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Monthly Archives: March 2011

>ROW80 Round Two Sign Up

>Round two of ROW80 begins on April 4th, so don’t forget to sign upRead the goals of the participants here.

I have to list my goals and I’m trying to learn my lessons from last time.  I’ll set some goals for the whole round and then choose specific goals for April.  I’m sure I’ll change my goals along the way but there are certain things I’d like to aim for.  I’m currently editing Taunt so any goals for April will begin on April 4th.  School holidays will start soon after round two ends so I’m going to try and pack in as much as possible into this round before I have to go live outside for a few months.  πŸ™‚

Round Two – Main Goals:

  • Write (and finish) first draft of Tempt
  • Work on untitled WIP
  • Edit Soul
  • Edit Taunt
  • Outline a project
  • Complete a short story

Round Two – April Goals:

  • Aim for 10,000 words a week
  • Work on first draft of Tempt
  • Edit Soul – a full read through taking notes, then one chapter a day
  • Complete a short story

The first round went well for me; I really enjoyed it, I loved seeing what everyone else was getting up to.  We all have different goals but still have so much in common and it was a really positive experience. This time I’m upping the word count goal because I can do more with the free time I have and I’m hoping I can learn to edit without letting everything else grind to a halt just because editing sucks the life out of me.  πŸ™‚ 

Looking forward to round two, hope to see everyone again as well as some new faces.  πŸ™‚

>The Good, The Bad, and The Pukeworthy

>Firstly, sorry to the ROW80ers I haven’t visited yet.  I’m moving – slowly – forward.  A plague descended upon my house again; the day after ROW80 ended, I found myself drowning in kid vomit – gave myself the most awful mental image there, that wouldn’t be a good way to go.  (BTW, the sickness began after one of the twins locked the entire family into a bedroom – scariest fifteen minutes of my life).  I’m not used to kid vomit, despite having five kids.  Sex education should involve cleaning up kid puke, just saying. 

I’ve missed lots of news online, apparently.  Much writerly drama about trad and indie and people crossing over and everyone having an opinion and *snore*, sorry.  Then much amusement and cringing and eye-rolling over an indie flipping the lid over a bad review on a blog I subscribe to – except the review itself wasn’t even that bad.  It’s like the blogging version of the American Idol/X-Factor tryouts up in here sometimes. 

However, as much as I detest writers complaining about reviews (it’s like picking a scab, leave it alone people), I felt bad by the end because there are lots of relatively more successful writers who have acted much the same (and worse) on their Amazon reviews yet managed to get away with it without a score of one star reviews popping up.  I keep rewriting and deleting what I was about to say next so I’ll leave it there, I think.

After reading a lot of nastiness, I got to the blog of Sean Sweeney/John Fitch V.  He’s trying to make a sales goal of 350 copies this month and needs 19 more sales to reach that.  After all of the negative dramaz, the air needs some good karma so if anyone would like to help a writer out, his books are priced from 99c.

>End of Round One Check-In

>Last day of ROW80’s first round.  Well done to everyone who took part and I hope we all meet again in Round Two.  Say congrats and farewell to all here.

Today is my 28th birthday so it’s nice to end the writing challenge in time for a minor celebration.  In the last 80 days I’ve edited (and rewritten the second half of) Verity, rewritten Taunt and finished the first draft of STS.  I’ve outlined Tempt and finished a couple of short stories and a novellette.  I’ve stuck to my weekly word count for the most part and tried to form a writing schedule and plan I can stick to.  I’m happy with the progress but I feel like I didn’t push myself.  One of my aims for the next round will be to stretch my limits a bit more.

I’m not sure what my exact goals for the next round will be – I have five novels calling out for edits, I need to get to the first draft of Tempt before I finish editing Taunt and there are five stories waiting to be written that have been shouting a lot louder this year.  Well, they have been waiting for quite a while.  Ideal goal would be to work on a first draft and an edit simultaneously as well as preparing outlines for the stories that can’t wait much longer but I keep forgetting about that other important five – my children.  All of the fives feel like a good sign.  πŸ˜‰

When I was born, Bonnie Tyler was already topping the charts in Ireland and MJ’s Billie Jean was number 1 in the US.  Billie Jean is one of my son’s favourite songs now – strange!

>Mrs. Van Winkle

>I’m not sure if I’ve met my goals this week, probably not.  Visit the others here.

Last weekend, I started feeling sick and I ended up sleeping for most of the week.  For example, on Wednesday I slept for 20 hours so I just gave up on the ROW80 thing (and the everything else thing) for this week.  Still sick but feeling better than before so I’ll try to put in more of an effort visiting and commenting.  After I’ve had a nap.  πŸ™‚

I did get some reading done, and read a book I really enjoyed – One Insular Tahiti by Thea Atkinson.  Really impressed me.  I’d been saving it for when I had some time because I had a feeling I’d like it.  The first couple of chapters didn’t grab me at all but I kept reading and found myself unable to put the thing down so, yeah, win.  I’m definitely going to read the rest of Thea’s books and I’ll just say how annoying it is when this good of a writer isn’t selling books by the bucketload.  The product description can’t do it justice, it’s beautifully written and the characters are really well done.    *Impressed face*

>Brief Check-In

>Check-in:  Hit my word count goal on STS.  Support the rest of the gang here.

Writing daily and hitting word count goals.  Thinking about my goals for next round and how I’m going to edit and work on first drafts at the same time.  Managing time will be important.

Finally a Kindle owner – anyone know if it’s worth getting some early reader books for the Kindle?

>For Love of Enid

>Check-in:  Word count goal met while working on STS.  Soak up the sanity here.

March is my giddy month so I’m trying not to post the blog equivalent of hysterical giggling.  Been working on STS, minding my own business when all of a sudden the MC unleashed a crapton of backstory – now I see why she’s been making so many dodgy choices.  Have I mentioned how much I love writing?

I haven’t been nabbing as much writing time as usual.  Mostly because bedtime is taking up all of the freaking night.  Right now, I can hear two kids having a show-down upstairs and the twins in the next room doing their best Charlie Bit Me impersonations.  I’m hiding in the dark so they won’t see me laughing.  It’s my fault for having five kids – babies are so easy, they just eat and sleep and poo and look cute all day long.  Then they start walking and all hell breaks loose.  If I decided to write Mammy Fiction, I’d have decades of material.  πŸ™‚

I was reading up about Enid Blyton earlier.  She was (despite motherhood) scarily prolific and popular and yet panned by critics as being a mediocre writer.  Her books are still being sold – not bad for a mediocre writer.

When I was a kid, I devoured her books – she made me think I could be a writer.  Roald Dahl taught me that writing could be dark and fun.  I know there’s a lot of old-fashioned terms and ideals that people like to censor but I definitely didn’t grow up racist or thinking that men should rule the world.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  Although I’m very firm on the cheating is awfully bad stance.  πŸ˜€

Blyton’s books were quite preachy though (which is kind of amusing considering her personal life), and I’m not sure why I loved them so much – maybe the lack of adults was the draw.  Maybe it was the fact I kept waiting for George to smack Julian.  Maybe it was the homeless circus boys who owned friendly monkeys, the circus girls who could ride wild horses or the ordinary girl taken in by the circus who could tame anything.  (I soooo wanted to join the circus).  Let’s not get started on the tuckboxes and the snobby posh girl at boarding school.  And the Faraway Tree?  Beat that if you can.  That kind of book is absolutely one of the first stories that drew me to writing.  Think of anything, create it, and there’s a ready-made world for you to jump into.  Anything can happen because you make it so.

>Dirty Little Hoarder

>I have a tendency to horde the shinies.  There’s a reason my OH bought me an ereader back when I was still a paper-snob, we had just moved house and he didn’t want to go through the trauma of moving all of those books ever again.  I’m inclined to hoard other things as well, eyeliner, nail varnish, shoes, handbags, tarot cards, things that tend to be harmed by destructive toddlers, of which I have a few.  πŸ™‚ 

I thought ebooks might sort out my hoarding inclinations but so far, they’ve just encouraged me.  They take up no physical space, are cheap, easy to access, convenient in every way and I don’t even feel like I’m accumulating them.  I’m scared to count how many I have but today I realised I might have gone too far. 

There’s a book I’ve wanted for about a year, it sounds like it was written for me and it’s always top of the list come book splurging time, but I’ve been skipping it because it’s too expensive for a writer I haven’t tried before.  Anyway, book went on sale, I scurried off to buy it . . . only to be told I already own it.   I checked out the non-Kindle ebooks I have and I’ve doubled up a good few times.  Seriously, Claire.

That’s it now.  No more hoarding.  No more buying until I start getting through the books I already own.  I need to start keeping a spreadsheet of the books I buy. It’s only taken a year but I think the one-click novelty might actually be wearing off.  Now I just have to start reading.  πŸ™‚

I haven’t been posting about books I’ve read because, well, I haven’t been reading much. Recently I enjoyed Have Gun, Will Play and Life from Scratch and I think around Christmas or New Year I quite liked Vestal Virgin and Devil’s Eye.  Most played song lately is from *surprise, surprise* Adele.

>Happy Read an Ebook Week

>Check-in:  Worked on outlines for Tempt and STS.  Added to a short story.  Visit the rest of the crew here.

When I say outline, I basically mean I’ve written what amounts to a synopsis.  Sometimes I’ll get an idea and expand upon it but usually, my outlines are pretty high-level and detail-sparse.  I have a rough outline for both Tempt and STS (aka the fae novel, couldn’t keep calling it that :/) but that’s the easy part and both are very bare.

I think I’ve settled into a POV in STS now.  I read the part I wrote last April and it was really bad.  Awful.  Embarrassing.  I would have ditched the whole idea except I then found the stuff I wrote last October and it was much better, plus I really like the voice.  I don’t remember writing it, I don’t remember where I was going with it but I like it so I’ll let it stay.  There’s a reason why I haven’t finished that particular story (aside from snowflaking it until it bored me to tears) but I’ll save that for another post.

I’m very excited about Tempt (Ava Delaney #3).  I already knew the major plotline for this one while I was still writing the first book, but the end of Taunt (#2) led me to an even bigger one.  I have a feeling the ending will differ greatly from the outline – I can’t wait!  As a sequel to Thirst (#1), Taunt was unexpected and a good chunk of it runs very differently to Thirst but Tempt kind of goes back to where Thirst was headed.  Originally, it was supposed to be a trilogy, (Thirst, Tempt and Taste) but when I first tried to write Tempt, I realised it wasn’t the next part of the story.  I’ll be taking a step back when this one is done, to figure out the exact order of the other books, there’s at least three more.  ‘Tis all very confusing.  πŸ˜€

Last night we celebrated my indieversary.  LOL.  I felt like it was a big enough deal to warrant a min-celebration.  And now it’s time for Read an Ebook Week.  Go.  Run.  There’s a lot of freebies and good deals on ebooks for a week so go find them!  I’m participating on Smashwords and so are many others.

>One Year Indieversary

>A year ago today, I plucked up the courage to press publish on Kindle – it didn’t take long for Little Girl to go live.  My first-born.  New parent jitters.  It was an experiment, I really didn’t think anything would come of it, but I wanted to try it anyway – I like to learn and I like staying off the main road.  People said indies won’t sell.  Horror won’t sell.  Short stories won’t sell.  Flash fiction definitely won’t sell, particularly the dark stuff.  I kept hearing things like only hiring a good editor and cover designer will convince people to take you seriously.  *Dun-dun-DUN*

I uploaded a piss poor cover.  There’s been four or five covers for that poor little book so far.  This one has stuck.  I had a terrible description, awful promotional skills and an entire lack of media awareness or writerly friends.  I didn’t even tell my family I was writing again – they know now but they aren’t going to read my work, never mind give me a dodgy review.  πŸ˜‰  I chose a pen name and for months sweated in case anyone knew it was me.  *Insert eye roll here* 

I sold something like five copies of the book in the first month.  Got into the forum thing, wasn’t comfortable with the extreme spamming/bitchiness/negativity, was and still am quite vocal about it, moved on to other places.  Discovered that there are people who are on the side of indies, despite the bad reputation, and got over how bummed I was about the bad atmospheres.  *Takes things to heart*

Took a good few months before I started to get daily sales – thanks to my first reviews.  Decided marketing wasn’t a good path for me.  Gave up on the book completely – I actually said those words to my OH.  Tried to fit in online.  Didn’t.  Focused on a novel.  Still haven’t finished said novel and probably never will.  *Cannot edit to save her life* 

Little Girl got lots of angry reviews.  I took advice from some people way smarter than me, copped on, changed the cover to the present one and came up with something resembling an actual product description.  Learned to dread review numbers increasing but also realised the bad reviews were probably encouraging sales.  Got down about the way people act online sometimes.  Remembered life’s too short for that.  Stepped away from forums/facebook/twitter.  *Iz dramatic*

Remembered that the whole point of the indie thing was to forge my own path.  Palm-slapped myself.  Figured out my own plan, the one that had been shouting at me while I was listening to everyone else’s plans.  Knuckled down.  Joined ROW80.  Was shocked by the positivity.  Was inspired too.  Heard from some other writers and readers who either said or did things that reassurred me not everyone in the world is a dick.  Again.  Got over myself.  Again.  Wrote my ass off.  Not again.  Realised it’s March.  Counted a year’s sales.  More than I expected.  More than half in the last two months.  *Is shocked*

Lesson:  Maybe there is no lesson.  I did nothing in the end.  I don’t come close to the good ‘uns in skill, talent, personality or sales.  And any good that came to me came because of the actions of others, not me so basically the point is I’m not a good example of anything?  Erm.  πŸ˜€  A year on, I still don’t have a novel out, I’m still working alone while the world sleeps and I still have no idea what I’m doing.  Actually, that’s not really true.  I know the plan, it just doesn’t make sense to anyone else.  πŸ˜‰

I’m going to keep doing nothing – aside from being myself, writing and trying to become the best writer I can be.  I’ve learned a lot, about the business, the craft, other people, myself.  I might be a little braver, hopefully I’ll work a little harder with a lot less ego, and for now I’ll just pat my wee book on the back and say, that’ll do book, that’ll do.

>Nowt On Da Telly

>You know when I’m blogging about pointless things that I’m not working.  πŸ™‚  I’m sick this week so am working the bare minimum and catching up on mindless entertainment.  I don’t regularly watch much television; if I like something, I’ll watch it online whenever I have time and overdose on an entire season’s worth.  I like reality shows that revolve around singing, dancing, cooking, weight-loss, all kinds of crap like that.  They’re pretty much never-ending which is great for me because I hate anything to end. 

I still mourn the loss of Buffy and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to handle the end of Supernatural and Big Love.  What the hell am I going to watch next?

By the way, how toe-curlingly delicious was the meta episode of Supernatural?  Loved it.  It was hilarious; for me, it’s up there with the silent, musical, and alternate reality episodes of Buffy. I’m so glad Supernatural didn’t end last season, purely for the meta episode. 

Big Love has gone a bit apeshit over the last two seasons or so but I will definitely miss it.  It’s such a cracking concept, I can’t imagine anything replacing it.  It’s fascinated me from the very first episode.  It wasn’t on telly over here at the time, my OH randomly bought me the season 1 box-set and I watched the next two seasons online that week.  *Is obsessive*

That’s the problem though, great series never get replaced by something better. 

Nothing replaced Buffy for me.  Buffy kicked off 14 years ago (um, wow) and there has never been another program that has come close it.  I did everything I could to see every new episode of Buffy every single week – even through the boring Riley bits.  I was a teenager, I grew up on Buffy, but I didn’t have control of the remote, put it that way.  When I was 16, I wasn’t even living at home so it was pretty hard to get that station on the screen at the right time.  I’m laughing now, but it was sooooo important to me then, there was a weird kind of desperation to make it in front of that screen at 8pm on a Thursday (for some seasons), to get my sweaty little hands on that remote control before my mother and her boyfriend could.  And that’s not even getting into the reruns.

I even watched Angel, just in case the Buffy characters showed up.  Which they did on occasion, which made me squeeful.  I quite liked Angel until the Connor/Cordy stuff, although I enjoyed the Doyle episodes the best.

I’m pretty loyal when I like something though; I stuck with Heroes til the incredibly shitty end.  I’m still astonished by how it went from something fun and exciting to dull and ridiculous.  Every episode I would watch and wait for it to get good again.

I watched Buffy, Charmed, anything even vaguely paranormal but they all ended.  Supernatural seemed like the meth option and I ended up loving it too.  I feel like there’s never going to be anything I’ll love again – suggestions please?  It’s the same with books.  Jane Eyre’s been my absolute favourite by a few miles for so long that I can’t imagine ever loving anything else as much.  That’s kind of dreary really, feeling like you’ll never find anything better.  I watched Buffy, and read Jane Eyre, in my teens, maybe it’s just being an adult that limits an obsessive love for something?  πŸ˜€

By the way, it’s my indieversary tomorrow so expect another boringly bloated blog posting from moi.  πŸ˜‰