Locked Out (Zombie Bedtime Stories #2) Cover Art sneak peak!

It’s been a busy weekend. I caught some kind of weird flu, but feel mostly better now. Still no appetite, but I could do with some cutbacks in the indulgences. But, in addition to the tentative signs that my muse is returning (I managed 100 words of Deadlocked last night), my boyfriend and cover artist has not been lacking in inspiration. I really lucked out with a guy who used to design video games for a living and had to do his own textures and art.

 

Locked Out Cover

Zombie Bedtime Stories: Locked Out

 

The original concept was supposed to be a brain with a keyhole on it, but it didn’t fit the story as it evolved. However, fire, zombies and mystery liquid always apply.

As always, we would love to hear your feedback!

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.

Setting Goals and Challenges

Having realistic goals is important. So is challenging yourself by pushing your limits. I decided that since I’ve never exceeded 900 words in a day, that I would do 1000 words per day this week. This is in addition to blogging and vlogging, and normal work obligations.

Here’s what I’ve learned about goals and challenges:

  • If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. (Ripped from my high school agenda) This is so true. Not setting hard word counts for myself has done me no favors in terms of productivity. The same goes with any other measurable goal.
  • Set measurable goals. You can’t plan for abstracts, which winds you back to point #1.
  • Know your limits. Set some solid goals and figure out your own strengths and weaknesses. Then try again. It’s all perseverance and insight.
  • Aspirations are not goals. Go back to the drawing board and create a plan of attack, preferably in goal-oriented form.
  • Work hard, then work even harder. Everything is a function of the time and energy you put into it.
  • Learn some project management principles, and apply them to your goals. Even a simple task keeper/to-do list on your cellphone helps.

Some words of wisdom.

Now, go watch my vlog. I talk about writing, editing, my cats and cooking chili. You’ll love my chili.

900 words in an hour, and I vlog about books

It’s been a productive day. Words just spilled out, everywhere. Some were even coherent. It’s the coherent ones that are keepers.

Running out of steam on the story, I worked on a few other projects that I’ve been neglecting. Then I decided to record a new vlog about books. Specifically, some of my favorite books, the pride and joy of my collection. I might do a “walk of shame” for the books I have that most sane people would be ashamed to own.

Today’s vlog: The Interesting Books of MissTheaIsis

Watch it, and feel awe at my astronomy book from 1919. I’m going to go collapse from awesome overload now.

Inspiration = Walking?

Inspiration is a fickle thing. I can honestly say that I’ve never come across one starting point for an article of a story through simple brainstorming.

It strikes like lightning, then it’s time to go to the drawing board.

I had my idea for Locked In just walking (okay, pacing) around in my house. Locked Out was a similar situation, while writing Locked In. My novel ideas came to me on walks to the Metro station.

It seems walking is the only constant connection. Maybe my legs are connected to my brain. Or, more amusingly, maybe my muse has an issue with my pacing habit and wants me to stop.

Oddly, pacing seems to have no effect on writer’s block. But it sure feels good.

Another Interview, I need to do these more often

This summer I’m interning as a backbeat reporter for The Warehouse, and one of my assignments is to review the play 8 Ways My Mother Was Conceived at its Saturday premiere. I managed to score an interview with the girl in charge on the one-woman show. I’m not sure when it will be published, but I am so stoked about the play. I love theater, and I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing a one-man show before.

I’m working on some real content for my blog, other than news flashes and rambling. I’m going to write a little in the upcoming days about how to transition from reviewing to writing fiction. There are many skills and techniques that cross over, and a few pitfalls to avoid. I also hope to get back to podcasting and back on a routine.

 

Nothing like a day off to beat writer’s block

I took yesterday off completely. I didn’t think about writing, or worry about it. I saw my friends, played some games and fussed with my garden a little bit.

I was back with a vengeance today. It seems like if you have writer’s block, to just forget about it for a day and it will come back. I managed to crank out 900+ words today, which is a pretty high daily count for me.

I’m starting to get a feel for the story and the characters. I was still stuck a bit when I first sat down today, so I started describing scenes and characters. Then, I started giving them more traits, more neuroses, more personality. Then I made them just a little more real. And then I made them talk, with extra conflict.

It’s looking good, and it’s going to be much longer than I originally planned.

In other news, day job is picking up again, and Twiter is still way too much fun. However, I wish it would stop recommending fake Portal/Half Life accounts. And everything NASA has ever done. I love you NASA, but you have too many Twitter accounts.

Podcasts, my sexy, sexy voice and catchup

Working weekends bring me back to my time studying physics. The 8+ hours of studying/cramming/grinding and that fuzzy brain feeling mixed with hyperactivity from sitting still too long. I have since managed to kick the caffeine, so at least I’ll be able to keep a normal bedtime. I shouldn’t complain too much. If this project goes through I will be catapulting myself out of the ranks of the underemployed.

I played around with my audio recorder to check podcast potential because I usually just do interviews for transcribing and I wanted something better than my Blackberry. I have an Olympus DM-520 Digital Stereo voice recorder. I am blown away by the audio quality in a quiet room. It seems that I’m setup for some amazing audio books. Hopefully some of mine will wind down or conclude so I can get started. For some inexplicable reason, this recorder makes my voice sound really, really good. Lower quality recordings can make me sound squeaky, or worse, like a 5 year old, but I seem to be firmly set in the adult range. I’ve also determined that I can read the most disgusting, hilarious stuff aloud with no stuttering or inappropriate laughter. (It helps if you re-read the problem bits once of twice before you make the recording pass. Again, another great thing about my recorder is that I can seamlessly pause.)

So, podcasts and audio books are on! It’s going to be awesome!

Tomorrow is massive review catchup. I have two due Tuesday, and Tuesday morning I’m going to an advance screening of a movie that may prove to be very exciting and is very hyped. I’m happy, I usually don’t get the good ones (unless they only show at 10am, then I get them.)

I can start writing again.

All work and no play means no writing and no podcasts

Intense working weekend. Them’s the breaks when your deadline gets surprise upped by a few days on you. I was hoping to spew more of Locked Out, but it seems like that will have to wait. It’s so lame when the whole story clicks in your head and you’re just too busy to get to it.

I should have more time after Monday-ish. I have some rad ideas for good blog posts. My brain is mush right now. It’s not even zombie food.

I’m thinking of getting into podcasting. My years of soul-crushing sales and call center jobs tell me that I have an amazing voice. I should use it for something that’s not soul-crushing for once. I’m thinking of making audiobooks of my stories, and doing some good old fashioned talking.

Right now I’m so overloaded that I can’t deal with all my creative influx. I did start a twitter, it appears to be good for you. I have more zombie channels than friends. Love me, love my twitter!

As of Wednesday I should be back to my normal schedule. I hope my neovellas are still waiting for me when I get back. I miss you sweet bodily-substance spewing little jerks. Want to help me write horrific things? Check out the following two links before I finish both stories myself:

Bobby the Incontinent Space Cadet

Buster the Effeminate Cucumber Farmer Looks like it picked up again. I know what I’m off to do, and it’s not going to be pretty, but it’s going to be fun! I should be working on some outstanding reviews, but I just don’t want to. Maybe I can podcast the neovellas, that might rock if I could keep a straight face.

I’m off to get some criticism

I have a long and detailed critique ahead of me today, which has to be given and explained in person. Should be fun and a good learning experience.

I have some gardening to look forward to this weekend, the sun if finally out and I want these tomatoes out of my office. They do smell wonderful, though.

I’ve registered for NaNoWriMo, a novel writing contest. 50k words during the month of November. Since festival season will be over, I want to try it out for a few reasons. One is that it will make me swallow my self-doubts and fears so I can just write the damn thing. Another is for the challenge, of course. Lastly, I want to feel like I’m really a part of something, and this seems like a good thing to be a part of, because at worst I drop out and beat myself up. At best I end up with 50+k words and I can finish a story and have written a draft for a novel.

Outlines and character sketches are legal. I have at least three novel outlines/ideas that are in various stages of outlined. No character sketches yet. I need another notebook already.

In other news, my awesome brother started a blog of his own. Go awesome brother, go!