Proud to Be a Vampire, Bundle Two is available for purchase now!
My story Convergence stands ready to answer the question, what could tomb raiders need from a vampire? And what might the vampire want in exchange?
Conventional wisdom from authors attending the Gay Romance Northwest meet-up covered the subject of how often an author should publish in order to stay on the readers’ radar. The answer surprised me: there’s a push to publish quarterly to stay on top.
I am a prolific writer myself, but the thought of putting out something every quarter seemed pretty exhausting. After all, the process involves brainstorming, turning out a first draft, going back for the first edit, submitting, doing another, potentially more extensive edit for pre-publication that might involve re-writes, and galley approval. All of that for one manuscript–then the prospect of juggling four (or more!) manuscripts a year can be overwhelming.
That led me to take a look at my own experiences over the past year and a half. I started out submitting three manuscripts right out the gate. By the end of the year I’d submitted two more and gotten them accepted. Fireborn came out last summer, Signal to Noise came out in autumn, From the Inside Out in December. This year, I’ve had the three volumes of Appetite staggered from March to May to July, and Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues made its serial debut in May, and its anthology debut last week. Convergence comes out next week, and The Fall Guide will come out in December. In the meantime, I have Body Option, The More Plausible Evil, and Klaxon at the Core accepted and going through various parts of the editing process. And I’ll be starting Dragonspire next month! Not to mention, I have other short stories planned for anthologies or collections due at the end of the year and beyond.
No wonder it feels like writing is its own part-time job, on top of my already full time employment.
So, without intending to or planning for it, I seem to have positioned myself for that ideal “publish quarterly, or around that” philosophy. At least for the first couple of years!
Now I ask the question: is it really necessary? Are readers so fickle or easily distracted that an author needs to keep up with the demand and publish quarterly, or lose their readers?
When I was younger, I remember waiting years in between books for certain authors. Most notably, I think the longest I ever waited for an author was Melanie Rawn, and her next published title was a huge break from her previous work. It was more of a contemporary urban fantasy, where before she had been working on otherworldly epic fantasy, vast in worldbuilding and political scope and, I think, a trilogy that will remain forever unfinished. That aside, authors worked in the framework of years as opposed to the go, spend, buy consumer culture we have going on today, and I was accustomed to waiting at least two years between books for the “big name” authors.
The landscape of m/m fiction seems to come with different expectations. Regardless of what the big name authors say, I think it’s good advice for someone getting newly established, like myself, to make a push to get something published on a regular basis to get your name out there.
At the same time, in my opinion I think it’s also important to pace yourself, and make sure you and the people you’re working with are satisfied with the quality of the material you’re putting out there. When you rush something to an artificial deadline, no matter the reason whether it’s keeping your name out there or just a determination not to change dates, it’s all too easy to make mistakes in the process, whether re-writes are part of it or not.
When you feel rushed, stressed, or under the hammer to produce, that’s also when the quality starts to suffer. And that’s definitely when it’s time to take a break. Whether you’re getting yourself established or already at the top, telling the best story that you can is what really matters. Everything else falls into place from that.
First and foremost!
Are you ready for a rocking good time? Rocking Hard: Volume One is ready for you! My novella, Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues, is sandwiched in between four other tales of music and love, the rhythms that move the world.
Cannot wait to hear what you all think!
Speaking of feedback, this week has been fruitful for The Competitive Edge, which netted 4.5 pants off over at Pants Off Reviews, and 4 kisses and an avowal to check out the other books in the Appetite series from Top2Bottom reviews.
At Pants Off Reviews, Darien Moya says, “If you are a cooking afficionado and like m/m romance this is a must read!” Check out the rest of the review here!
Over with Top2Bottom, Susan says, “A quite long read, this series is promising. The writing is captivating, and I was fully immersed into the story.” See what else she says here!
And in case you missed my Tweet, Top2Bottom also gave me a lovely spotlight review. Thanks to all the wonderful peeps at Less Than Three Press, too, for arranging the tour!
Today’s excerpt is the story I just started, My Sexual Superhero, which I intend to submit to the Satisfaction Guaranteed call–that is, if I can rein it in and keep it under the submission limit! Already I’m side-eyeing the outline and wondering if I can manage to fill it in less than 30k.
Without further ado! I have a summary I came up with just yesterday, followed by the first thousand words that I wrote just today.
“Oh my God, you are such a huge geek.”
Jessan leveled an irritated squint at his friend Marina and raised a hand, casually displaying his middle finger before using it to tuck a braid of cornrowed hair behind one ear. The Tardis-blue bead at the braid’s base clicked against its mates. “Which part of me? What was your first clue?” He covered the mouthpiece of his headset and frowned at Marina. “And why would you bust in making announcements when I’ve got my headset on? I could be taking a call.”
Marina flicked her pointer finger toward Jessan’s Bluetooth. “It’s not lit up.” She folded her arms and smirked at him. “And, another TeeFury shirt? Really? You know that no one gets those obscure jokes—”
“Except the people who are into that stuff; yeah, I know,” Jessan interrupted. “But I like it. And we don’t have a dress code in the cubicle farm, which is the one good thing about it, so I’m going to wear what I like, and you can wear your clown suits.” He gestured to her immaculate pinstriped pants.
“It’s not a pantsuit!” Marina exclaimed, tugging on the hem of her white blouse and shooting him a mock glare. “It’s dressing to impress, because I’m moving up in the world. And I barged in because it’s time for break.”
Jessan lifted his head to catch a glimpse of the clock. “So it is.” He scooted his chair forward far enough to look up and down the aisle, scanning a wary eye in all directions for their supervisor, Darnell. “He won’t like it if we go at the same time.”
“Balls to what he likes.” Marina waved a hand. “Let’s go. I’ll beg forgiveness—”
“And I’ll be the one who’s sorry,” Jessan muttered, but he pushed up from his chair and fell into step behind Marina with the feeling he was slinking out rather than taking his duly allowed break time.
Behind the call center building, there were two areas for employees to take their breaks: the sheltered haven beneath an awning, right beside the door, and the smokers’ pavilion further out, a mandated thirty feet from the building entrance. In colder weather, people could be seen huddled singly or in groups, shoulders hunched miserably against the elements as they got their nicotine fix. It was a muggy spring evening right then, and everyone outdoors either taking a walk or standing around chatting or checking their phones.
Jessan’s phone cleared his pocket the moment he was out the door. He almost bumped into Marina as she turned to give him an amused look.
“Anything good?” she asked. Her own phone was in her hand.
“Atelier Geek is having a sale,” Jessan said, half to her, half to himself as he considered the benefits of the BOGO against the relative weak performance of his bank account. He had rent, bills, and his stomach to consider, and wasn’t sure if he was up for another month of ramen and tuna fish.
“Jessan Pierce!” Marina exclaimed, and Jessan jerked his eyes up, mouth dropping open to object at her tone. “Why don’t you stow the phone and pay attention to the person beside you for five minutes out of fifteen?”
“What? You were checking your texts.” His tone was defensive, but Jessan slipped his phone into his back pocket.
“Yeah, because I was waiting to hear back from Blanca, but she’s out,” Marina said. She leveled a painted finger in his direction. “So you’re in.”
“In for what? No,” Jessan said. He didn’t need to hear an answer to be sure he wasn’t interested in Marina’s plans. They would involve going out, and he was a ‘staying in’ sort of guy.
“Come on, Jessan; wouldn’t you rather come out and have fun instead of staying in and playing Minecraft all night?” Marina clasped her hands together and aimed wide eyes at him.
Jessan returned the look with a skeptical expression. “I came out years ago, so that’s not an issue. Playing Minecraft is fun for me, even if it’s not for you, so trying to nerd-shame me, again, isn’t going to work.”
Marina stuck her tongue out. “Fine.” She abandoned that line of attack for another. “When’s the last time you got laid, Jessan?”
He slumped and looked out across the pavilion beside the building, not ignoring her so much as stalling for time. It was hard to explain to Marina, so pretty and outgoing, that it was more than introversion keeping him from a night out at a club, party, or whatever venue she had in mind. It was hard for a short, skinny, geeky half-Jamaican, half Persian kid to get a date on a good night, but any place where people were in it for looks and unable to hear witty repartee over the bass reverb, Jessan was out of luck. He would strike out before he got his hand stamped.
“A while,” Jessan replied. He folded his arms. “And it’ll probably be a while longer.”
“With that attitude, you’re damn right!” Marina swatted the back of his shoulder with a light touch. “Come out with me. I need a wing man.”
Jessan sighed, glanced Marina’s direction, and rolled his eyes. She had her lips pursed in what she probably thought was a cute pout, but looked more like a duck-lipped selfie.
“I’ll buy you drinks.” She hung off his shoulder, her tone wheedling. “Come on, I can’t go alone.”
That, at least, Jessan could not dispute. It was risky for any of his female friends to go alone, but twice as worse for Marina, who wasn’t white and was leery not only of overeager fratboys, but getting shaken down if the cops cruised by and were in a profiling mood.
“Ugh.” Jessan refused to make a verbal response that sounded like a concession. “You’ll buy me drinks until you go off with some hot hook-up and leave me at the bar.”
Marina huffed. “Would I do that?”
“If you knew the guy and wanted to get into his pants, yeah,” Jessan said.
See something you like? Let me know what you think!
My early days of productive writing took place during a proliferation of what people fondly referred to at the time as “PWPs,” short for “Plot? What Plot?” The stories were thinly-veiled excuses for the two characters to get together and do the deed.
And I was good at them! I’m not going to stand on false modesty, here. I had mastered the art of getting two characters together through a variety of creative means–one memorable instance involving a gun and a shot to the head–then delving into the erotica and leading out with a moment either poignant or humorous, hopeful or lascivious.
Over the years, the enforced regimen of Nanowrimo after Nanowrimo, and developing certain skills through project management work, I got better at adding in plot. My focus gradually shifted to telling a larger story where two people getting together were a part, rather than the driving mechanism of the whole. Conflict existed, deeds were done, tension flourished, and the fabric of the plot consisted of more than the relationship weaving two people inextricably together.
Casual fiction can be a great method for learning how to tell overarching story arcs. I wrote a five-part original series, After the Rising, over the span of several years where I started out fumbling through a relationship story focused on three brothers, and somehow by the time it was done, told an epic tale about demons versus humans, and the battle for a particular artifact that could shift the balance of power between warring factions. Looking back through those masses and masses of words I wrote, I can spot a lot of flaws. There’s a drag in certain installments–the middle child suffers that most horrible fate where a great deal of words were wasted to cover very little ground. And by the second or third book I finally realized not everyone can be gay men. At least I got in some good, strong females who were there to do their jobs, and diversity was a part of the story from the first installment.
Overall that casual fiction effort can’t be considered a complete loss. It was compelling enough that one of my friends asked me to send them the entire series, to see if they could help me work it over into a shape approaching publishable. (After having been through the editorial process with seven manuscripts now, and currently engaged in two more, I can say that particular original series needs a lot of hard work before I’d submit it.)
At the core of it all, however, no matter what deeds take place and however strong the world-building of the places I envision, one thing I’ve realized is I am still, at the heart of it, telling stories where two characters get together and do the deed. And that means I will probably always be considered a romance author, and I’m good with that.
To me, that’s where a great deal of the interest, the joy of telling a story, lies. It’s not only the plot twists, or the clever mechanisms. The heart of the story, the part that I love reinventing with every new set of characters that I write, is taking these two people (or more, if there are multiple couples) and finding out who they are, and how they come together.
Two people meet, and there’s something in each of them that reacts to the other, whether that’s positive or negative. Subsequent encounters, or repeated exposure, bring out more tension, whether it’s personality or attraction-based. I love writing the unfolding relationship, and I’ve seen mixed reactions from authors on this next item, but I love to write the erotica. My sex scenes vary from light to detailed depending on the story and what’s happening with the plot, but I look forward to, and enjoy, writing that part of the story too. If I’ve made my characters (and the reader) wait for it, then everyone deserves the payoff for sure.
Stories, especially novels, can’t subsist on sex scenes alone, however. I did learn to plot my stories around the bones of the relationship, starting with my very first Nanowrimo back in 2002. Knowing that I was going into a thirty-day writing sprint, expected to come out of the other end with a 50,000+ word manuscript, and determined to succeed, I approached the project with my first-ever comprehensive outline. Prior to 2002, I’d completed novel-length works before, both fannish and casual original fiction endeavors, but my approach was completely laissez-faire, totally by the seat of my pants, and typically took months. I would start out writing with vague ideas, and found out more as I went along. I invented everything the story needed in terms of world-building or supporting characters on the spot.
That wasn’t going to work for an endeavor like Nanowrimo. I needed to have enough material planned so that I could write through each and every scene and get through the day having met my word count by the end of it. So I penned out my ideas for “Not Another Regency Romance,” roughing out a cast of characters and two romantic storylines unfolding side by side: May, the novel’s heroine, and her younger brother Tor, who incidentally fell for the older man who was intended to be May’s suitor.
It might not have been completely terrible? A good handful of people read it, and at least one person whose opinion I trust told me it was well-told and they enjoyed it. I never ended up editing or trying to submit it anywhere, because I didn’t think the story would have a market. Too gay for straight romance, too straight for gay romance, and I had no interest in editing out either of the romantic storylines. Those dual storylines were what really made the plot.
The important takeaway from that early effort was how to outline, and it gave me the confidence that I needed to continue with that format. 2002 was like a writing exercise in which I learned which parts of my outline to stick to, which to scrap for the sake of the story, and where I could improve upon it during the writing process, always allowing for inspiration or characters becoming so much more.
That’s how I write from my outlines, in the end. The outline is the framework that the story is built upon, but I’m free to change or tweak as needed, add extra characters when they’re called for, accommodate a dramatic twist when the opportunity presents itself, and let the story play out the way it wants to be written. Sometimes the characters surprise me, and I like it when that happens–if I can get caught up in writing it, hopefully others will get caught up reading it, too.
For Nanowrimo 2003, I dove into it with the same mindset, but started with an unfinished outline. Little did I know, once November was over and I’d turned out over 85,000 words, without an outline or a clear path to the end I would lose momentum. It took me nearly ten years to finish From the Inside Out. When it was accepted for publication, the epilogue got axed, and many of the storyline details changed during the editing process. I believe this is partly because my outline, penned back in 2003, was weak in plot and the relationship story I tried to tell wasn’t right for the characters I developed. Since then, in my meager opinion I think I’ve gotten better at those elements.
In terms of the outline process itself, I always start with the characters first. I have a general idea for a story, which I may or may not write down right away. I form an idea of the main characters in my head: what they look like, their personalities, what they do. I’ll often use actors as character bases, but not always. Sometimes their names come to me easily; other times, I do research based on ethnicity/nationality, personality traits, when they were born and what names were popular at the time, and personal preference. Once I have their names down, I commit that to paper or electronic file and start jotting down ideas about them. At this point of the brainstorming process, I may or may not rough out a general idea of the storyline itself. “Convergence” started out as “Indiana Jones with vampires,” so you can see I had a long way to go from there. In fact, my original short story idea for the Proud to be a Vampire call was going to be something else entirely, then instead of shifting the scene I’d mapped in my head to the end of the story, I realized as the characters developed that the scene in my head wasn’t the right part of the story to tell, at all. I developed an entirely new story from there–and it’s one I like a lot better. “Appetite,” which ended up a sprawling three-part tome, began its life as the teaser sentence “competitive chefs with a passion for cooking…and each other.” I start with building blocks, and the idea grows until I have to write it all down. Usually the story name comes in at some point during my outlining process. Sometimes, the name is a placeholder and I change it at the end. “Body Option” and “Fireborn” both had different working titles; I can’t even remember what the original titles were anymore.
Right now, I’m at the beginning stages of outlining two new manuscripts, and the process is so different for each of them! “My Sexual Superhero” is a short story I’ll be submitting for a fiction call. All I know about it, at this point, is the two characters get together at a club, and one brief encounter ends up turning into something more when they actually open up and start learning about one another. One of the main characters is tentatively named Jaden, but I might change it. His best friend is Marina. The other guy would be Chris if I hadn’t already named another character Chris, in Convergence. I have a snippet of dialogue already written, but that’s it! Oh, and I know what they look like.
…and I came back from lunch and “Not Chris” became “Felipe” and all my nascent ideas about him have changed, and I like him even better than my original concept for him. I have more ideas about where the story is going, but not how it ends.
The other manuscript I’m plotting is going to be my 2013 Nanowrimo, and I’m trying out “Dragonspire” and “Dragon’s Nexus” for WIP titles. After searching for novels titled the same or similarly, I’m sure I’ll scrap those and come up with something else. The three characters I’ve got so far are Gideon Stahl, intrepid photographer engaged in a major life change; Chrysania Vallorum, high priestess and princess of Callar-dune; and Echo Glaive, a powerful dragon whose actions threaten the livelihood of Callar-dune’s citizens. Tagline for the story is “Gideon went to save the maiden. He pledged himself to the dragon.” At this point, I’m concentrating on the world-building details while the general storyline comes together in my head. When I start outlining things scene by scene, that’s usually when a lot of things start to shake out into specific form and structure. For longer stories, I tend to decide early if there will be different “parts,” or story arcs, divide the outline into those sections, and work on those. I think that Dragonspire will be two parts, possibly three, but I don’t want it to be much longer than 100k altogether, because I want this to be a standalone fantasy work. That’s going to help dictate the complexity of the outline.
Once I have all the general pieces, I start writing scene by scene. This varies from extremely general–“Jaden goes clubbing with his friend Marina”–to very specific, with some scene-setting or world-building details that may get incorporated into the manuscript. I outline in a relatively linear fashion, but jot down bursts of inspiration as they come. Often, I know how the story will end before I have the middle nailed down, for example. Or I’ll get a scene in my head that takes place in the story, and I write it all down and figure out a place for it when I’m going through the linear plotting.
Ultimately, most stories can be deconstructed to a single element: conflict, and resolution of the conflict. Whether that takes place as relationship conflict, or external conflict through opposing forces, it’s all up to the author and what they want to achieve, and how they want to get there. Some people work best when they jump right in with those vague ideas, and work their way through it during the writing process. For me, the story works better when I start with those vague ideas, and work their way through it during the writing process. For me, the story works better when I start with the ideas and give them greater substance with the structure of the outline, however loose or detailed. We tell the stories we want to tell–the ones that want to be told. If you don’t have a plot at first, it’s not a problem. Put your characters down on paper, maneuver them into the same space together, and figure out what makes the sparks fly from there. Above all, don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what methods work best on an individual basis. I used to think that I had to have every single world-building detail figured out, and I was failing some criteria of being an author if I didn’t–then I discovered not everyone works that way! The great, fun, endlessly inventive thing about writing is that everyone does it differently. And we all find our best way.
For today’s WIP Wednesday, I scrounged up a snippet of Klaxon at the Core, the sequel to Signal to Noise, so new I don’t have a blurb drafted up for it yet. So here’s one on the fly.
Without visuals, they had to find their destination on foot. They walked through the dormitory, and though Theo was alert for it, they weren’t the subject of any curious stares. He supposed that studied lack of curiosity was part of being a psionic. They were all special, in some way or another. And he and Bastian weren’t going to flaunt themselves by walking around hand in hand, anyhow. They had the right to be together, no one could stop them, but objectively they were both aware it was considered ‘weird’ and they ought to be discreet.
There was an entire telekinesis wing along one of the outlying walls of the Institute’s enormous compound. Bastian was complaining by the time they were halfway there along the silvery path that wound through the green grass and hedges.
“Suck it up,” Theo advised. “Dr. Rashad said it was ostentatious for psionics to jump everywhere.”
Bastian glowered. “Maybe I like ostentatious.”
“You sure do have a talent for the dramatic,” Theo teased, tugging on a lock of hair.
The front of the telekinesis wing was imposing, nearly three stories tall, and the door had a sign over it with a name that Theo recognized as one of the famous early telekinetics in history. He, along with other founding members of the Institute, had established psionic ability as science rather than myth.
“The Grant Ishida wing, huh?” Bastian said aloud, draping a hand on Theo’s shoulder. “There’s a bit of ancient history.”
“Probably more like a reminder,” Theo said. “Of where we came from, and how far.”
“Central’s a long way from Old Terra.”
Theo slanted him an annoyed look. “From levitating bobby pins and shifting crates.”
Inside the building, they stood together in front of a directory before setting a course for Bahir Anwar’s office. There had been an astonishing array of options on the directory. Theo had never heard of micro-kinetics, and wondered if they would be tested at some point for that ability, too. Dr. Rashad had seemed keen to test them on all the psionic axes of power.
Their destination was one story up, and against the far wall of the building. It turned out to resemble an open gymnasium, skylights above letting in full sunlight, than the stuffy office either of them had been expecting. A man of medium height and darkly olive complexion rose to greet them. He had a ruggedly handsome face—Theo slanted an irritated glance at Bastian, because that was his twin’s observation—and close-cropped black hair.
What? I have eyes.
Theo ignored that. They had already reassured one another, on multiple levels, but it was different with other people around. He noticed Bastian noticing, and hoped they could leave it at that.
“Welcome to the Institute, I’m Bahir,” he introduced himself, inclining his body but not offering his hand, the way all psionics they’d met so far had done. Theo could understand; he’d never enjoyed physical contact from anyone but his family, or Bastian, who had always been part of his personal space.
“Yes, I’ve been expecting you.” Bahir rubbed his hands together briskly, and gestured to the wide-open space to their left. “Shall we begin?”
The floor space was covered in mats, and there was a great deal of equipment against one wall, a few machines, what looked like a workout bench, a number of terminal display banks, and what appeared to be crates, boxes, and various weighted items labeled with numbers.
“I’ve heard that you shifted a great deal of hydronium the other day,” Bahir began. “Any idea how much?”
Theo shrugged. “Sixty pallets?” He glanced to Bastian, who quirked a brow and corrected, “Seventy-five.”
Bahir nodded and he stepped up to a terminal display, pulling up a program, fingers dancing nimbly over the surface. “Quite a payload.” He gave a low, impressed whistle. “That’s several tons. I hope you ate a good meal afterward.”
“We ate like pigs for dinner,” Bastian said happily. “It was amazing. I can’t remember the last time we got so stuffed.”
A brief smile flickered over Bahir’s mouth. “Yes, that’s the only way to avoid kinetic debt.”
“Right, that’s when you use more energy than you replenish, right?” Theo asked shrewdly. “We did a lot of research after we teleported for the first time.”
“Was teleportation your first kinetic action?”
Bastian shook his head. “No, we’d done other things, little things, without even really noticing before then. Our parents sure did, though.” He sidled closer to Theo with a brief, woebegone look.
Theo folded his arms. “We’d shifted some small stuff,” he replied. “We call it ‘pulling.’ When we lift something, you know, but don’t port it.”
Bahir nodded. He picked up two thin silver bands that resembled circlets, and offered them up. “These are biometric monitors,” he said, holding one and donning the other. It circled his head from forehead over temples and around the back of his skull. “I’d like for each of you to wear one, and go through a number of tasks, after which we can have a lunch delivered from the refectory and I’ll answer any questions you like.” He pulled the circlet from his head.
“Sure,” Bastian chirped.
Theo wrinkled his nose and put his hand out for one of the circlets. He fitted his on first, and kept a watchful eye on Bastian when his twin donned the other.
Two side by side vitals appeared on one of the displays, and Bahir moved to bring up more information.
“Theo, if you could press your thumb here?” Bahir requested, and Theo complied. His name appeared in green over the green vitals.
Bahir turned to Bastian, who did the same for the blue vitals.
“Good strong brain activity,” Bahir commended. “Shall we begin?”
Greetings, I’m night blogging again! Being on the West Coast, it seems like I get to it a lot later than everyone else. But I come bearing news.
Chris and Ling travel the world in search of rare, exquisite curiosities, but treasure hunting is rife with danger and comes with a price. In order to retrieve a lost treasure deep within a perilous mountain, Chris hires on a vampire. But traveling with a predator comes with its own risks, and their venture may collapse into absolute loss unless they can each find the opportunity in one another.
I’m excited to announce that Convergence will be released in the second Proud to be a Vampire collection on October 8th. It’s listed here on Goodreads. The story was a lot of fun to write, and I pitched it as vampires meets tomb raiders–I’d love to write more in that universe at some point.
In more delightful news, Signal to Noise will be available in audiobook format starting next year. I was really pleased to agree to that offer! Details aren’t firm yet, but I’ll be signing the addendum to my contract for the audiobook rights very soon. It’s tentatively slated for June 15, 2014 availability.
But wait–there’s more! Body Option has been accepted for Less Than Three’s mecha anthology, A Loose Screw. I got a contract to print up, but sadly my printer has notified me it’s out of ink, the jerk. I suppose I’ll have to schlep over to Office Depot some time this week.
Time to set up regular blog content over here, and stick to some kind of weekly schedule. It’s been too long since I updated, and regular features might keep me on track. Of course, it’s figuring out what kind of regular content would work here that’s been giving me a bit of a hang-up.
Manicure Monday wasn’t a good fit for the author blog, so I’m considering a topic of the week, intermittent daily anecdote, book reviews, WIP Wednesday, and Free Fiction Friday (an excerpt) – pending my publisher’s approval on that last. Four to five regular features should give me something to blog about every other day or so. I can also do some kind of “Ask the Author” feature but I may wait until there’s a bit more traffic. 😉
If WIP Wednesday sounds good to you, hit me up with a comment, and tomorrow you’ll get to see a clip from one of my works in progress!
Out of nowhere, a blog entry!
I’ve been resting and recuperating after my week-long Appetite Tour de Foodie (and giving all of you a break), but I’m back and ready to talk about what I’m working on as well as my upcoming projects, and confess the fact that I may have gotten my head under water.
First and proudly foremost!
Surfeit for the Senses has netted its first blog review over at Joyfully Jay.
Crissy at Joyfully Jay has high praise, and says “As a reader, I love to be shown the author’s vision and Andor certainly showed me everything she saw from the food, to the characters, to the restaurants, to the city. I simply loved it.” Check out the rest of her review to see what she has to say; it makes me really happy, of course, because not only is it a great review but seeing her talk about all those things is what I was really trying to bring forward and convey, so it’s always fantastic to feel like you got it right.
She concludes the review wishing she could see more of Alex and Nik, and I have to say, I’m hoping it’s not the last we’ve seen of them, either. I’d like to write two more novellas of their continuing adventures in cuisine, and already have the storylines handy for both. So if you thought I wrapped it up neatly, think again; there are more than enough recipes (and potential issues) to delve into the realm of Appetite again. Crossing my fingers hopefully that I can get to them next year!
Next on tap!
I have the galley proof for Rocking Hard in my inbox, and it’s top of my priority list for this weekend to get that looked over and returned to the press. It features a slew of the rocking good serials that premiered at Less Than Three Press, bound together in one musically-driven anthology.
My story, Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues, is part of the anthology, and I’ve been told I am now “on the list” of authors who’ve made themselves troublesome with long titles. Oops?
Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues is the story of Bailey Kravitz (no relation to Lenny), the flashy and high-strung frontman for Courage Wolf Sings the Gorram Blues, a saucy internet sensation whose music-making duo enjoys riffing on memes and other social-networking jokes. Bailey goes on the prowl for bandmate Gunner Lansing, but when his interest is harshly rebuffed, his recoil threatens to tear the band apart.
It’s no longer available through the serial site, but you can pick it up with the anthology on Oct. 1st. I’ll unpack what went into the band’s name a bit closer to the release date. But if you already understand it, then you forever have my heart.
Also on my list for this weekend, Convergence is back from edits and I have some work to dig into. I’ve also secured the services of someone to Britpick it for me, because the main character, Chris Bryant, is a Brit and I completely failed to Briticise the spelling. (See what I did there? It’s a start.) First stop, figuring out how to re-configure my Word spellcheck to make it think we’re in the U.K.
In terms of what I’m writing, Klaxon at the Core is wrapped at a hair under 90k, I’m really happy with my pre-reader’s reception to the story, and it’s off for its first edit pre-submission. Body Option first draft is done, and I’m finishing up my own re-read and self-edit before I send it to its pre-reader and first edit. Next up is re-reading The More Plausible Evil to work it over for expansion, and I have some fan projects going on as well, with one of those due at the end of the month.
After I’m done with The More Plausible Evil, I want to write My Sexual Superhero for Less Than Three’s Satisfaction Guaranteed call, and I thought my dance card would be open for NaNoWriMo, but it’s filling up fast.
Piper Vaughn put out a call for Project Fierce, and I’m signed up, pending inspiration. (I did put dibs on a fairy tale I might like to re-imagine. Oops, now I have a title. The rest will come in time.)
Also, Less Than Three put up Geek Out – a trans* call, and I got a brain tickle for that one, don’t have a title yet but the ideas are slowly forming. I also have a story that would work very well for their Damsels in Distress call, but have to either pull it from SSBB, or re-draft it substantially enough to be considered brand-new.
Consider as well the fact that The Fall Guide will be out during the tail end of Fall, December 3rd. So I have those edits yet ahead of me.
Busy author? Yes, feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment, but loving it. I also have three things on my wish list project: a sequel for Fireborn, the final installment of a fan project I started years ago, and my pre-reader for Klaxon at the Core sparked ideas for a potential third novel in the Signal to Noise universe. Not to mention those after-Appetite novellas. (Should I call them Aperitifs?) And did I mention I want to write a sexy, short one-shot over the weekend?
A writer’s work never ends. Bless.
Things I have meant to blog, not ranked in any particular order:
I meant to roll out a book review feature every other week or so, but the sad fact of the matter is that I don’t get to read as many books as I’d like to. I have a veritable stack, physical and virtual – Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker, the new Melanie Rawn fantasy, and a pile of ebooks, including the copy of Queer Fear that I won during the Hop Against Homophobia.
Last month I finished a couple of books. I could review Bound, but it’s hardly a new release. Quite a popular book, though!
Consider the prospect of book reviews a work in progress. I managed a mega-review a couple of weeks ago; I may be able to roll out one a month and have to consider that good.
I’m registered as an author for Rainbow Con 2014, so more on that later. What it means for the immediate future is I won’t be able to take my typical two-month writing vacation in November. I’ve got to reserve a week for February, because my parents rented a guest house in Florida and want me to join them, and I need another week for April to attend the conference. It’s going to be way too much fun, I can tell already, though I feel somewhat presumptuous attending as a full-fledged author.
Tips and tricks of the trade:
Coming soonest, hopefully, a brief tutorial on how to use the Word Track Changes feature, on MS Word 2010 and the earlier edition. (The two are very different, and now that I’m used to it, I prefer Word 2010’s version.)
It still surprises me that a lot of writers don’t know how to use this feature. It’s a basic staple of editorial work, so when the author doesn’t know how to use that feature to incorporate edits, it can make everyone’s job harder.
My plan is to give a quick rundown on how to turn it on and how to use it to accept/reject edits and add comments. The three basics! I really hope it’ll be something people may find useful. I planned on getting that posted this past Saturday, but the weekend provided some unexpected challenges.
No rest for the wicked:
I can’t remember the last time I talked about my current projects in any depth, but this summer is shaping up to be super busy.
Klaxon at the Core is the sequel to Signal to Noise, and I’m currently writing that one. It’s progressing really well, and I hope to be finished by the end of the month. The original beta editor for Signal to Noise volunteered to beta Klaxon before I submit it for publication, which is fantastic because not only is he a superfan, but yay continuity!
The More Plausible Evil is back to the outline-wrangling stage. An editor friend that I’ve had a writer/editor relationship with has reconnected with me, and we’re going to be working together to usher this from first rough draft to a much better, fully developed second draft! Right now the outline is giving me trouble (and there are only so many hours in the day) and I intended to have to outline finished last weekend. This weekend or bust! The More Plausible Evil is due in November.
Body Option is a mecha story I’m planning to write for a September anthology. So long as I get started by August, I think I’ll still be okay on this. There will be action, sci fi, and a man and his mech. It’s not intended to be a long story, and my outline is only two pages – that’s a good sign, for me. (Watch it end up being 40k.)
Somewhere in there I expect I’ll be incorporating edits and doing any necessary re-writes for Convergence and The Fall Guide.
And after that! You’d think I’d take a break, but I’ll be writing My Sexual Superhero, a story about a geek and the charismatic hook-up who saves him from his sexual doldrums. It’s for a submission call for December, and it’s early enough in the planning stages that making my poor geeky protagonist work two retail jobs will fit in just fine.
That’s it for updates – more to come! And if you’ve got content for the author blog to suggest, I’d love to hear it. 🙂 Have a great rest of the week, everyone!
Did you check out Masterchef and the Spirit of Rivalry over at World of Diversity Fiction? Of this week’s blog tour entries, I think it’s one of my favorites.
If you haven’t told me what you think of the blog tour yet, I’d be mighty obliged if you took a moment to drop a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what worked, and what I could have improved.
So much has been happening this week, my senses are reeling as I do my best to stay caught up. I’ve got a new cover tease to bring you, signed two contracts, pre-registered for Rainbow Con, and pre-registered for the Gay Romance NW Meet-up in September. And that’s the tip of the iceberg. More to come on all that, and other things yet to come.
Writing for Klaxon at the Core is going really well right now. I’ve caught up with my deficit and I’ve written quite a lot this month, and though I’ll be writing into this summer, I’m really pleased with the outline and my pre-reader’s responses to the story. It’s been wonderful to explore more of Theo and Bastian’s lives.