Hello, and welcome to another instalment of Character Snapshots!
Today we’ll be talking to Ghia, who was introduced in Bellica and continues her journey in The Jade Star of Athering. There will be spoilers for both books in this interview, so if you haven’t finished them and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read ahead!
As before, my questions are bolded and the character’s answers are in italics.
Hey there! I haven’t participated in this in a while, for various reasons, but I decided it’s time I start again. Especially as I’m working on a new book and writing every day — I have lots to actually share.
If you’re new to SFFSat, basically every Saturday a group of writers share sentences from one of their works on their blogs, and link to all their posts on the master blog.You can find links to other participating authors here— be sure to read them! There’s some great stuff to check out.
Oh, and it’s science-fiction/fantasy — hence the SFF part of the name.
Today I’m going to share a snippet from the book I’m working on, Anala. Anala is book 3 in The Third Age, sequel to The Jade Star of Athering (book 2) and Bellica (book 1). Major spoilers ahead! If you haven’t read Bellica or The Jade Star of Athering and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t continue!
Ok, now that I’ve warned you all, on with the snippet!
The gods demand blood, as Athering and Ixtepan stand pitched against each other in war. Dusty prophecies foretell the coming of one who will save Ixtepan and end the bloodshed: Sho-qoot-Bak. Who is she? And will she embrace her destiny before the world is ripped asunder?
It’s finally here — cover reveal day! I’m super excited to share with you all the cover for my latest book, The Jade Star of Athering. The gorgeous artwork is by Juan Garcia from Otavalo, Ecuador, and he was gracious enough to allow me to use the painting for my book cover. I’m very grateful to him.
Following the cover is a synopsis and preorder information. I’ve also dropped the price of Bellica to $1.99, and the preorder price for The Jade Star of Athering is the same. After release day, the price of Jade Star will go up to $2.99. Bellica will stay at $1.99.
The Jade Star of Athering
Book 2 in The Third Age
The gods demand blood, as Athering and Ixtepan stand pitched against each other in war. Dusty prophecies foretell the coming of one who will save Ixtepan and end the bloodshed: Sho-qoot-Bak. Who is she? And will she embrace her destiny before the world is ripped asunder?
Bellica Agate has spent her life seeking privacy–as much peace as a bellica’s life can grant her. She has no desire to look beyond her roles as leader of the Thirteenth Regiment, protector of Athering, and spouse of a good man.
Yet old legends and prophecies haunt Agate’s every step. The voice of a goddess whispers in her ear: You cannot escape what you were born to do. Once Athering is pitted against its southern neighbor, war threatens everything Agate has ever known. She must come face to face with her past to save the future.
Every step of the perilous journey moves Agate closer to the truth she’s been running from, all her life: the gods demand blood. Hers.
Currently the preorder is available at Gumroad and Kindle. I’m working on Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo, but they might take a bit longer. I’ll be sending a short notice via the newsletter when they’re available, so if you want to be in the know first,you should sign up.
That’s it for now! I hope you like the cover. I know I do.
Yup, the big news I mentioned has to do with the sequel to Bellica.
I announced on my Facebook page last night that I had big news to reveal today.
The big news is I finished revising The Jade Star of Athering and sent it off to the editor a few nights ago. This means I can announce the new release date.
It’s a bit later than I wanted, but there’s also a sort of synergy with it — November 25th, 2011, is the original release date for Bellica. Three years later, we have the sequel. Hopefully it won’t be another three years until book 3. 😉
The next thing coming up is the cover reveal and setting up pre-orders. I’d like both things to happen on the same day, if possible, so I’m setting a date of September 25th. Expect a post here on that day.
I am really excited about the cover for Jade Star, guys. The art is by an Ecuadoran artist and it’s pretty incredible. I can’t wait to share it with you all.
So that’s the big news I had to share. A few housekeeping notes:
~Bellica will be going down in price on September 25th in preparation for the launch of The Jade Star of Athering. Tell your friends.
~My thoughts/recaps of True Blood will continue at some point, whenever Mr. Katje and I actually decide to finish watching the season. No, we haven’t seen the end yet. I should probably make him marathon the remaining episodes with me this weekend.
And that’s it! Likely see you next week, unless something makes me mad and I have to rant about it.
Working hard or hardly working? HA HA HA HA HA no seriously, I have a problem.
Procrastination doesn’t just come naturally, you know. We have to work hard at it. Really make sure we’re getting everything we can out of the time we waste.
After feeling awful for over two weeks because I haven’t been writing or editing, I finally got down to working on The Jade Star of Athering again today. I thought that working on it would make me feel better — and you know, it has. I’ve worked on it for maybe 20 minutes and written about 150 new words in it. Now I’m feeling “Okay, I worked on this, can I quit and do something else now?” That sort of ‘feeling better’.
Here’s the thing with The Jade Star of Athering. I set myself up for editing failure with it.
My natural writing state is to write a bunch and go back and edit it before moving on. I am an edit-as-I-goer. That was how I did Bellica, and while Bellica took way too much time, its finished first draft was about 10x cleaner than its sequel’s first draft.
I started doing Jade Star that way, too. It is, as I said, my natural state.
But then I published Bellica and became active in online indie author circles and started reading all this advice and…somewhere along the way I internalized the idea that the point was to get it written and edit it later. I’LL FIX IT IN POST, my brain drunkenly screamed as I tried like hell to finish my first drafts. THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, it further said, swigging some vodka (I don’t know where my brain got the vodka) before knocking over a lamp.
This worked out okay for Stranger Skies, which was fully plotted before I wrote it (and therein lies the difference, likely). I say okay, because editing Stranger Skies was still like dragging my carcass through a swamp made of death and tears in a way that editing Bellica wasn’t.
And now editing The Jade Star of Athering is turning out to be even worse.
Part of my issues are related to Fear of the Sequel, yes — I won’t deny that. There lurks a fear in me that I can only do great first books and whatever book is next in the series will fall short. Which is fair, as it’s basically a trope now that Sequels Always Suck, so it makes sense I’d feel that way about my own work (whether or not it’s true). But mostly, the big wall that keeps springing up is the fact that this finished first draft is the messiest pile of crap I have ever produced. And that’s because I absorbed “Don’t get it right, get it written” when I was finishing it.
Look, “Don’t get it right, get it written” is actually great advice for people who are not natural edit-as-we-goers. If you are the type of writer who works better editing after the first draft is done, then yes, absolutely, vomit those words onto the page and make it pretty, make it make sense, later. Do it, because it works for you.
It doesn’t work for me. And that’s a lesson I’ve learned, now, and I won’t repeat this mistake in the future. When I’m finished The Jade Star of Athering — which was supposed to be at the beginning of this month, by the way, and now it’s looking like I’ll have to push the release date — I’ll be working on From the Ashes, the next book in The Borderlands Saga. And I’m going to let my natural inclination to edit as I go take the lead, this time.
How to procrastinate: let writing advice override your natural inclination for editing as you go. Finish a first draft. Try to edit that first draft. Suddenly, everything will look better than editing that thing (including my publishing work, which I usually also try to procrastinate on).
“All voices sing in unison: get out get out get out escape escape escape…” but violence and death stalk Jane along every bend of every way out….
Can you escape a past you never knew?
Four hardworking professionals live the good life–until one falls into a hole in a Vancouver street. As the world’s colors change, each man grapples with shadows of war as Jane tumbles into the abyss of the Disappeared.
Paul and Zack, thrown together by what may be Jane’s last testament, are hardly excited about cooperating with each other on any issue, least of all on the disappearance, weeks ago, of their mutual friend and her little daughter.
What did Jane expect of them–if anything? What does her story mean–if anything? And what, if anything, should they do about Matt, Jane’s beloved husband, the man each of them suspects?
Caught in an ancient web of caring and enduring, action and restraint, law and healing, Zack and Paul enact the next steps–in Jane’s existence as well as their own.
Available for preorder in ebook and paperback from these locations
Note, the paperback preorder is only available from our Storenvy store, and not anywhere else. If you buy a paperback copy from Amazon or B&N, you are getting an older copy of the book which is completely different from this version. (Broken Sleep was originally published 9 years ago. That version is out of print, and the book has gone through extensive revisions prior to this version being released. They are basically completely different books.) The paperback of this version will be available via Createspace after the release date of September 23rd.
If you were hoping for an ARC of the book, there’s still time for one. Fill out this form and I’ll send you a copy of the ebook ASAP.
And now, I think I’ve spent enough time procrastinating. I even took a big break from working on this post to update my Facebook page and create a new cover image for it. I work really had at avoiding work, y’all.
Go order Broken Sleep, or request the ARC or something. Make my procrastination worth it! <3
So while I’m recliner-bound for 2 months I’m planning on getting a lot of writing done.
It’s not easy. I feel that’s one way The Doctor is very much like regular doctors — give you a straight answer when you ask a question? MADNESS
But, finally, I did. Yesterday, at my follow-up appointment at the cast clinic. After he told me that I’d probably have to be in the brace and off my feet until October, basically (so, a bit longer than originally thought), I finally got an answer regarding the possibility of ligament or meniscus damage:
They don’t know.
They won’t know until my fracture is healed up, because they can’t do an examination to figure out if the ligaments or meniscus are damaged without risking further damage to the fracture. So in several weeks, I may get an answer to that question.
I’m guessing it’s going to be “Yes, your knee is damaged,” mostly because my knee still feels like it’s been smashed with a hammer and I can’t bend my leg without extreme pain.
But apparently the reason they kept avoiding my questions about the knee was because they didn’t know and couldn’t tell me for a while. Which is all I wanted to know! Just an answer, any answer.
So now I know it’s still on the table, the possibility of more severe damage, and I just have to wait and see what happens. And in the meantime, don’t put any pressure on the broken leg.
This weekend we’re picking up a wheelchair for me and maybe getting me a proper shower at the in-laws’ place. If I’m up to it, Mr. Katje might even take me out for dinner at our favourite restaurant.
I’m honestly pretty excited about the wheelchair. Apparently it has a leg rest on the left hand side, which already makes it a million times better than those stupid hospital wheelchairs. (Yes, I totally have the muscle strength to just hover my leg straight out the entire time I’m in that thing. Not.)
I don’t mean to sound bitter about our experience with BC medical this time around. I’m getting the help I need. I’m just frustrated and tired of being cooped up in a chair 24/7, and looking at another 2 months of being cooped up like this.
So, I’m trying to set my brain to productivity. Namely, edits, rewrites, and writing fresh words (and, on the other side of the business: publishing). I’m just finishing up the work for a book by Kaimana Wolff, called Broken Sleep. It’s a really good book, even if the subject matter is hard for me to take. I said in my review that it’s a harrowing exposé of abuse, and I stand by that. It needed a lot of proofing, though, as you can no doubt tell by the picture. Right now it’s on round 3 of proofs. I’m waiting to hear back from the author, and then I can finish up work on it.
If you want to get an ebook ARC — advance reading copy — you can sign up for one here. They will be sent out as soon as I’m done with the ebook formatting.
Regarding my own writing, currently I’m working hard on The Jade Star of Athering. When I started re-writes there were 9 entirely new parts I had to write. Now there are 4, along with the various continuity edits and smaller rewrites within the finished chapters. For the record, editing and re-writing Jade Star has been like trying to marathon through a swamp filled with eels and unspeakable horrors. I am never doing vomit-out-words-and-fix-it-in-post writing again — after this, I’m going back to the much-more-natural-for-me edit-as-I-go style of writing. Fixing it in post is torture.
After I finish my edits and rewrites, I’ll be sending off the manuscript to my editor for the first round of edits. When she’s done, it’ll be time for beta readers to have at it. Once I’ve implemented beta feedback, it goes for its final round of edits, and then I start the publishing process. It’s at this point I release an ARC for advance readers. During the publishing process, we proof the manuscript several more times (and likely find more errors). Hopefully by the time release day rolls around there are no more errors left. (I say hopefully, because we are human.)
When Jade Star is off with the editor and beta readers, I’ll be focusing on finishing up the first draft of From the Ashes, sequel to Stranger Skies. I have a deadline of the end of the year to finish the first draft, but if I’m lucky I’ll get it done sooner.
I’ve got a lot of writing projects planned out for the next year or so. I really want to finish Jade Star and From the Ashes soon because I have another book I’m starting in November — Anala, the sequel to Jade Star and third book in The Third Age. It’s going to need to be outlined very carefully, however, as it happens during the same time period as Book 4 (which is so far untitled).
There’s a lot more on my plate, writing wise, but if I outlined my entire year’s plan here then I’d have no choice but to stick with it and I like to give myself some leeway for failure. (Insert winky face here.) Accountability is great, so long as I’m making myself publicly accountable for things I know I can accomplish.
So right now it’s just a matter of keeping busy with what matters to me, which thankfully is something I can still do while I have a broken leg. I have to be grateful for that — my passion doesn’t involve using my leg. I can still work on it even when injured and chair-ridden.
PS: If you want to be first to hear about release dates, tours, events, etc for both my mother and me, then you should sign up for our mailing list. It comes out about once a month, and it gives you the opportunity to sign up to receive ARCs before anyone else can, or to pre-order first. Also, you get 2 free ebooks for signing up. July’s is set to come out in the next couple days, so sign up soon!
Long and short of my trip to the cast clinic is yes, I have a broken femur, there is apparently no tendon or ligament damage, and no, I cannot have a plaster cast, because my leg is shaped weird.
Yes, you read that right: I have a weird leg. The plaster cast will not stay on it properly, just as the immobilizer of doom does not stay on it properly — but, the doctor says, the immobilizer will likely be more comfortable, and I can take it off from time to time. There’s also a chance my leg could swell again, which would be very uncomfortable in plaster, apparently.
I have to stay off my leg for 6 weeks. I cannot put any weight on it. I can rest my foot on the floor if I’m sitting, but beyond that? Nope. Nope nope nope.
But anyway, besides all that — let’s focus on what’s really important. I have weird legs, guys. WEIRD LEGS. I can’t even argue with the doctor on this one because he’s right. I’m a freak of nature.
See? This is right after it happened, too, so you can see the amount of swelling in the left leg. But that bend inwards at the knee? It’s super pronounced. When standing straight the edges of my feet almost line up with my hips, and the knees bend inwards to touch each other. And the kneecap is super high up. I know, because I saw it on my CT scan. IT WAS WEIRD.
Also there’s the fact that my legs are sort of shaped like cones, with the tiny end pointing down.
WEIRD LEGS, GUISE. ::does spooky arms::
After the cast clinic we headed home, and this is the conversation we had in the car (this was after my crying breakdown in the hospital).
Me: So this is the worst birthday gift I’ve ever gotten myself.
Mr. Katje: That’s what you get for getting it so early! And now you can’t even take it back.
Me: Nope, I’m stuck with it. Buyer’s remorse or what.
Anyway. I am immobilized for six weeks. In 2 weeks I have to see the doctor again so he can see how the leg is doing. But basically, no nothing for Katje until the end of August.
I have some projects to keep me busy while I’m stuck without a working leg. A big one is writing. I’m trying to get my word count up this month. (I’m participating in Get Your Words Out and I’ve pledged to write 150,000 words this year. So far I’m at just over 80,000.)
Another big one is editing and publishing — related to the first, of course, but I’m not always editing or publishing my own works, so it deserves a separate category. Right now I’m proofing Broken Sleep by Kaimana Wolff, and editing/revising The Jade Star of Athering, sequel to Bellica.
I’m also trying to get caught up on my reading. I read very slowly, but with not much else to do I might read more than one book this month. One can hope, anyway.
And finally, I’m powering through Stargate SG-1. I adore this show. I am on season 7, please no spoilers in the comments. (I realize it’s 17 years old but I’ve been able to keep myself relatively spoiler free.)
Anyway, this is my summer. All this, and no showering (at least until I get the shower chair from Oma’s old place). Don’t visit. Your nose will never forgive you.
If you do want to brighten my summer up, however, you can nominate my book, Stranger Skies, for the awards for which it’s eligible! (Assuming you’ve read it. If you haven’t read it, most of the Advance Reading Copy is available to read here. All of the chapters will be released by October 5th.) Details in this post at my Livejournal. The deadline for one of the awards is July 15th, but the others have more time.
So today, I’m answering the second part of the prompt:
Photographers, artists, poets: show us BOOKS.
Here is a photo I took yesterday, of, yes, my own book — it just arrived in the mail a little while ago and I unpacked the box and put the books on the shelf.
And a poem, Water Cycle, which you can find in glasstown.
I am always in a rush in a hurry
to fill up my notebooks with blather –
it is because so many empty ones sit
continually staring me in the face
that I feel guilty
for not feeding them – we’re starving! they cry out
but so is the streambed of my thought
dry for so many years – I sit to write
to enjoy what flows but it’s only a trickle
and so when I can I write
l e n g t h y
so that I take up as much
of the page as possible
and I write on both sides
and sometimes I gush
but my hand can’t keep up with my thoughts
and I’ll get distracted and
—oh, fuck, I did it again,
the stream is dry once more;
I’ve thrown this poem on the floor
and resorted to crappy rhyme
to buy some more time
so that my words can spurt forth—
But it’s grabbing me, this undercurrent
and I fear I can’t turn it to my will
and soon I’ll be dragged
underneath the weight of my creativity
spitting out the saltiness of tears unshed
choking on the wet juicy areas of my mind:
dark, locked up, till I find
explosives and blow the dam
and I write till my hand might fall off
with the pain
but I can’t stop until I do.
…playing Guild Wars 2 (I assume that by the time July rolls around I will actually own a real copy, not the free trial account I played once in August that made me immediately fall in love with the game).
…engaging in ongoing preparation for my classes, which will start up in September. I’m going in for my Master’s, and I’m also applying for a diploma program at a different school.
…doing what I hope will be daily habits by then: cooking, cleaning, knitting/crocheting, and reading. (Writing, too, but that’s mentioned above.)
To make those things happen, I need to stay on track with my goals now, in January, and in each month between now and July. I need to finish my plot outlines, and my first drafts, and second and third drafts; I need to put together story bibles. I need to work every day.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to ramp up for a bright and shiny new year. This cold is going to get kicked to the curb and I am going to kick ass all over 2014.
At least for the first month.
Here are my resolutions, goals, whathaveyous, to keep me on track to accomplishing my dreams this year.
I resolve to be true to myself. This is the only resolution I feel comfortable making and it’s a tough one to keep, when I’ve spent so much of my life swaying to please other people. With this resolution, I promise that I will please other people only if it pleases me to do so; that I will think of my own well-being first and foremost; that I will not forget where I end and another person begins; that I will treat self-care as a primary goal, not something I tack on after everything else and then feel guilty about.
While I am a stronger supporter of the idea of a community of humanity over “self-made” and “bootstraps”, there is no way I can be a contributing member to ANY community if I am not taking care of myself first. I believe anything I give a community is worthless if I am being untrue to my deepest self.
Unlike resolutions, I have a lot of goals and they fit better into categories…and subcategories.
Write 150,000 words in 2014. That’s 411 words a day. Things that count: fiction, poetry, blogging. Things that don’t count: worldbuilding, journaling (any writing I do at my Livejournal or Dreamwidth blogs are considered journaling, unless they’re cross-posted here — which very rarely happens). To help keep me accountable and on track, I’ve joined the communities getyourwordsout and inkingitout on Livejournal and Dreamwidth, respectively.
Reach 50,000 words in either Nanowrimo or one of the Camp Nanowrimos. I’m not sure if I’ll make this one or not — I embraced quitting Nano this year and that may be the start of a trend, or it may be a one-off event. I’m setting it as a goal mostly to see if last November was a one-off or the beginning of the end of my relationship with Nano.
Utilize the 750words site again. My word count goal every day to make 150,000 words in 2014 is 411. I’m going to try and top that every day by hitting 750, and the 750words site is a great way to do it. Also, there are some badges I want to attempt to get.
Finish rewrites/edits for The Jade Star of Athering (book 2 in The Third Age).
Finish writing From the Ashes (book 2 in The Borderlands Saga).
Finish worldbuilding for Dead Transgressions.
Get halfway through Dead Transgressions (includes some necessary rewrites).
Assuming I find back the files, finish The Man of Bronze.
Start work on Anala, book 3 in The Third Age.
Start work on Book 4 in The Third Age, as of yet not titled, occurring at the same time as Anala. Outline is a must!
Start work on The Moonrunner (book 3, Borderlands).
Non-official goal: make real progress on my web serial, Dark Fascination.
Postaday: post here every day in 2014. (I am not going to be too harsh on myself if I miss a few days, but the idea here is to post consistently, not once or twice a month.)
Find back my blogging voice. This isn’t a goal that’s quantifiable, but it is something I want to work towards in 2014, so I’m listing it here.
Read 10 books for pleasure. For pleasure means they’re not for worldbuilding research or school or something similar.
Make a real dent in my To Be Read pile. Ideally this would mean reading 100 books; my TBR pile is massive. Instead of giving myself a number that I’ll feel worse about not getting any closer to as time goes on, however, I’m just going to leave the goal as is: make a real dent. I’ll know when I’ve done it.
Cooking and baking
Learn to bake bread. Seriously this time. I didn’t do it in 2013 even though I said I would. I WILL in 2014.
Start making more things from scratch. There are a lot of things we go out and purchase that I think may be better made in the house — both financially and health-wise. I’m not a huge fan of highly processed food and it seems more and more everyday we just…don’t know what we’re eating. (It also seems more and more that people want to put aspartame into the weirdest things, which means I have to read the ingredients on EVERYTHING or die.)
Figure out my kitchen rhythm. When the Ogre and I live together I will be doing the cooking during the week. I need to figure out a way to make that happen so we’re both eating good, home-cooked meals and I’m not bone-exhausted by noon.
Bake something once a week. I used to bake about that often, when I was in high school. I miss it, and I’d like to expand my skills and repertoire.
Start physiotherapy again. This is dependent on funds being available, but I have hopes I’ll eventually be making enough money that I’ll be able to start doing physio again (and thus, able to function more normally — normally for me, at any rate).
Following that: find some sort of exercise that I can do daily that doesn’t strain my back and gives me a mild workout. Do said exercise.
Get my sleep schedule back on track and keep it there. No more of this switching to nights BS every weekend.
Work on finding a therapist. Not an easy thing, but therapy is a good thing for me and I haven’t been in far too long. I have some stuff I need to work through and I can’t fix all my problems via journaling.
Create a real manifestation board. I had one of these set up on my vanity mirror for a while, but had to take it down when we were showing the place to people. I’m going to set up one that can be moved from place to place and isn’t dependent on furniture.
Do another Good Things Jar for 2014. I did this in 2013 and it kept me going to see it full of pieces of paper, just covered in all the good things that had happened (even if they were as simple as “Still breathing”). I’m doing it again, and being more diligent with it.
Set up some sort of weekly practice, and blog more often at the spiritual blog. (The two things are related, as I need something to blog about at said blog.)
Spend more time with my dog. If you don’t think that’s a spiritual experience…you’ve never shared your life with a dog.
I think that’s a good list of goals for an entire year. Now to write them out and have them scattered around my house so I can see them as daily reminders of what I want to accomplish.