Look Ma! No Hands!

I’ve been having a few nagging pains in my three of the fingers on each hand. When that pain progressed to my thumb and wrist I started to worry and when I woke up one morning and realized the fingers on my wright hand were swollen like sausages – I realized it was time to take an extended break from writing anything.

Since then I’ve iced, braced and rested till the swelling and pain has pretty much gone back into a more manageable box. Of course now that I’ve got my normal dexterity back I’m not taking it for granted! Right up till the point where I had to put everything I love on hold so I could heal and perhaps manage to keep on doing it a little bit longer, I didn’t really hold much truck with the idea that even writers get occupational injuries.

In my mind, carpal tunnel was something other people got. Something other people had to worry about because they worked their body to the limit, twisting it all out of reasonable shape. But of course, I was different.

I pay attention to my body. I don’t push it too far. I hydrate like a fiend. I rest and stretch and do yoga; even when i felt the first twinges in my wrists while moving through upward and downward dog I just wrote it off as a mistake in my technique. Serious repetitive motion issues were for other people – not me.

Funny thing is I’ve worked my hands into a pretty bad state before – and I probably will again. And again. Until one day I can’t recover with a few days of book rest and lots of bracing. Not because I’m unaware of the risks and not because I’m not trying to be careful but because it’s a hazard of the occupation. Thankfully I know enough to stop as soon as things get bad and wait till I’ve healed but I’ve seen lots of writers and artists who push themselves past that point until they need surgery to be honest I might have been one of them if I thought for a second I could afford to let my body get that far gone. Right now the cost of stopping to recover is a lot more reasonable than the risk of pushing through till I don’t have that option.

Ah well, lots of rambling to explain where I’ve been and why I’m slow with updates on “Tasting Ash.” Funny how at one point this month I honestly thought I’d be done with the novel by the 30th. Now I know I’m only about halfway done with the manuscript. Thousands of words to go before I sleep.

Wow, That Was Fast!

And we’re back.

A lot faster than I had originally expected too. Kind of makes my head spin all the stuff that’s gone down in the last few days to make this possible. I did so much more running around town than I’m used to, got so much more exercise and sunlight!

And absolutely no writing done.

Some people can write a bunch of novels and have brilliant and involved lives complete with kids and friends and two or three jobs. I’m the hermitage type that can be alone in the woods for years and still only crank out a single novel or two. I want to be faster and more dedicated but it’s time to face facts, that’s not how this works for me.

Now things are back to normal-ish and I’d love to promise I’ll finish up “Tasting Ash” this month and move onto formatting but I know better. I hope a more unflappable concentration is something I can get with lots of practice, gaining more writing muscle by pushing myself to write more under more distracting conditions. Because right now it seems more like a hard coded limit that I can’t increase I can only learn how to work around.

Don’t Panic!

If you’re seeing this than the inevitable consequence of not publishing for a year has caught up with me and I’ve temporarily lost my internet connection. The good news is, with all the extra time offline I’ll surely zoom right through writing the new book. The bad news is, no blog posts, facebook, twitter or tumblr till things are sorted.

A Tale of Two Shadow Orgs

I’m busily cranking out words for “Tasting Ash” but there have been a few moments during the writing of the new book that have left me feeling a bit adrift because this novel is going to be a very different animal from everything that’s come before.

Up till now Ash has been, a protected Company employee with an unlimited budget, years of experience and training; set in her own element, a world very similar to our own but one where shadow organizations tend to take things a step closer to madness. Still for the most part she’s been living in the real world and doing relatively realistic things.

And then the Corporation got a hold of her. Now that’s she’s in Corporate control – well Toto, let’s just say it ain’t Kansas.

Then I realized that the difference in tone is all about the two shadow organizations and their completely different core values.

The Corporation: founded by Helen Raymond (with unspecified assistance from Buddy Jenkins) some two hundred years ago, is a family oriented company that specializes in concealment and secrecy (having a bevy of both Cleaners and Killers in their employ). Despite her mischievous nature it’s obvious that Helen goes out of her way to preserve the illusion of normalcy in the world, simply by how close to normal Ash’s life has been up to this point.

The Corporation: founded by a bunch of people we don’t know yet, a few hundred years before the Company, is far more interested in pushing the boundaries of reality and looting everything of value they can find in the borderlands and beyond (they use that loot to create war machines and finance even more looting). Their orientation is a little like the way some people teach children to swim – toss them in the deep end and see who floats or doesn’t.

And boy did they throw Ash in the deep end.

There are other shadow organizations in Eldritch Elysium that haven’t appeared yet (though the old families of various cities have been mentioned in passing) and hopefully none of the others will be kidnapping Ash as an introduction so their core philosophies will likely be a lot more subtle. There’s also a few free agents running around with enough power to warp reality but mostly no inclination to do so that will probably be making appearances in later novels.

Up to this point the Corporation and the Company have been mostly ignoring each others activities. The Corporation is the older of the two and found the Company’s specialties highly useful for delicate work that they couldn’t be bothered with while the Company was content to have Corporation among it’s client list but didn’t appear to have the kind of firepower necessary to go up against it in open war. That balance has sifted rather drastically.

A Vital Reminder

This last year has been a not so great time for me. I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on family (often at the expense of my writing) while my family minimizes my written work and suggests with full candor that I would be better off doing literally anything else. I might be a stone cold bitch that habitually writes about getting away with murder but that still hurts, a lot.

Thankfully other writers are always there to remind me that awful as that is, it’s also kind of normal. We all have to fight for the time and space to do that thing that no one else really understands and seems largely composed of staring at blank walls from time to time. And we’re all here to help each other out and deepen our craft as we go.

So let’s do a relink of some of the more visited posts on my blog that are full of helpful tips for other struggling Indie Authors out there.

Starting with the most important step:

Once you’ve got that you should update your series “bible” before tackling the beast that is formatting for paperback.

There you go Indies, a recap of everything that I’ve written on writing in this digital era that should prove useful to anyone looking for the information. Sign up for updates if you would like to keep abreast of anything new going on with my books or on the blog. Keep strong, keep your heads up and for the sake of the old gods’ keep writing!

“There’s No Such Thing As Magic”

Hamartia by Junedays on DeviantArt

Here I am, deep into book three of the Eldritch Elysium series, “Tasting Ash,” and I’m already coming up against the great thorny caltrop I laid down to wreck myself in “Toxic Ash.” I knew damn well that in a story dotted with shape shifting boyfriends and their poisonously beautiful sister and an old lover suffering under a debilitating curse that sooner or later I’d want to just toss in a little of the old razzle dazzle and let it explain away all my ills.

So I made sure to state it clearly once and for all so i couldn’t go back and add in a big ol sorting hat later on. Now that Ash is stuck deep behind enemy lines and is learning far more than she ever wanted to know about Caine, Caliban, Jeb, Klyde and Ophelia’s very messed up heritage I really really wish I could just wave a magic wand over the whole thing and call it done rather than wading through science journals and websites looking up the minutia of science that explains only half of anything and only half of the Corporation for that matter.

Because while there might be no such thing as magic, there certainly is something going on that’s beyond the realm of science. It’s in the gap between the first Helen’s brain surgery and impregnation, it’s in the extra bit of DNA that makes Ophelia kin to Blanche and it’s running lose and unfettered in the halls of the Corporation where scientists work in their pristine labs to distill something monstrous useful mundanity.

I feel a little like the parent, diligently informing their child that there’s no monster in their closet or under the bed–while checking the bars over the windows and doors as well as the handgun under their pillow. A monster by any other name is still gonna kill your ass.

Now go to bed.

Been Awhile

I know, I’ve been dang nigh nonexistent in the blog for–a very, very, long time. I decided to put my all into finishing the outline for the new book, “Tasting Ash,” which is finally done. I’m neck deep in writing the novel now and already turning my eyes to the outline of the next book and thinking about releases and covers and all kinds of backend bullshit no one wants to hear about really.

As things keep moving right along I’ll try to finish up my series on using Scivener to write work with serial novels instead of single edition works. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on those so I’ll definitely keep putting them up till I feel like I’ve covered all the basis.

But for right now, since it’s been so long in coming and so difficult to get back to, I really just want to concentrate on writing the books themselves and getting them out the door in as timely a manor as possible.