If you’ve got anything of your own you’d like to share, give a shout. As it stands now, I’m going to keep poking away at things. Hopefully someone will take the bait…


NaNo 17: Final Thoughts

Technically, I could write till I’m brain dead tonight and try to make 50,000 words. However, I have some final thoughts on NaNoWriMo that I want to write instead. (Plus, I’ve been fighting a sinus infection for the last week and lost miserably.) So, there’s the “official” goal of NaNoWriMo, which is…a lot more complex than it sounds, and then there are personal goals that you might have within the context of the challenge. Here’s my stance on this year.

The official goal is to write a complete, original book of at least 50,000 words. Well, this has always been problematic for me. Why? Because I am, as Professor Davis put it, a put-er-in-er. What he means is I get my basic framework out of the way in a rough draft, and then I spend the next couple of drafts adding to it to flesh out characters and scenes that might need it, fix my stimulus and response, and if there are any “blank spots” in terms of background or character descriptions, fill those in. Even then, my original books tend to run around around 40,000 for the first draft, and how much it gains varies considerably. I’m not a door-stopper writer, probably because I hate reading those. (Exception being Ginny’s stuff, which I get in nice bite-sized snippets for the actual story, and then when I’m editing the big book, I couldn’t care less.)

The second problem with this goal is that… I already know I can do it if pushed. If I absolutely have to, I will almost kill myself to turn out 50,000 words. But I will then suffer through three months or so of burnout trying to recover my health and motivation to write anything other than RP posts and the occasional fanfic. Not good, especially when I have an agent interested in Sun’s Guard: Ten, and I might be working on future books for that series soon… *crosses fingers*

This is where personal goals come into play. I realized that I was still in the same sort of “brain” as I had in college/grad school. Short bursts of turning out a ton of work, and then long breaks. The problem is without a set deadline, it’s harder to get the bursts going. I also work full time now, I am stepping up in my medieval group, I have a house to keep up with and no spouse to help, plus all my RPs (most of which I paused this year) and other things I do for fun. Add in the neglect I’ve been showing Ginny’s and my MMO concept, putting far too much work on her shoulders, and my crappy health lately? Yeah, writing hasn’t been happening.

Which just makes me more exhausted. Writing is my outlet. I enjoy it, it lets me create a world and people who have an important part to play. But God, it is exhausting to the old brain pan as much as it’s refreshing. And I have forgotten (if I ever knew) how to pace myself when I don’t have anything other than self-applied deadlines, and now that I’m out of school, I don’t know what is considered reasonable for me to do without causing burnout.

So my personal goal for NaNo was, while not to write every day because I knew that was impossible, but to write more and when I got tired, stop. If my head was hurting, or I had an anxiety attack, I was allowed to take the day off. Since it was Thanksgiving during this month, I made time for my family. And at the end of the month, evaluate what I learned.

The end results are pretty satisfying. In a rehearsal month (because yes, I have medieval fair rehearsal in November) when there is a major holiday where I am expected to see my family, and with not only a major anxiety attack one weekend and fighting a sinus infection, I turned out 33,000 words. That is at least half if not more of a novel. I also averaged anywhere from 1700 to 2500 a day on days where I could write, though the 2500 I could tell was me pushing a little harder than I should have. That’s about one chapter for me. It’s definitely a blog post, as you all can tell.

Right now, Heir to the Sky is at a good stopping place, so I’m going to call this the end of “arc 1,” even though I only gained one badge. Next year, unless I’m stupid behind on a deadline for a publisher, I’ll pick it up again for November 2018 and see if I can get us to the Mega Evolution. I’m still going to play the game (once I buy a new charger for the DS, Kari wrecked my only one) and get all my notes done so all I have to do is write… I might even do super-prep and get all my art graphics done instead of doing it as I go, just to save time.

While I may not have met the official goal of NaNoWriMo, I definitely met my personal goal. I know my pacing now, and I have a plan for the next few months. December is gift writing, January is working on Ginny’s and my game and querying Ten some more, since the agent hasn’t given me yes or no yet and isn’t exclusive yet either. February is actually going to be dedicated to some first-arc plotting for both Bree’s first book, Truth of Justice: Touched and Caley’s second book, Sun’s Guard: Page, and then I might start writing Touched if there’s time. March is going to be a “rest month” where I focus on fanfiction and catching up any RPs I’ve let slide, giving my brain a break, mostly because it’s the last month before medieval fair and that’s going to be eating me alive.

And of course, you can return here for your expected blog post once a week. ^_^ I’m not sure what next week’s is going to be, I have a couple half-started, so we’ll see!


News: Queries, Kitty Weight Problems, and a Wedding

…prefacing this, the wedding was not mine.

So, Ten has gone out to a bunch of agencies now. I had one nibble for more, but I haven’t heard back so I think it might be a bust. They only wanted three chapters, and its been a couple months now, even factoring in August dead month. Between blog posts and dance seminars this weekend, I may try to get some fresh ones sent out. The agents left on my list require a synopsis, and converting my Excel books into a coherent document was a hassle I was trying to avoid.

…Yes, books. Sun’s Guard and the rest of its intended universe requires extensive notes, plus one to keep the big picture sorted out.

Tsuki rather dramatically lost a lot of weight. Not gonna lie, she has been my biggest concern lately (she’s my baby, damn it). Her blood work came back excellent at the vet, and a month and a half later, I think I finally have her diet adjusted. The next few weeks will tell. She’s such a picky eater and has a sensitive stomach and grain allergy, it has been a nightmare.

And the wedding! It was my brother’s, I officially have a sister, a niece, and a nephew. I was technically a bridesmaid, but I mostly kept out of trouble and helped when I could. Now I am prepping for fair season, and you know, being a hermit for a little while.

Part of prep will show up here! I am doing a Nuzlocke run of Pokemon X, and intend to write it for NaNoWriMo. The writing will go up in a weekly post through November, with cute little insert charts of the Pokemon I catch. I should have at least four badges before I start, which I hope will be enough headway. You’ll meet the player analogue and rival before hand, in a Character Study, so look out for it and more posts starting soon!

Update: I WAS WRONG, TECHNOLOGY BIT ME, AGENT WANTED THE FULL MANUSCRIPT!!! Hoping for good news in six weeks.


AN EPILOGUE AND TEN IS DONE!

…or rather, the first complete draft of the book is done, I have I think three or four partials where I realized my plot was wrong for whatever reason and had to restart. Now I’m putting it away for a month, focusing on other projects that need my attention in some manner or other and take my mind off of it.

Then begins the wonderous process of going back and doing ANOTHER draft to fix problems I find in scenes (my plot feels solid?). Then I submit myself to Ginny for punishment and hope she doesn’t find any giant logic gaps/plot holes/ boring spots, because sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees and there are a lot of details, a.k.a. trees, for me to keep in my head. (Yes, she’s reading mostly for entertainment value check, but she’s the kind of reader that if you have massive plot problems, it kills her enjoyment. She’s HANDY like that.) Then I fix any problems she DOES find, so there’s another draft.

Then I print the WHOLE THING out, go through and check the stimulus/response order, the reaction-order (it should go feeling, thought, action, dialogue. And if it can’t and still make sense, your stimulus/response order is wrong), fix all of THAT…. then print it off AGAIN and do a grammar/typo check.

I don’t expect my s/r or r-o to be perfect, I just want it to be at a level that Deborah Chester, my grad school committee head, won’t read it and bow her head in shame.

And with all that work… Still should be writing query letters by the end of January. (I hope.)


News: Act II Complete and Moving!

Hey folks, this is  going to be real quick this week. I’m trying to get back in the habit of there being a weekly post, and I meant for there to be an actual review this week and just pull off two with a News post… Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Why? Well, I am moving! I have bought a house, we close on Tuesday, and I have to be out of the apartment by Halloween. So things are going to be a little crazy around here this weekend, and possibly the next two, but I will still try to get something out at least one of those weeks.

On even more exciting news, Act II of Ten is complete! I will need to update all my statuses around this website after I finish this post, and I’m hoping to finish Act III also by Halloween.

Why? Because I am going to write a Nuzlocke run of Pokemon X for NaNoWriMo this year. It is going to take the place of most of the SSO stuff here on the site, sort of a freebie read to see if you like my writing style before you buy anything. I won’t be taking it down, so if you have favorited the link to it or go hunting in tags you’ll be able to find it, but I am going to be taking it off the top bar. Ginny is going to blog and go more in depth about it, and I will post the link when that happens.

With that, I am off to try and get at least to someone getting poisoned in the book. 😛 Wish me luck!


News: Kidnapped by Medieval Fair

Yeahhh… My partner hasn’t been present at our medieval fair rehearsals for the last month and a half (ish). Meaning my lines in the human chessboard this year have doubled at this point. Meaning about one third to one half of the half-hour long board is me speaking. In rhyme. And iambic pentameter. And my costume was being a four letter word, or at least one part of it was.

See you on the other side of April Fool’s Day, I promise. I just need to get past fair, recover from it on the Monday after (I even took off work that day) and I will get something out that week.


2016 Goals

I refuse to call them resolutions. I’m not changing, I’m just setting goals for myself.

  1. Finish the video game pitch. We’re so close, I can feel it, I just have to buckle down.
  2. Get Ten ready for querying. Again, so close, so very close…
  3. Finish two of my fanfics–White Heather, which is the last in a stand-alone trilogy I started years ago and it would be nice to put the final cap on it, and then the first series in my Sly Cooper insanity, Sly Cooper: Lost in Time and Space.
  4. Socialize more. I got into the habit of staying home like a sloth while I lived up in OKC, and now that I’m back here in Norman, I’d really like to get out with my friends a little bit more. (…A wee little.)
  5. Save for my trip to Disney World! That’s right, I’m fully intending on spending my 27th birthday Bounding around Disney World with at least one, if not two, of my closest friends for a full week. (Okay, we might make a side trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for one day.) I won’t be able to blog the entire trip, but I do plan to post pictures from it here on the site. 🙂

News: Recovering from NaNo

I sort of crashed, creatively, after my failed attempt at NaNoWriMo. Well, I say failed, if only because I didn’t finish the novel or reach 50k words. But what I did get done is some major progress. I got the first bit that I’d written redone (minus some added fluff that needs added to the first chapter), and can finally start plotting the last bit that needs it.

Why haven’t I been on it? Why didn’t I finish? Well, I started a new job at the end of October, and it’s been taking me time to adjust to it. There’s a lot of elements to it that I’m familiar with, there’s a lot of it I’m not. I’ve gotten to where I’m at least quasi-comfortable with the new computer system, but figuring everything else out…yeah, it’s still hard on my poor brain. And we’re supposed to be getting a new system here in the next year or so, wee.

In addition, Ginny and I are working on and off on a video game pitch together, and I sort of want to focus on getting my half of it done for good, which is getting the documents all put together and shiny, and being the liaison with our trailer artist (I finished the character side of it, mostly, got a few more left to do).

Overall, there is a plan. I’m probably going to sit down at lunches with a notepad and try to get the third act (which is commonly referred to as the second half of the second act) plotted. I’m not going to try writing it until February anyway, I need the extra time to get used to my job at this point. But we’re in the heart of medfair season, so I’ve got plenty of projects to tackle. Pitch, medfair costume, my Sly Cooper fanfics that have been dying for attention… I’ll update you all in February if I’m ready to start writing again.

I leave you with this today, and then reviews will start next weekish. I’ve been in the Ginny-Box plus watching some movies, so I’ve got material! 🙂