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.

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.

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!

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.

Two Steps Forward and Three Back

So my monitor died some time ago and I didn’t realize how much of a ginormous hit that was to my productivity until I got it replaced and immediately felt like a weight was lifted from my writing that I’d never even dared contemplate was there before. Which should mean that I’m cranking out chapters like no one’s business – but. There’s always a but isn’t there? Just as I got close to replacing my monitor I lost large chunks of my Scivener project for the Eldritch Elysium series.

As in giant chunks of my manuscript for “Tasting Ash” were gone. Poof. Vanished into the aether.

Again.

This is the second time I’ve lost work thanks to using Dropbox coupled with Scrivener. Every now and again giant chunks of text just seem to vanish no matter what I do. Yes I was working on a different computer but I wasn’t opening the project on them both at the same time – at all – plus I lost bits of my notes from much older sections of the project (book 2 level old) which was both frustrating and utterly unacceptable.

Thankfully I have backups of my backups and now that I’m able to use the desktop again it wasn’t too hard for me to dig them out and get everything recovered. Unfortunately so frelling much was lost (that I really need) that instead of writing all kinds of awesome new stuff, I’m sitting around reentering old stuff.

Good news though, going through so many vital character notes has really helped clear away lots of my previous confusion with the manuscript for “Tasting Ash” bad new is I have parts of that to recover too and I’ve not gotten there yet.

So… I’m Still Here

My birthday has come, passed, and for the first time in five years it’s done so without the release of a new novel or even the paperback release of an old novel. The world didn’t collapse in a sea of angst and fire, in fact the day was quite nice. Warm and quite, with a visit from a neighbor’s kitty and lots of love sent my way. Just no new novel.

Just.

Inside it hurts but outside it’s nothing, like so much of a writer’s life, the giant internal shakeups go quietly unremarked by those around me. There’s a world altering storm beneath the surface but outside it’s a rather pleasant day.

Nothing for it but to turn away from the outside, turn inward and begin to calm that storm with the only thing that can – the steady click click click of my keyboard in use.

An outline has been crafted, deemed utter rubbish and all but thrown out. Hopefully more substantial news soon.