Category Archives: Journal

Journal type entries, or me talkin about stuff that regards… me. <_<

I’m not dead!

Hello, hello, new year!

I know, I know… I haven’t updated my blog in.. centuries. Forgive my literary hibernation, stuff happened. :(

Among those things –
-I transferred and started school again. Woots!
-I spent 4 months trying to write Redhaven #2
-Scrapped it
-Started again
-Said fuck it, pushed the plot from the original book #2 to #3
-Nano’d book #2 with a new plot.
-FINISHED BOOK 2. FUCK TO THE YES.
-Started edits and rewrites. Blurgh.
-I also started taking my health seriously and dropped 50 lbs in 5 months. (Go me!)

But yes! Things are going… slowly, but at least they’re going now. The changes and edits for Book #2 of the Redhaven Saga (tentatively called Blood Rites) are pretty much locked, so it’s just a matter of getting through the edits. Cover is underway, too, so expect some previews in the next months or so! (I say this with the utmost vagueness, because who the hell knows when it comes to book publishing. It’s done when it’s out, haha.)

But yes, book #2 is underway, fo’ realz this time. Vampires and demons and werebats, oh my!

I also did some compiling, and found out I have anywhere between 14-17 series/one-shot novel ideas in my little folder of scraps. That’s a ton of projects. I’m going to focus on Redhaven first, of course, but geez! I’m glad I write down my ideas… I’m sure my future self will thank me for it, but still. Most of the ideas are fantasy in some variety. Actually, I think all of them are, but still. They range from high-fantasy to post-apocalypse to… well, other stuff. I’ve been thinking perhaps I could alternate and work on a few things here and there at the same time, but I don’t want to spread myself too thin. Still, it would be nice to take a break from witches and werebats and venture into apocalyptic shenanigans. Could be fun, no? We’ll see… Really want to polish up Blood Rites and get it out. If I wrote the first book in a month, surely I can get the second out in two. (…I actually wrote book 2 in a month too, but… you know what I mean.)

I’m sure there’s other things I could update about, but this is good for now. Just wanted to let the interbutts know I haven’t died or anything. I just took a writing hibernation.

 

<3 :D

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Hello, again. I’m cheating on my book.

Well, kind of.

As some of you may (or may not) know, I’ve been fighting with book 2 like crazy. It sucks. I don’t like writing it. It doesn’t want to let me write it. Everything in it is poo. Etcetera, etcetera…

Well, I ended up re-writing pretty much the whole plot, and it seems to be jiving much better now. Should be on track to get it published by August at the latest. (Two months past my original target of May, but… late is better than never.)

You might think, hey! That’s great, Tori! You finally punched that book in the balls and got it to behave! Yeah, I guess I did. It feels better now, but my brain is trying to screw me over.

I don’t know how to tell you this, Book 2, but… I’ve been cheating on you. With Khimaera. I’m sorry you had to find out this way. It’s okay, we can have joint custody of the chapters… You can visit alternate weekends, and hey! We’ll have christmas together, right?

In all serious, my brain has been floating away to other projects. I keep getting these little sparks of ideas here and there, and I ended up kind of resurrecting an old project of mine a few nights ago.

I know I really should be pushing through book 2, but there’s this thing writer’s get, and I don’t have a name for it, but if you’ve ever written something long term, you probably know what I mean. It’s like this: Yeah, your current project is wonderful, and sparkly, and you can write it more or less painlessly, but then you get an idea, that -one- idea that makes your brain go “holy crap, write this right now”, and before you know it, it’s 2 am and you’ve got a series plot and some characters fleshed out, and half of a chapter fell out of thin air.

I feel bad for taking my attention away from Redhaven #2, buuuut… sometimes you need to step back, I guess. Give your brain a different flavor to chew on.

Plus, you know… zombies are cool. Khimaera will be fun if you like zompoc scenarios, but what drives me even more nuts than fighting with a book is totally dropping a series to write another. Khimaera won’t be for a couple of years, most likely, but at least it let me breathe.

Moral of the story, writerly-wise: Sometimes it’s good to work on other things.

 

Just thought I’d pass that along. And sorry for the lack of blog stuff. A zombie ate my router. :(

Writing the Next Chapter: An Adventure Into Book #2

Oh, the headache! Writing a sequel isn’t as easy as I thought it’d be.

 

Crazy, right? Book #1 just got published on the 1st of March, and I juuuuust finished two and 1/2 chapters of book 2. And you know what? It’s freakin’ hard!

The first book is special – you’re doing everything for the first time, finding your style, your grove, your writing schedule… everything is new. With the second book, it’s the same thing, only… not. Does that make sense? Kind of? I’ll elaborate.

With the first book, it took me FOREVER to plan it out. I was creating an entire world, with it’s own laws and rules and (in some cases) physics, even. I had to create whole, entire people, give them histories and motivations, personalities…. favorite foods. >_> I had to start from scratch. There was a TON of planning involved. Even after it was finished, I had to find an appropriate cover artist, and figure out formatting and channels, and whether or not I wanted to take advantage of KDP-Select.

Not to mention I had to, you know, build an author base and junk. (Tweet me!)

With a sequel, I don’t have to do as much work. I’m not baking from scratch with this one, I’m using a mold. Which is, as I said, less work but in some ways more difficult. I don’t want my supporting characters suddenly acting or sounding differently. Lucy can’t suddenly be mopy and stoic. I have to keep the plot threads continued, and everything too.

All of that said, I -did- manage to get book #2 outlined and fleshed out in a couple of weeks. Not bad, if I do say so myself. It’s still giving me a headache though… Mostly with the beginning, but this is was first drafts are for, right? Right. It’ll all shape up nicely in the final draft. I hope.

Anyway, my point is this: sequels are not like the original! It’s another new adventure, but I’m hoping I’ll get this down to a science in no time.

I feel naked. And nostalgic. And where did my vlogs go?

My manuscript has finished its first round of self edits. I ended up adding two chapters, and changing some big details, but I think the book is better for it. We’ll see, I guess.

It’s off in the hands of my editor and a couple of beta readers now, though.  I feel like my kid went off to college or summer camp or something. I haven’t edited or written anything in two whole days or something crazy. The feedback I’ve gotten so far has been really helpful, actually. I’m planning to compile my feedback and make another draft. Maybe the last one, but we’ll see. Like they say, “it’s done when it’s done.”

I’ve been listening to old country lately. Mostly stuff my Momma listened to when I was a kid. Oh, Garth Brooks. You remind me of home. ;_; I miss my peoples back in Texas.

Speaking of which! I tentatively decided to have my wedding in California. It’s easier to plan, despite my want of a Texas wedding. Ah well.

Side ish note: My vlogs kind of disappeared, but its because I’ve been crazy busy with stuff. I’ll get back around to iiiit. >_> Probably. Eventually.

Those are my ramblings for the day. :x

6 Things I’ve Learned As A Newbie Writer

So, I’m quickly closing in on my first ever publication date. (That’s crazy!) I started my first novel on December 9th, 2012 and finished it January 21st, 2013. It would have been sooner, but I am notoriously procrastinate-y. And easily distracted. And sidetracked.

Either way, there have been some rude awakenings and not so rude awakenings on my journey to self publication. I’m going to share some here, so maybe you lot can avoid them in the future.

6 Things I’ve Learned as a Newbie Writer

1. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would – Granted I took a little while to eck out my overall plot and stuff, the actual process of writing 70k words only took a little under two months. It would have been faster had I not piddled away my time on other stuff. Before I started this whole thing (the decision to write a book at all), I was under the impression it took years to write a novel. Years! Apparently, with some application, it can be done in months. In some cases, even weeks. However, it should be noted I (basically) had a month off because work was slow, and the semester was over. But still. If you’re thinking about writing a novel, just know you can do it in a timely manner with some application and dedication. It doesn’t have to take years. It doesn’t even have to take months.

2. Turn off the freakin’ internet – I can’t stress enough how easy it is to get distracted. If you’re serious about this writing thing and want to get this thing done in a timely manner, turn everything off. For seriously. Even your people. Send your hubby/wifey away with something entertaining, shut off the wifi/internet, turn your phone off, everything. If it’s there, you’re gonna use it. I simple thought like, “Oh, let me just check my author page likes, just out of curiosity” ends up as “I really should buy a new washer. I wonder what deals home depot has. *opens new tab*”  NO! BAD WRITER! STOP IT!

3. Music is invaluable – I think I’ve mentioned this somewhere before, but I’ll re-iterate. Music is awesome, and you should use it to write. Picture your scene like a scene in a movie. What would play in the background? Orchestral tension scary music? Some kind kick-ass rock anthem while your MC beats up the villain? Something sultry for that love scene? It totally works. I swear to jeebus. (This point is invalid if you’re the kind of writer that requires silence. Which is fine too. Silence is golden.)

4. You need other people – Don’t write your novel by yourself. I’m not saying you need someone to read every single word of your first draft, but at one point or another, you’ll need somebody. Make connections early on, especially with other writers. Engage in social media and forums. There are a ton of people who’ve done this before you, and they often have incredibly helpful things to say about whatever you’re doing. You’ll need to ask for feedback sometime before publication date anyway, so it helps if you already know some people. Plus, it’s just fun to make friends. Everybody likes making friends. :D I wrote my first novel along side my best friend Maegan, who was writing her novel at the same time. It’s pretty nifty to be able to pick someone’s writerly-type brain as you go along, but be sure you don’t let it distract you. (Thats happened.. >_> )

5. You’ll probably get the writer blahs. This is normal. There WILL be days when you want to quit. Don’t. There will be days when you want to scrap your entire plot and start over. Don’t. There will be days when you wont want to write at all. Write anyway. Some might say, on this last part, if you write during your writer-blahs, your quality will suffer. Yeah, probably, but it’s also likely you’ll discover what you

NO, I DON’T NEED YOUR HELP, YOU BASTARD PAPERCLIP.

don’t like about whatever part your writing. You may not be able to write the bad part into a good part, but you can make a note of it and come back during edits with a fresh brain. Speaking of edits, you’ll probably wanna quit during those too. You’ve been staring at this folder of chapters for 84578449435 days, and your brain is starting to melt out of your ears. That’s okay. Take a break for a little while, but don’t quit altogether. Push past the blahs.

6. (This is the big one) Writing a book costs money. – The old saying, “It costs money to make money” is unfortunately true. A decent cover costs money. Some forms of advertising costs money. Software to help you along the way costs money. Copy editors (sometimes) cost money. If you don’t want to do it yourself, formatters cost money. Beta readers (sometimes) cost money. Unless you have 8569454 friends in various fields that will do it for you for free, you’re probably gonna spend some money on something related to your book along the way. I spent $180 on my covers (ebook and print). I probably spent $50 or so on various how-to books for formatting and marketing. I probably spent more on various other things. I’m debating spending $75 to have someone format this bitch for me. You can spend money to have a smoother ride to publication date, or you can buckle up and take the bumpies for free. I can tell you already that this formatting this is a bitch. I’m starting to think that if I can just power through this first one and get everything right via trial and error, then the next ones’ll be easy and I’ll have taught myself a valuable skill, but… still. In most cases, you’ll spend money on something. Especially if you plan to make this a career. Hopefully it’ll start paying off when the sales come in, but one can only hope.

Freaking Out Moment #394938132

I just had one of those panicky, “omg, how am I going to promote this thing once it’s done” moments. Edits are coming along faster than I thought they would, and I think I’m going to be finished in just about two weeks. (Maybe sooner). Which means I STILL need to nail down formatting for the print AND ebook version, WITHOUT having microsoft word. Which is a huge pain in the ass, because I don’t have an extra $140 to buy it, and Open Office only does so much.

So that’s mildly annoying. I hope I’m smart enough to figure it all out. =\

“how i do dis?!”

And then we’re back to the whole “omg how do I promote this crap” after it’s out. I’d like to do a blog tour, but those are often paid for and I don’t have enough money right now to PAY for one, so I guess I’ll have to whore myself out and see what comes of it.

Can you really do anything but seek out reviews/interviews/post to your page/blog/twitter every day? I feel like there’s something big I’m missing. Obviously, like with any writer, you wanna get the absolute maximum exposure you can get, but as I’ve never done this before, I’m 98% clueless about most of this stuff.

I have this sneaking suspicion that I’m going to get a handful of sales when it comes out (you know, pity sales from fam and friends mostly), and then it’ll abruptly halt, lol. I’m thinking I’m going to enroll in KDP select and try to strategically use my free days to boost rank or something. But then, of course, that helps a lot when you have some people spouting “hey, this book is free today!” for you. Hmm.

I thought about a giveaway, but I don’t think anyone wants stuff from my book yet, ha. I can make a poster of the book cover, and sign it, and have some printed copies signed, but I’m not 100% sure anyone would want it from an unknown. Apparently I can also make an iPhone case with my cover on it (which is totally cool), but again, it’d be a waste if 4 people signed up for the giveaway, lol. Maybe after a few more books and a few hundred more FB page likes, or something.

Does anybody have some step by step advice for this? Maybe a site, or a list of stuff I can do?

Ah well. I’ll figure it out. @_@

Just my luck.

I get five uninterrupted days to write and my wisdom teeth decide NOW is the time to totally attack my face and keep me up all night with excruciating pain. Seriously. My ear is killing me, because my teeth are doing some weird shit to my jaw which is doing weird shit to the rest of my face. Fuck you, wisdom teeth!

I’m probably going to have to get them out, which is going to hurt even more, and I’ll probably be totally zonked out for like, 2 or 3 days, which is highly irritating because I planned to finish Redhaven #1 this week. Five whole days! BLAH.

This is bullcrap. T_T

Happy New (Writing) Year!

Well, 2012 is almost over, and we’re all alive and un-apocalypsed, so woot!

I know a lot of people do the whole ‘new years resolution’ thing, but I’ve got several. It’s really more of a to-do list than anything, but still. New year, new goals, maybe even a new life!

I’ve said it in various places, but I’ll reiterate just for the sake of mashing it into my brain. (I have this notion if I repeat it to myself a million times, it’ll happen… something about psychology, but yeah.)

I want to write for a living. I want to be a ‘stay-at-home’ writer. I want my stuff to support me, so I can write full time. Mostly, I just want to share my stories with people who might like them. I want people to know my characters as intimately as I do, and I’ve always longed for that moment when someone I don’t know gushes about something I’ve written. That’ll be a cool moment.

So! My goal this year is to, at the absolute minimum, get book #1 of the Redhaven series out. I have about 80 berjillion ideas for other books, but I’m going to focus on this one first. It appears, from very early planning, that the Redhaven series will be around 7 to 8 books. Maybe 9 including the finale. I dunno. Somewhere there abouts.

Now, getting one book out a year is uncomfortable for me. Ideally, I’d like somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-6. (Which, if I sat here every waking spare moment, I could probably get the whole series out in a year, but then my fiance would be a stranger and my kitty-children wouldnt know me anymore, lol.) So, baring total soul-consumption-paced writing, I’m shooting for 4. 3 months a book seems… just about right. That way, the whole series can be done in around 2 years, and hopefully by THEN I’ll have enough of a people-base to do some other projects.

For the moment I’m staying focused on #1 though. Baby steps, Tori, baby steps.

The second thing on my list is to start an excercise/diet routine, but I make that one every year, and it only kinda works. Maybe I’m content with my fluff. This is going to be a year of kicking myself in the butt and making myself do stuff, so hopefully my determination to write will bleed over into my determination of un-fluff myself.

 

We’ll see! Happy New Year!

 

(I am going to get so drunk tonight. I love you guys.)

Holy crap this is scary.

My brain is warm with the possibilities of a writing career. Though, the more I read and research, the more I realize this is going to be fucking hard as fuck. Like, seriously. You talk about diamonds being the toughest substance on earth? Take this herculean task, and condense it and your diamonds are now buttery cheese. That somehow made sense, I think. Either way, this is gonna be… rough.

I think it’ll all come down to whether or not the actual content of my book is good (whether it’s a good story, keeps you involved, has interesting plot points, etc. I’m not quite sure my story is that good right now, but with a little chiseling, I think it might be). I also think another HUGE (read: gigantanormously gargantuatanic) part of it is being a prolific writer. I’m talking about like, writing all the time, forever, in every spare second of your life, kind of prolific writer. I can’t even put into words how to convey this.

I just need to write.

And here I thought I was doing pretty good. 14 chapters (about half of the book) in under a month. Apparently I need 14 chapters in 14 days. And even that’s slow. Maybe I’ll just write up for the first 3 books before release, and build up a cushion while I write the other ones.

I know my blog is full of “omg dis writing ting is so scurry” and “oh what do?” and “amigaw  never gonna give it up, never gonna let me down, never gonna run around, and not wriiiite yooooou”, but seriously! I don’t know whether to be afraid or motivated. I’m a little of both. It’s kind of like wanting to climb a mountain, but crapping yourself out of fear on the way up. (Too much? Sorry ’bout that.)

Maybe I’m sleep deprived, and this is where the random ranmble is coming from.

Either way, I need to get serious(er) about this writing thing. I was serious before, but the amount of seriousness that I went from before I started, to when I actually started is the amount of seriousness I need to get serious again. Seriously. (If you didn’t understand that, don’t worry, I didn’t understand most of if either, and I wrote it.)

In short: Omg, need to write more.

3 Things I Learned From My Writing Field Trip

So, I recently made a trip to Barnes & Noble’s, with the idea for ‘research’ in mind. I read somewhere that you should study and read as much as you can of your chosen genre, to get an idea / sense of the trends in your area of writing, and your target audience. Basically, I wanted to feel out my market (with my market being cautiously aimed in the urban fantasy / teen fantasy / YA. I was mostly interested in what the structure for book blurbs were like, as I’d had some trouble constructing my own a few days ago. (The wreckage of said attempt is viewable on my ‘Redhaven Saga’ page.)

Anyway, I learned some stuff, and I thought I would share. Perhaps some of you have noticed the same things? Something contradictory?

3 Things I Learned From My Writing Field Trip

1. It’s all about the same girl – And it’s always a girl courted by some mysterious boy (or boys). This is kind of a no brainer, but it still struck me as noticeable, because every cover had a pretty girl on it and  thesynopsis started almost the same. Girl X does stuff, and gets noticed by Boy X, and crazy romance-y stuff happens. I kind of wanted to read a book where the girl was in charge, but the whole ‘being pursued’ thing was still pretty hot. My book will probably have a bit of this same flavor, romance-wise, but it still seems very… cookie-cutter from the selection I saw. Maybe it’s time to change the formula.

2.  But it’s not all about the vampires anymore – This relieves me. Apparently mermaids are on the rise, from what I can tell. Other supernatural races, besides vampires, are growing too. There’s the shifter sub genre (which isn’t just wolves anymore), and even stuff like Valkyries and Witches are up and coming. This makes me feel better. Vampires are still king right now, but it’s looking less and less so.

This really does it no justice at all – the inside of it is intricate and beautiful and glossy.

3. And that thing about cover design is actually true – I’ve read that cover design is absolutely HUGE. Probably the next important thing under the content of your book itself. And this is absolutely true. As a reader and  a shopper, I can tell you that the books I picked up and read were the ones with the gorgeous covers, and it’s not even completely just the look of the cover, its the feel too. Some of them have beleveled titles, or intricate gold filigree, or are just detailed inside and out. The cover of the book Blessed by Tanya Hurley is probably the single most beautiful physical cover I’ve ever seen. The girl on the front isn’t some average looking brunette with smuldering eyes – she’s pale, and gaunt and almost so beautiful, she’s creepy. The inside of the jacket is even intricate and features a kind of alternate cover face. It was freaking awesome. I almost bought the book for the cover alone. (I still might). My point is, you kinda really do judge a book by it’s cover. Its an enormously important factor, and I’ve tested the notion.

I also happened to find a signed copy of Amanda Hocking’s Wake, which admittedly made me squee a little. Plus, the cover was holographic and pretty. I hope someday I can pick up my own book like that. One day, someday… Motivation!

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