Just the way shit goes…

14828_10152015672358558_680537552_nAlmost as soon as I posted that the story was stalled and looking at a major gut, inspiration struck and I now have a concrete direction to take things in that shouldn’t be too drastic!

I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me but instead of looking at draining an ocean with a teacup now I’m just looking at climbing a steep mountain. One is impossible, the other is hard as hell but doable. What a relief!

I’d say expect additional progress updates all over the place but don’t, school has started up again and I’m looking at accepting additional duties to make more ends meet. That means even less time for everything else but the hope is that taking these steps now will lead me more quickly to being able to put way more time back into my writing work. Fingers crossed!

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Crisis of Conflict…

21056157_10155191706703558_8464771038173336451_oI’ve been wracking my brain going through this rewrite and it was still horribly off. Time and again I’d have the thought that I loved this or that scene but I felt like Ash was leaning a bit to hard on this one character. Those thoughts eventually resolved themselves to “do I really need this character?”

Now I’ve come to the realization that I’ve got to delete that character, possibly in entirety. A character that was a vital part of the book, whose scenes will mostly be ruined by their absence. I think I’m looking at a 50-75% rewrite from scratch at this point. I’m still assessing the damage but it’s looking grim.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately.

So… What’s Next?

Sunset Pair Romance Love Bank Nature Lovers LakeAm I really back? Yes I’m really back – at least until August when I gotta go back to the grind.

What kind of goodies can you expect, now that I’m really really back? Well first up – I’m about as far along with “Tasting Ash” as I was before I went poof. There just wasn’t really enough time and room for me to concentrate on the rewrite as it needs to be done properly, though I can assure you it’s never been far from my mind and that despite my lack of releases or blog posts – I have been writing.

My gran is 92, you see, and in the last year she gave us all a horrible shock, such a shock I insisted on dropping everything and flying home to see her briefly. While I was there I asked her what she would like me to write (my gran is great but she’s got no head for fantasy or horror so hasn’t read anything of mine since grade school when it was still mostly fairy princesses and love stories) and she said, “I’d love it if you’d write me a romance.”

Cue me, completely out of my element trying to fulfill my gran’s request. Some of you might remember that I’m not very good at romances. Lots and lots of practice is therefore required before I’ll finally have something I can show to my gran. Basically I’m saying I’ve got a folder full of horrific little Belladonna shorts that I’ve been adding to in my rare healthy and unoccupied moments. A few of them I actually think I might not die from embarrassment releasing out to the world, a very small few but a few nonetheless.

One of my other author friends who actually has a handle on this romance thing suggested an anthology and as luck would have it I had a nub of a story that seemed to fit the bill! So this summer there will be a new Belladonna short released upon the world in “When Worlds Collide: A Vampire Alien Romance Anthology!”

Those of you who are fans of my twisted little brand of romance are in for a right treat!

Aaaand We’re Back!

So it’s been forever and there’s a good reason for that, I recently returned to the world of day jobs and self loathing – and it almost killed me.

That’s not sarcasm either, I had no less than three incidents of illness where I was afraid for my life in the last ten months or so. All of which probably could have been prevented or drastically alleviated if I had been able to go to a doctor. Of course, I can’t afford healthcare even with the new job and paying out of pocket would have negated my entire savings. Savings I was desperate enough to earn that I kept going back, risking my health, for an entire year.

The good news is, I survived! I survived and I have manged to keep most of my savings! Money I’ve been using for some much needed replacing of various electronic bits that make this whole self publishing thing a reality as well as more professional edits.

I am exhausted.

So expect updates full of goodies to come but for right now I really need a nap!

Guest Post: Catrina Taylor “Knights of the Immortals”

Knights of the Immortals“Knights of the Immortals” is based on the question “What IF there were other hominid species that continued until today? What would they be like?” The answer might surprise you, it did me. When I started the first thing I did was look into the possibility that humans of today once walked with other hominids and according to scientists we have! At least three other hominid species co-existed with humans as we know them. Additionally, when you reflect on historical storytelling, some of them may have lead to mythological creations.

The most recent discovery confirms the prior existence of Hobbits. Yes, I said Hobbits. Smaller humanoid people that created tools, hunted and so much we still don’t know. This was discovered some time ago, but reaffirmed only recently when a prior ancestor was discovered as well. For a fun tidbit on these hobbits, not from the shire, check out this video from SciShow.

 

Once I learned our humans have existed alongside other hominid species, I researched mythology. It’s amazing what you can learn from ancient stories. Did you know that mermaids off the cost of Ireland and Scotland were vicious creatures that needed to lure in handsome men and women to live? Were you aware that both the Amazons and the Celts were thought to have attacked the islands of Atlantis? They did this not long before the island nation is thought to have disappeared. Neither group fared well against the famed children of the gods.

Here’s where the two mix to create the universe of “Knights of the Immortals.” Let’s imagine instead of being children of a god like Poseidon, they are a technologically advanced society of tribes who have agreed to co-habit the same island chain. Some of these hominid tribes would pass as the ever growing homo-sapien species over populating the Earth. There would be others who don’t pass for different reasons. Maybe some have an aversion to light, or are far shorter than most, or are bald by nature. Each tribe or species would have another benefit that the others don’t have. Let’s then imagine how a long lived group of technologically advanced peoples might look to homo-sapiens at around 10 to 20 thousand BCE. They would seem like the children of gods and maybe even seem like demons, monsters, or immortals.

It’s been a fun ride. With season one of “Knights of the Immortals” nearly released, I’m excited to get started on season two. If you’d like to get the first glimpse at the series for free, book one is available at http://theladywrites.com/

The Quick and Dirty

So where have I been and where’s that book I promised you – a year ago?

Truth of the matter is, my dear dedicated reader, that it’s been a long nasty road that I’m not done traveling yet and I can confirm has been seeded liberally with landmines.  The gist of it? I picked up a part time job because editing is expensive. Various important appliances (computers, cars, you know the things I need to live) have broken down and been jury rigged into a state of “please don’t die just yet.” My grandmother has had a stroke, recovered and gone home, had another and resigned herself to hospice care for what will very possibly be the rest of her life. Mom made great strides in her own health that all came crashing down like a castle of cards as soon as her mother got sick and I didn’t help matters much by immediately catching a flu so bad it reminded us both that people can still die from the common cold.

It’s been bad, dear dedicated, and it’s likely nowhere near done being bad just yet. While I’ve been occupied with all of that I’ve gone and let this vital lifeline grow dangerously thin and that’s not helped matters one bit. A writer that isn’t writing is a very unstable and hazardous person indeed. So in the interest of getting healthier (while still recovering from that monster flu) I’m preping “Toxic Ash” for paperback release and working on the rewrites of “Tasting Ash.” It’s slow going, a little like an athlete that’s been out of competition for a long while, gained a bit of a gut and a lot of self hate, before finally starting to train again more for their sanity than for any love of the game itself.

I don’t love editing. Editing is a very special kind of hell that’s only true competition is the dreaded formatting for paperback publication that will come next. But there’s a very special kind of healing magic to be found in reading your old work over again. A kind of wonder and ego boosting pride to read a few pages that aren’t half bad and realize that maybe you don’t suck half as bad as the mangled manuscript you’ve been wrestling with off and on for a year has led you to believe. That maybe, just maybe, you can polish this old turd into a diamond after all. You’re not entirely sure of the exact alchemy you’ll have to perform, to transform turds to diamonds, but there before you is the proof that you’ve done it before and you’ll do it again and again and again.

Probably.

So long as you can just keep with it long enough.

What the Azathoth is Going On Here?

Posts have been few and far between for a while now, culminating in a long period of seeming silence. I haven’t updated anyone on what’s going on with the books or posted anything of use on the blog, facebook, twitter or tumblr. A few particularly astute readers have taken the time to track me down and demand answers but I’ve been cagey even then.

The truth of the matter is, many nasty things have happened in the last six months or so added up with recurring bouts of problems with my hands and fingers that have really put a hurt on my writing work. Not all of what’s happen only concerns me and my affairs so I’m not even at the liberty to divulge them all (except for the knowledge that my Grandmother had a stroke earlier this month – and we’re lucky that she’s recovering nicely) that have left me psychically and mentally fatigued.

I keep trying to put off saying that I’m exhausted, depressed and looking at a complete rewrite for “Tasting Ash.” Shortening the projected story line has ruined the flow and it needs serious work before I can release it to anyone. Meanwhile I’ve lost one of my first readers to mysterious (and worrisome) circumstances. I’ve also been casting about for a new editor to go over the second books in both the Eldritch Elysium series and The Four Horsemen series, in preparation to committing them both to paperback.

All in all I’m a bit overwhelmed and tired, I had some awesome plans for the new year (setting up a proper newsletter, taking the site to it’s own page, offering up a few ecourses on self publishing) but now I’m cutting my project list waaay back and just trying to keep my head above water for the nonce. Books will be published, stories will be written – it’s just going to take a lot more time and right now I feel like I’m at the bottom of the hill looking up with a giant boulder in front of me that needs pushing.