Deadlocked is coming soon, and I’ve entered a contest!

I know, I should update more, and with less topics. I hate 100-word updates, what can I say?

I can say with some authority that Deadlocked will be gracing your Internet as of Friday, for your weekend dose of zombies. Trust me, you need zombies every weekend, it’s vitamin Z, and totally not me trying to get you to read my (and other great) stories. Sadly, continuous annoying pneumonia complications keep creating unexpected delays, but I’m 95% certain that I’ll be able to make my latest self-imposed deadline.

As for the contest, I got wind that the fine folks at Curiosity Quills were holding a contest for books written specifically during NaNoWriMo, so I threw my science fiction novel, Sanity Vacuum (link will show the first three pages of my draft), into the pot. I’m currently in fourth place, and I need to stay in the top ten to move on to the next round. Please vote for me, or a number of the other fine contestants, or both!

Coming soon: Deadlocked Chapter 1 sneak peek, and Christmas Blog Hop madness!

 

 

Victory at day 25: My NaNoWriMo Adventure

The dust has settled, and I have emerged victorious over the beast of NaNoWriMo. I planned on finishing today, and that’s exactly what I did.

 

I win!

 

It was a tough fight. It took all of the stubbornness, self-discipline, perseverance and sheer will I had, but I cranked out an average of 2000 words/day for 25 days straight, when most sane or less-driven people were telling me to get my half-dead posterior back to bed. As of yesterday, I’ve been breathing mostly without pain, and can manage very short walks. However, I seem to have caught a cold.

Now, here are my final thoughts on NaNoWriMo, made 100% more true and legitimate because I won.

  1. Get mad. At yourself, your characters, anything. Just be angry. Stare at those stats with hatred and rage in your eyes (especially the “Words remaining” section.) Lemma 1: Don’t get depressed. Be awesome instead.
  2. Find cheerleaders, people who will cheer you on and are so overwhelmingly positive they make you want to puke.
  3. Get writing buddies. Check their progress daily. If you’re not in the top of the bunch (after the crazy people who finish in 10 days, of course) then refer to item 1.
  4. Stick to your goal. If you miss it, compensate the next day. If you manage a spectacular failure of a day, then figure out a way to average it out, and refer to item 1.
  5. Convince yourself that whatever you’re writing is the most fascinating subject known to man. Fall in love with it. Rave on twitter about space stations.
  6. Don’t be afraid to brag. It feels good.

I started crying as I was writing my last sentences. I never cry at books or movies as a rule, I’m usually very aware of the boundaries between fantasy and reality. Something about Sanity Vacuum was different. Maybe it was the way I ended it, or the fact that I’ll miss my characters. Perhaps there’s a certain casual brutality to the zombie genre. I usually know which characters are fodder, and inoculate myself accordingly.

Tomorrow, I go to a small press fair, and see what’s out there in my fair city. I might try to pick up a paying gig with a local company or two, for some spending money and more name out-there-ness. I know the word is exposure, let me have my fun. I won NaNoWriMo today.

Otherwise, I begin writing Zombie Bedtime Stories part 4, Bedlam on Monday, and I begin putting the final touches on Deadlocked. It rolls out in about a week, and I think it’s the best one yet.

December will be a full month. I have one book release, a novella to write, a novel to edit, and two blog hops. I hope you guys are along for the ride! January, I’m wanting to do a blog tour. If anyone is interested in hosting, drop me a line.

Now, I have a bottle of champagne that urgently needs my attention.

The story behind the SPACE STATION: My #NaNoWriMo Work in Progress

There seems to be some curiosity, and an overwhelming fascination with all the space station babbling I’ve been doing. The working title is Sanity Vacuum. I’m not sure what variant of science fiction it is, but I seldom concern myself with the particularities of genre. I find it’s simpler to let others classify it. Right now, no sub-genre seems to fit.

It’s a science fiction story, set about 1000 years from now on a space station called the Extra-Galactic Observatory (EGO) at the edge of the galaxy.

My main character is a girl named Vivian Skye, from the world of Aurora, which features persistent “northern lights” over most of the planet, day and night. As a result, not much advanced technology works on Aurora except for deep underground, and she studied quantum informatics at the planet’s only tech school. She took her first job on the EGO because she wanted to work with advanced quantum computer systems, and to get away from the memories of being disowned by her anti-technology family because of her passion for computers.

The other primary character is the EGO’s computer, quIRK. He is unique in that he’s been programmed to observe human behavior so that he can fit in better and alleviate the stress of extended isolation. quIRK is eccentric, likes cats and the color antiblue, and is generally a bit of a goof. Unknown to everyone, quIRK has become self-aware, though he harbors no ill-will towards the crew, but he is paranoid, because sentient computers are illegal and if discovered he will be destroyed.

The primary antagonist is called Bryce. He comes from a planet named Caesarea, a caste-based planet modeled loosely on the Roman Empire. He is driven to make it to the upper echelons of his society, no matter the cost. He has a general disdain for the crew of the station he administrates, calling them plebeians, and a special hatred for Vivian, whom he refers to as a barbarian because of her Auroran ancestry, because she was assigned to the station to conduct work that he felt entitled to perform. Bryce has become obsessed with quIRK’s emerging personality, and does not want to be blamed for it.

Other characters are Alec, the squash-loving smart-ass Mr. Fix-It from the planet Elyssia who taught quIRK sarcasm, and the two “Newfound Blob” obsessed scientists. (yes, it’s a real space-thing!)

There is a plot. Vivian is intelligent and driven–no matter what happens to her, she redoubles her efforts and keeps going. This enrages Bryce, who has tried to disrupt her work at every turn. Eventually, he figures out a way to compel quIRK to kill her without his knowledge, and the fun lands them drifting into the unknowns of inter galactic space.

Um, whew. That’s the most I’ve ever actually written about the NaNoWriMo WIP. It feels good. I hope it’s coherent! Now, I just need to write the Earth-shattering conclusion.

I’m not posting an excerpt as of yet, because it’s very unpolished and I prefer to be seen at a level closer to my best. I have a propensity for stupid typos, which would probably make me look incompetent if I didn’t catch them before posting.

NaNoWriMo week two – I’m still alive

That’s the good news, I’m still fighting in NaNoWriMo, and I’m500 words above where I wanted to be. That’s with an internal ligament pull that causes even light physical activity to wind me, and being easily exhausted. I’m pretty proud of my resiliency. Some days I just wanted to say I’d make it up the next day and go wallow in bed, but I’m glad to say I’m pushing through.

The novel itself is coming along nicely; it’s within the bounds of my original vision, but the characters have come alive and my futuristic universe feels so real to me. I’m hoping I do an accurate job of conveying that through my characters and descriptions. Of course, it needs a great deal of editing and proofreading before it sees the light of day, but, editing is the other half of the fun! (To me, at least. I love wading into the fray with a red pen and a healthy dose of self-doubt.)

What’s in store for the next week?

  1. I feel better, allowing me to improve my writing time and get that 2k out faster.
  2. Some of the people beta-reading Deadlocked will start to report in.
  3. I have my eye on a couple of short horror publications, so I use my free time from item #1 to work on that. Publications are fun, I want to try to branch out a little.

I’m probably missing something. It’s probably panic/profit, but I’m not much of a pessimist or optimist these days. I just write my words and try not to re-injure myself.

Here’s the rundown of my NaNoWriMo stats. Those of you interested in further deep examination of my numbers/progress can check out my stats. I obsessively update my word count while I’m writing, because I hate seeing my daily average below 2000. It makes me mad.

Words today: 2210

Total words: 30518 (61% complete!)

I’m supposed to finish on the 24th, but I can’t reproduce their numbers, all of my calculations with their figures indicate I’ll finish the 25th. I’m kind of calculator obsessed, I try to calculate everything, whether it matters or not.

What NaNoWriMo has taught me so far

It’s no secret that I spent much of this year awaiting NaNoWriMo. I saw it as a chance to improve my writing, my self-discipline and write this novel idea I’ve been marinating for years.

So far, I’m on schedule. I’ve been aiming for 2000 words per day, which I have met, on average. I’ve had two off days, which I balanced out the following day.

Best word count day: Today, 3000 words. (A new personal best!)

Worst word count: Yesterdat, 1000 words.

I’ve learned a couple of things.

  1. Description is a good way to up your word count, and it also has the added bonus of making your world feel more “real.”
  2. Described stuff? Good! Still stuck? One word: back story. Characters can have pasts, fears, hopes, phobias, much like real people. Like with real people, elements in their environment will bring up feelings, memories and fears. You’ll be surprised with what you can come up with!
  3. Don’t give up.
  4. Tea is amazing.
  5. I’m beginning to suspect that the word count is all mental, and it’s a function of self-doubt.

That’s what I’ve come up with so far.I’ll have more brilliant revelations next week, as exhaustion and burnout begin to overwhelm my mind.

Total word count as of day 9: 18,191 words. I can’t believe I’ve written this much and I’m not even close to killing off any characters yet.

 

NaNoWriMo’s month of insanity begins, and Review Goodness!

Now that the Coffin Hop is over and I’m mostly healthy (mostly, somehow I managed to pull a ligament in my chest. It makes breathing hurt, but at least the pneumonia is all gone) so it’s time to punish myself some more with NaNoWriMo! I am fairly convinced at this point that NaNoWriMo is the best thing ever, although I am sure to revise that sentiment as soon as writer’s block rears its ugly head.

I have a single tip that I have learned in my short time as an author. If you can’t stop, but have writer’s block, start describing something. Anything. Even if it’s during dialogue. Eventually, you’ll write yourself out of the block, because your world has grown to the point where your character knows where to go. It ups your word count, and helps you talk your way out of a nasty corner.

This may be why I am consistently complimented on my descriptions and attention to detail. Readers like it, I think. Maybe? I like juicy world details. Right now I’m writing science fiction, so I just think of my descriptions as “space gore.”

Day 1 total: 2020 words. It took me about four hours, including research on SPACE STUFF. I love space. For a while I was considering applying to do physics graduate studies in experimental astrophysics. I suppose there are other ways to follow that passion for discovery and the unknown.

In the past few days, I’ve received several great reviews of Zombie Bedtime Stories, Locked In and Locked Out. Here’s a rundown:

Confessions of a Psychotic Housewife was good enough to post reviews on both Locked In and Locked Out.

DoubleShot Reviews was kind enough to give Locked In a quad rating, and Locked Out a triple in an epic double review.

And finally, I was a featured horror author for a cute interview by Bloody Bookish.

Or, not so finally, just as I was about to hit publish, I got word that I’ve been featured on Mercurial Musing’s website! Read Of Zombies And Apples with Thea Gregory, now. You’ll get my apple crisp recipe.

I’ve finally burned out all my news, for now. Stay tuned for more NaNoWriMo – inspired ramblings and good news.

The Coffin Hop ends, and here are the winning entries!

The Coffin Hop came and went. Great zombie limericks were written. Unfortunately, pneumonia kept me from being as interactive and active in the Hop as I had hoped to be, but there’s always next time.

Now, for the three winners, and their winning entries!

A. F. Stewart – I love pork, and this made me giggle.

There once was a zombie from Cork
 who ate all his brains with a fork.
 He stabbed them with zeal
 gladly munching his meal
 claiming it tasted like pork.

Kathryn Anne Merkel – Zombies… named Clyde! Bonus points for the word ghoul. I should be more inclusive with respect to undead nomenclature.

I once met a zombie named Clyde
 Who had very recently died
 Not your average ghoul
 He’s really quite cool
 As long as you’re not his new bride.

Rob Smales – It’s a story, told with limericks! How can I resist!

There once was a Zombie named Stan,
 With a very intricate plan.
 He would lie in the dirt,
 And pretend to be hurt,
 And then munch every help-giving man.
But true foresight his plan did lack,
 When he lay in the great muddy track.
 The old lady was blind,
 and it was poorly timed,
 She crushed him with her Pontiac.
Then more traffic came on the double,
 And Stan was in terrible trouble.
 His luck was quite sour,
 He’d chosen Rush Hour,
 Now Stan’s nothing but a Blood Puddle!

Many thanks to all who participated! Stay tuned for another blog post, and some blog redecorating later today, after I begin my NaNoWriMo journey.

The Zombie’s Bride, now free on Kindle, and other good things

At long last, Amazon has made The Zombie’s Bride free for Kindle. This is not a limited time offer, I consider it to be a sampler of my work, put out there as a way to entice people into trying my other work (notably, the Zombie Bedtime Stories.) So please, download it early, and often!

It’s interesting to note that I’ve moved 560+ copies in one day as of this writing. It’s pretty well ranked, and I’m hoping that good things will come of it!

In other good news, I’m pretty hopeful for even more reviews to be out within the next week, thanks to some nice blogger-types. Now, all I have to do is finish Deadlocked already, and I’ll be set for meeting October goals.

October goals:

  • Write outline/chapter guides for NaNoWriMo
  • Start/Complete Zombie Bedtime Stories draft #4: Bedlam
  • Sell 50 copies (combined) of Locked In and Locked Out. (I made my goal of 25 for September, why not aim high?)
  • Edit Deadlocked and aim for end of October release (or early November, depending)

 

 

Zombie Bedtime Stories #2 Draft Done

That felt so good to say. I’ve been working on it for over a month. It’s novella length, and it will probably get longer as it progresses through edits. There are plenty of “Easter Eggs” for those who read Locked In, but it’s not required reading to enjoy Locked Out. I want the series to be order-androgynous, so that you can come in at any point, in any order and enjoy the universe.

I’m working on publicizing Locked In, so I’m sending it to reviewers, places that announce ebooks and places that post interviews. It can’t hurt. I’m tabulating everything I send out in a spreadsheet, so I can track how fast sites are.

I have a month to get the cover art together, and to generate some kind of buzz. I might even bump up my release date, depending on how well edits go.

One last note. I wrote 2070 words today. An all-time personal best! If I can make that sustainable, then NaNoWriMo won’t know what hit it.

Twitter is way too much fun for something that’s supposed to be work.

I resisted getting a Twitter account for years. I just didn’t see the point.

I had no idea how easy it was to find people who like what you do, and connect with them. It is unbelievably cool. It seems like it’s a bit of a time-sink, but here’s what I’ve learned in a few short days of using it.

  1. Follow others. They may return the favor, or maybe their friends will. Having a new best friend is good!
  2. Check out things that are cool. Simply because they’re cool.
  3. Check out others who are tangential to the people you are following. There is infinite variety out there.

So basically, be friendly, check out the cool space photos from NASA and have fun.

In writing news: Locked Out is progressing nicely. The main character’s personality is really coming into focus, and I’m having fun with having a protagonist who spends the story alive (as opposed to undead/dead/zombified).I should be getting a Locked In critique tomorrow, draft 6. I’m hoping draft 7/8 will be close to final. I’ve already learned a lot about how to write fiction from the experience, so Locked Out is flowing better and will be a better story.

I’ve decided on which story to outline for NaNoWriMo. It’s going to be my “stuck in a waiting room somewhere” project. Outlining and character sketches are allowed, and I know I need to pump out shy of 1700 words per day to win. It’s going to be an attempt at hard sci-fi with a horror/thriller angle. It’s going to be good!