How to Procrastinate

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).

On the plus side of this procrastination business, I’ve gotten some work done on the publishing-other-people’s-stuff side of my life, such as getting Kaimana Wolff‘s new book Broken Sleep done and ready for pre-order (I reviewed the book back in May when I was still working on it; very few changes have been made since then, so the review stands). Shameless plug follows.

BrokenSleepebookcoverfinal400xWhat has happened to Jane?

“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

Kindle US

Kindle Canada

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Gumroad

Storenvy

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

Again I go, into the breach swamp….

-Katje

Worst. Birthday Gift. Ever.

Apparently I have weird-shaped legs. Also I suck at picking out birthday gifts for myself.

The title is better if you imagine it being read in Comic Book Guy’s voice.

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.

legs

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.)

Things I'm working on today: writing....
Text from a short story I’m working on.

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.)

...and Stargate SG-1. (that shld rly say dreamboat tbh. Mmmmm, Teal'c.)

Mmmm, Teal’c.

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.

Now that would be the best. birthday gift. ever.

-Katje

2013 James Tiptree Award Winner and Honor List Announced

I’m not sure when exactly this happened; I was too preoccupied with moving since late January to continue with my obsessive refreshing of the Tiptree website.

Recently the honor list and winner of the 2013 James Tiptree Award were announced. I’m not sure when exactly this happened; I was too preoccupied with moving since late January and surgery + recovery this week to continue with my obsessive refreshing of the Tiptree website (some of you may remember my book was nominated).

I’d like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to N.A. Sulway, author of Rupetta, winner of the 2013 Tiptree Award.

I’d also like to extend congratulations to the members of the honor list: Eleanor Arnason, Aliette de Bodard, Nicola Griffith, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Ann Leckie, Bennett Madison, Sarah McCarry, Janelle Monae, Helene Wecker, and S.M. Wheeler.

I didn’t expect Bellica to win the Tiptree, but I did entertain some hopes of being short-listed. I would be lying if I said my pride weren’t a little bit stung right now.

But I can see the logic. Bellica was my first novel and it was incredibly long. It’s not terribly revolutionary. It’s good, but perhaps it’s not award or short list material. (And who knows — Canada Post says the copies of the book arrived on time, but perhaps they didn’t. That would suck, but it would also be my fault for not getting the books out earlier.)

Bottom line: I’m okay with Bellica not winning or making the list. I think my other books will have a better chance at being listed for awards, even if I never win any (with which I am also okay). I have a lot of faith in my latest book, Stranger Skies, and the rest of the series that will follow.

Though my pride is stung — I am a Leo, after all — I do not harbour any bitterness or resentment towards the judges or the winners. The authors on that list worked hard for this achievement and they deserve it. I wish them well, and I will add their works to my To Be Read list.

I encourage you to do the same.

-Katje

PS: for the record, Stranger Skies is eligible for the 2014 Tiptree. If you feel it should be nominated, you can do so here: 2014 Tiptree Nomination Form.

Please do not nominate it unless you truly feel it deserves to be considered. (This requires that you have read it.)

BYOB(ookworm)

I am always in a rush in a hurry / to fill up my notebooks with blather –

Today’s daily prompt from the Daily Post:

Write the blurb for the book jacket of the book you’d write, if only you had the time and inclination.

I think responding to this would be cheating. I’m a published author; currently I have out two novels, a book of poetry, a self-published short story and a self-published collection of short fiction.

Time and inclination? Lots of the second; little of the first, but I still get the books done. So it’s not so much an imaginary blurb I’d have to come up with…as just copy and pasting the blurb from Bellica or Stranger Skies. (You can read Bellica online here, by the way, and the advance reading copy of Stranger Skies is being posted here.)

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.

Oh hey look at that, my books are here. Cover art by Autumn Skye Morrison; she's amazing.

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 –
and maybe
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

 BIG

or

   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—
and shine.

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.

And begin again.

2013 in retrospect

I want to focus on the good, and work towards making 2014 much better. With that in mind, here is my list of pretty cool/awesome things that happened this year.

I was recovering from the cold from hell, but today my health has taken a nose-dive again. I am now the Plague Cat, and I demand snuggles chicken noodle soup. (I do demand snuggles, but only from the Ogre.)

So I thought I’d do a brief counting of the good things that happened to me this year, seeing as 2013 ends tomorrow. (AUGH.)

Overall 2013 wasn’t a really great year for me — I’m still struggling financially and honestly, that sort of badness makes everything else suck a lot more. I had a lot of plans this year that didn’t happen, because the year started with a bang that put me in the hole, financially, and I haven’t been able to crawl out. (I ended 2012 doing pretty well, and at the end of last year those plans looked possible.)

However, I don’t want to focus on the bad. I want to focus on the good, and work towards making 2014 much better. With that in mind, here is my list of pretty cool/awesome things that happened this year.

  • Finished my second novel. In January, I finished the first draft of my second book, Stranger Skies. It’s now been published in ebook form, and we’re working on getting the print books out the door.
  • Got engaged to the love of my life. Yeah, the Ogre and I made it official — the same weekend I finished Stranger Skies, actually. That was a good weekend.
  • Finished the first draft of my third novel. The Jade Star of Athering is still in rewrites and edits, so it’s not really finished. But the first draft — the skeleton of the story — is complete, and I do expect to finish it and publish it in 2014.
  • Got nominated for an award. Bellica, my first novel, got nominated for a James Tiptree, Jr. Award. Review copies have been sent off to the judges and I wait anxiously to hear if I make the honor list. Regardless what happens — this is a HUGE deal.
  • I finished my last course at VIU and will be graduating in January. This was supposed to happen last year, and I was supposed to graduate in January 2013 — but it didn’t, and I had to take an extra course. I’m counting it as a good thing, even though it pissed me off, because I’ll be done with my BA very soon.
  • Thanks to the generosity of friends, I was able to raise the funds to put through the paperwork on my change of name. I don’t think it’ll be done in time for graduation, which was my deadline, but that’s okay — I can get the degree re-printed if need be, and soon enough my real name will become my legal name.

Tomorrow, I’ll post my list of goals/resolutions/whathaveyous that will make 2014 a much better year for me.

-Plague Cat

PS: Those of you waiting for a new episode/chapter of Fifty Shades of Drinking, I’m sorry, it’ll be a bit longer than I anticipated. I was going to get one done after Christmas but I have been far too ill to tackle it. Likely the next episode will be posted early January. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Accomplishments

Yesterday I finished proofing the print copy of Stranger Skies, made edits to the file, and sent the files off to the printer’s.

I’m glad I actually sat myself down and proofed the thing. I was feeling a bit “BUT I’VE DONE IT SO MANY TIMES ALREADY” when I got it and didn’t want to proof it. Turns out there were a few rather large errors in it, which of course means I need to update the ebooks again.

Still, feeling accomplished about getting the print book done. We should have the first run printed by the end of the week, hopefully. They will be ready to ship by Christmas.

I’m doing a special on pre-orders, so if you want a paperback of Stranger Skies for $16.95 instead of the regular $19.95, this is your chance. Will ship to anywhere in Canada for five dollars. Still working on US shipping, so if you’re in the US stay tuned for that.

Other accomplishments:

– Didn’t get crying-drunk at the Christmas party last night, like I did last year. To be fair, last year they had eggnog and rum, which I’d never tasted before. This year there was no eggnog and I just had my own Bailey’s, so it was far easier to moderate my intake. Hooray!

(I don’t often get crying-drunk; in fact it usually never happens. But eggnog + rum tastes really good and I got super excited last year over it and…yes. Couldn’t moderate. So this year it was a goal to not get so drunk at the party. Because crying-drunk is just fucking depressing.)

– Went and shipped 7 boxes today! 6 of them held copies of Bellica for the James Tiptree Award judging panel! They might actually arrive on time. Send prayers please.

– I watched Love, Actually today with Jenny Trout and a bunch of awesome folks on Twitter. I guess maybe it wasn’t an accomplishment? But I feel accomplished, so there.

Now, dinnertime. I am off to stuff my face.

Well, I don’t know, maybe bras do bray.

Yesterday I woke up at 6pm. The takeaway from this is that my sleep schedule has been borked. Again.

So, natch, I’m pulling an all-nighter to right it. I have my first volunteer day for VIWF on Thursday. 10 am, Granville Island. I’ll need an hour to drive out there and an hour to get ready in the morning, and I like being early. No time to slowly fix the sleep schedule over 2 weeks, unfortunately. Need to do an urgent patch.

Waking up at 6pm meant I was almost too late for the VanSlam. Luckily, I got in just under the wire and even got to perform. (!!!) I read “Blood Candle”, a poem I wrote a yearish ago and have been sitting on ever since. Video was taken; it will be up at some point in the next week or so, I gather. I don’t think it’ll be a full body shot, so you won’t be able to see the horrendous shaking of my legs. It felt like I was trying to tap-dance.

After Slam I got to hang out with my fabulous friend D., who stepped into the boots of Bellica Yarrow for the cover of Bellica. Yes, that’s a photograph on the cover; everyone is always so surprised with that info. We chatted and she showed me My Drunk Kitchen. I was reminded that I needed to get back to vlogging, so expect to see a video sometime soon. Then I went home at like 2:30 a.m., which is obviously the best time to make the drive from East Van to Coquitlam.

Side note, I just got up in the middle of writing this to go find my video camera. I knew exactly where it was. What I did not realize was that the purple bra I have been looking for was hiding with it. So, hooray. I found my video camera AND my bra. Perhaps in celebration of this fact I shall wear my bra as a hat during my vlog. Also I will stop typing bray instead of bra, forcing myself to constantly delete and fix.

Unrelated to any of this, I am trying to cut sugar out of my diet. This has nothing to do with “eating healthy” or whatever the fuck and everything to do with my wisdom teeth are coming in everything is inflamed sugar makes this worse ow ow ow ow ow please kill me now. Actually, eating anything hurts right now, but sugar is definitely the biggest culprit in worsening my pain levels to the point of “I cannot function, please send copious amounts of alcohol and then leave me to curl up in the snow and die”. Working on seeing a dentist soon. At this point, I’m hoping the teeth are impacted — because in Canada if you need actual surgery to get out wisdom teeth (ie, if they’re impacted), it will be partially or maybe totally covered by healthcare. Or if your teeth have gotten to emergency levels, ie you’ll die without treatment — then you’re covered too. So, you know, that’s completely not at all fucked up in any way. Right? Right.

Anyway, the cutting sugar totally out is not easy and I have been failing miserably. I don’t even eat that much sugar these days, at least not during the week when I’m at my place (there’s a lot of junk food at Ogre’s place, and I have no will power) and still I’m finding it really difficult. I need coffee in the morning, and I really do prefer it sweet. I use honey or agave syrup because white sugar, blech, but that doesn’t matter to my inflamed gums and nerves. Sugar is sugar I guess.

Long story short I’m not sure how to end this blog post so I just keep rambling about things.

 

I have the best fans

I spent Saturday at Vancouver Pagan Pride Day. No booth; I was just there as an attendee. I did bring 40 cards with codes on them for free downloads of Bellica. I figured I’d talk it up a bit and hand out the cards, maybe, sort of? I’m terrible at talking myself or my books up.

So when I first arrived I went and sat with my friends in the ATC-Canada booth and handed the copy of Bellica I’m donating to the Vancouver Island Pagan Pride silent auction to the auction coordinator. Many of my friends have read Bellica, and they are all great big fans of it. This isn’t just because they’re my friends; I make it a point to cultivate honest people in my life. They really do like the book.

I sat by Michele and Mary and chatted for a bit, relaxing — I was tired, because I’d been up early after little sleep, and it was a hot day. Made me want to catnap.

At some point the cards with codes on them came up and I showed them to my friends. Michele asked if I’d handed them out yet and I said no, I was just sitting and relaxing for a bit, and anyway I was kind of shy. Without missing a beat Michele stands up, grabs the cards and the copy of Bellica I’d brought, and starts canvassing the vendors. She talked up Bellica to everyone and even got people to come over and talk to me. It was super cool. I had my own one-person volunteer street team.

One person was interested in buying the paperback copy we had that day, and I ended up bartering with her because I wanted something she was selling. It was great. I love barter deals (that is, of product for product — I don’t do barter deals of time for product or time for time, because it almost always ends badly).

kitchen wand!

Yep, it’s a Kitchen Wand. Because I’m a kitchen witch, natch. I’m not doing much cooking these days but as soon as Ogre and I get a place together that’s going to change, and I’ll be using this wand daily. (Wands are for using, not for sitting pretty on a shelf.) It’s made of beechwood and is totally foodsafe. (If you want to know more about it, you can read the information on their site.)

This is why I love my fans so much. Michele’s work as my street team made my day at Pagan Pride thoroughly enjoyable, and allowed me to pick up something I wanted even though I didn’t have any cash. Mary talked up my book to anyone who came by the tent to say hello to me, and both of them agreed to be beta readers for Stranger Skies and The Jade Star of Athering. Since Saturday 2 codes have already been redeemed.

I may not have a huge following, but small and excited is streets ahead of large and dispassionate.

-Kat

Mercury, You Are Drunk. Give Me Your Keys.

Mercury does this thing about three times a year. Well, actually, it doesn’t really do anything; it just looks like it’s doing something. From Earth it looks like Mercury is moving backwards. They call it retrograde.

And dammit if it doesn’t just fuck everything up.

I  mean, yeah, sure, it’s just a planet and it’s probably not really affecting you, Katje. Sheesh. Crazy pagan, thinking planets do stuff.

And, you know, I know people for whom Mercury going retrograde is nothing. Just another week, or three.

But that’s not true for me. Something in my life always goes wrong when Mercury is retrograde. And Mercury don’t fuck around.

Today I had errands; no big deal, except, you know, they were, but whatever. Get in the car, head up the mountain. This is after spending all morning working. Get caught in traffic. Finally make it to the SFU visitor parking lot aaaaatttttt…3:38pm. I need to get a print out from the registration office and then go to the bookstore to return books that I’ve been trying to return for a month before four o’clock.

So naturally, Galactica dies on me.

Right there in the middle of the parking lot.

A few months ago she was doing this thing, I’m not really sure what it was, but I know it was making her stall out and then not start again for hours, if at all. We took her to the mechanic and got ‘er fixed, for no small amount of money (around 400 dollars).

So she’s doing it again. Wouldn’t start, not even with a jump. Or ten. I had to call a tow truck, and no, I didn’t get to the bookstore to return the books. I also didn’t get to downtown to pick up a proof from the printer’s, nor to my old landlady’s house to get my mail from my last place. Or grocery shopping. Ie, the rest of my errands. None of those happened.

Had to wait a long time for the tow truck to come. Apparently they had to build the truck for him first, or something. Anyway, he was a nice guy; took me to my fiance’s place, where I sit now, writing this for you. Couldn’t take me home, because Galactica needs to get parked in the parkade and the tow truck wouldn’t fit, and couldn’t take me to the mechanic because it would be pointless. They were closed and I would have had to wait outside in the rain for someone to maybe pick me up; more likely, I’d have to be lucky and catch the right bus — that is, if I still had enough money for transit after towing costs — and my luck with transit is…iffy? Definitely NOT something to be gambled with when Mercury is wandering around all over the cosmos like a drunken frat boy.

Towing cost me all of my grocery money. So. That was nice.

On the plus side, my fiance’s house is full of food. So I shall eat it until I’m full.

It is also full of Netflix. I drowned my sorrows in The Hunger Games.

Anyway, you didn’t come here to hear me whine. Wait, actually, I’m not sure why you came here if that’s the case. Whining is pretty much all I do.

So! The Jade Star of Athering. Yes. That thing.

Been working on it every day this month. Working hard. I set myself a deadline of finishing it by…um…tomorrow, but seeing as today’s events kind of borked the fuck out of everything, that may not happen. If I don’t finish the book tomorrow, my stretch deadline is March 8th.

Ran into a couple of problems the past few days that left me frustrated enough to screw up the progress I was making, unfortunately. Nothing like writing a continuity error into the plot of a sequel. Easily fixable, luckily — well, relatively easily — and all done now; really you’ll never notice where I grafted in the fix. And then I had to spend a morning figuring out troop deployments, marching orders, etc. There may have been some maps involved. Maps that are now sitting on my desk, at home.

Tonight’s writing and tomorrow morning’s scribblings are doing to be done sans guidance. Whatever; that’s fine. Nothing will stop me from writing this book.

Regardless the problems, the book has been pretty exciting the past few weeks. New things have cropped up, old storylines are being wrapped up, things I gave clues for in Bellica will be revealed. As well, the plot for a third book is revealing itself to me, so gods willing I’ll have the first draft of another book [in what is apparently turning into a series] started before the end of the year. (Maybe I can make it my November project.)

March project is revisions and story bibles! That’s a lot of work, and I’m hoping it’ll help me lay out the rest of the groundwork I need for Camp NaNoWriMo and my April novel project, the next book in the Stranger Skies series, currently untitled.

I don’t yet have a release date for any of these books. I’m hoping to have a clearer picture of when that will be next month. Before the first round of revisions is done, however, I have no way to safely gauge. Suffice it to say — you will see both The Jade Star of Athering and Stranger Skies out this year. And I daresay I’ll do a better job of releasing them than I did Bellica. (Eeesh, what a trainwreck.)

On that note, I’m off to eat the rest of my fiance’s food. I’ll see you next month.

I just finished a novel, no big deal

You read that right. I just finished Stranger Skies, the NaNoWriMo novel I’ve been posting snippets from for SFFSat.

First draft clocks in at just over 70,000 words. Definitely shorter than Bellica‘s ~250,000 words, but then Bellica was meant to be a standalone (ha ha) and Stranger Skies is going to be the first in what’s looking like at least a 4-book series. Perhaps six. I’m not sure yet, because the rest of the plot is pretty damn hazy.

No, I didn’t intend a series when I started it. As I was writing, I realized there were too many plot threads to keep in one book, and I had to choose one plot thread for this book and continue the others in the rest of the series. It’s staying fair to the story, that way — it’s a big one and doesn’t deserve to be shoved into one book. It needs space to tell itself.

At this moment I’m filled with elation and a bit of gratitude for my school and the bullshit they pulled — had I been enrolled in SFU this semester, I most certainly would not have finished the book this soon. Yesterday I sat down and wrote over 4K words, and knew I’d finish it by Friday. Today I wrote 3500 words and unexpectedly reached the end.

I now have revisions to make, as well as some additions to threadbare places earlier on in the story — I’m glad that it’s only 70K right now, because it gives me room to add more in those places. I’ll also be working on making the series story bible more fleshed out (if you want to read a great guide on building a story bible, RJ Blain has a tutorial in three blog posts: The Basics, World-Building, Characters), as well as cementing a timeline for events not only in this book but for the next one. After revisions, I start work on the second book by drafting a plot outline.

Oh, hey, at some point I became a sort of professional author. How did that happen?

Stranger Skies will be released sometime this year. I also have plans to release Bellica‘s sequel, The Jade Star of Athering. Which means finishing it, of course. That’s February’s writing goal. (Or rather, my writing goal for February. February does not have a writing goal. It is a month. It has days.)

I’m also currently suffering from a bit of “MY BOOK IS FINISHED WHAT DO I DO WITH MY LIFE????”-itis. It’ll pass shortly. I hope.

Too long; didn’t read: I’m awesome and amazing and am off to go celebrate now. See you after the weekend! (Yes, SFFSat post still happening, but scheduled ahead of time. I likely won’t be back on the blog till Monday.)