• Art,  Writing

    NaNoWriMo: Slooooow

    I’ve been struggling to get back into writing, as it has been such a very long time since I’ve written anything. I’ve gone a month or so without doing a blog post, for gods’ sake. As of today, I’m under my target wordcount, but my words-per-day to finish on time is still under 2k/day, so that is entirely doable. So far, it’s been a bit painful and each target has been met after many agonised hours spent sitting at my desk, staring at Scrivener and asking why this all wasn’t more fun.

    What I don’t want to do is hit that 50k and trigger that “Yaay, I’ve won!” feeling, because it is very hard to continue past that point. I’m trying to think of this as a habit that I am setting which will continue month in and month out.

    I am glad that I’ve arranged a small hiatus from cover work, because if I had any pressure, much less the inhuman schedule that I had last year, I would have used it as an excuse to punk out. I know I would have.

    That said, this afternoon I did some personal artwork, and it felt fantastic. Here is “Crow Girl” – click for info about stock credit.



  • Writing

    NaNoWriMo Jitters

    NaNoWriMo starts in (eeeeek!!!) two days. Am I ready? Not in the slightest, but I’m going to do it anyway. I am almost finished with covers, and the two that I am still finishing came in after I’d said that I was taking a break, so I was almost successful in clearing the time. However, I am in a much better space than I was last year, when I had too much work and stress and had a NaNo meltdown.

    I don’t have as complete an outline as I had the first time. There are a lot of plot holes and areas where I haven’t the slightest idea how I need to get from Point A to Point B…and that does worry me a bit. Being new to this writing thing, I attributed the relatively pain-free experience the first time due to the fact that I had a full chapter-by-chapter and scene-by-scene outline to work from. This time, I don’t. What I do have is:

    1. A general idea of what is going to happen – all main and secondary characters and their arcs from start to beginning to end. I have an environment that I am really excited about. I know at least some of the fairy tales that I will be twisting this time: The Goose Girl, The Red Shoes, and even a bit of Hellraiser (since when do really iconic fairy tales have to be old?). It wasn’t a coincidence that the family name is Lemarchand, by the way. ;)

    2. I have my place ready. We have the loan of a laptop from some very good friends and I bought a lap desk so I can work on the couch if I want, although when it arrived today I realised that the legs are much too tall. Scrivener has been installed and my project outline transferred over.

    3. I will have my energy drinks and breakfast food ready. Again, that was something that worked for me the first time – I am most creative in the early mornings, so I would get up by 6:00, have a proper breakfast with some protein, and then get to work. I have this OCD thing about drinking coffee that means I have to brush my teeth after drinking any (hey, it stains your teeth!) so I will live on Red Bull instead.

    4. I’ve been reading. Yeah, I always read, that’s what I do…but I’ve been reading writing books, good steampunk and middle grade novels, as well as some that I read for pure writing style (Anne Hoffman and Moonwise by Greer Ilene Gilman). Every year I re-read On Writing by Stephen King, which is kind of a ritual for me.

    Fingers crossed…

  • General

    A Grimm Legacy by Janna Jennings

    The NaNoWriMo first time author contest for 2012 was tough. Both manuscripts were excellent reads, and boy are you in for a treat when both are finally published! In the end, though, we could only choose one, which was a tough job when both were so very good and both manuscripts were so different from each other. Seth Swanson wrote a gripping, immersive tale in Impervious, while Janna Jenning’s A Grimm Legacy was pure twisted fairytale fun. In the end we chose the latter because it was simply closer to being a finished project. Both manuscripts, however, had me eagerly looking forward to picking them up in the evenings and finding out what happened next;  chosing just one was quite difficult.

    Next steps for both books:

    • Each will receive detailed beta reader feedback
    • Each will receive a cover
    • Each will receive proofreading after the final draft

    A Grimm Legacy will receive a professional edit by Bram Stoker award-winning editor Judi Rohrig and a book tour put together by Kellie Sheridan. (I will be featuring both books here.)

    Congratulations to both authors. Watch for these two…they are going to produce some kickass books.

  • General

    NaNoWriMo Contest: Seth and Janna

    In the end it was difficult to choose a winner in our NaNoWriMo first time authors giveaway. All of the entries were amazing – I could see them all as published novels, and wished that I could read each of them in their entirety. With five of us voting, we had two votes each for A Grimm Legacy by Janna Jennings and Impervious by Seth Swanson, as well as one vote for one of the other writers with a great story…so difficult to choose! We called it a split decision between the main two and decided that we would read fulls from both and choose a final winner from there. Both Janna and Seth will receive covers and feedback on their stories.

    And what stories they are. Two very different books, but both great reads. I was really looking forward to the moments that I could steal to curl up with them and if I’d actually bought them I would have considered it money well spent. You are all in for a treat!

  • General

    Just for WriMos: First Time Author Giveaway


    Following the inital post regarding this giveaway, I would like to update everyone on our contest for first-time authors and fellow crazy people who participate in NaNoWriMo. This has been posted on the community forums.

    Self-publishing can be confusing for first-time authors, many of whom don’t have the money to hire professional help or the knowledge or skill to do it themselves. It can also be difficult to find good beta readers – we all know how useful the “Omigod, most amazing book ever!” feedback is from friends and relatives. :) A bad cover can help to sink a book, as can a lack of proofing and editing. What we want to do is give something back to the NaNo community by offering our help and services to one person. If there is enough response to this, it may become a yearly contest.

    The winner will receive:

    • Beta reading and feedback
    • Proofreading and copyediting
    • A professional book cover
    • A Createspace print template
    • Interior formatting
    • Facebook and Twitter graphics to tie in with the cover
    • Marketing/PR advice
    • Blog tour


    • NaNoWriMo “winners” of the most recent National Novel Writing Month.
    • First time authors (first time to actually publish a novel).
    • Any fiction novel up to 150k words. (Less is better – I had second thoughts about this one, but it’s already on the forums and I can’t edit it.)
    • Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Horror. (These can be YA or adult.)
    • Prospective authors must submit a synopsis and the first chapter of their project for consideration. If the chapter is short, submit two.
    • Post on this thread if you are interested in participating and we will contact you. (The NaNoWriMo site will show validation of participation for the most recent year and total words for your project.)
    • The judges will chose a winner based on the submitted material.
    • Winners will be chosen on April 8th, 2013.

    Professional Services

    Huge thanks to the following people who have volunteered their time, advice and services. (If you are interested in helping out, let me know.)

    Judi Rohrig: Editing
    Honored with the 2004 Bram Stoker for Excellence in Non-fiction for editing and publishing HELLNOTES, a weekly International electronic and print newsletter that served the horror communities, I also edited an anthology called STONES and served as editor, project coordinator, and marketing director for Lone Wolf Publications. My stories have appeared in MASQUES V, Cemetery Dance magazine, and several anthologies published by Daw Books. My story, “Tunes from Limbo, But I Digress,” will be included in the SHADOWS OF THE NEW SUN, a Gene Wolfe tribute anthology, to be released by Tor in August 2013.

    Rabia Gale: Beta reading and feedback
    Rabia is the very talented author of Rainbird and Mourning Cloak, as well as several short story collections. “I break fairy tales and fuse fantasy and science fiction. I love to write about flawed heroes who never give up, transformation and redemption, and things from outer space.”

    Andrew Toynbee: Beta reading and feedback, proofreading and edit
    Andrew is the author of A Construct of Angels. “A Construct of Angels pulls you in from the first page. I couldn’t put this book down…Lots of humor tossed in with a fast paced plot that has you flipping the pages to find out what comes next. The highest of compliments I can give an author is: The words disappeared and the scene played out in my mind. A Construct of Angels did just that for me.”

    Kellie Sheridan: Marketing and PR advice, blog tour
    Kellie is the author of Mortality and a marketing professional in the publishing field. “I am the author of Mortality, a YA zombie story set in a possible near future when the second wave of the zombie plague has destroyed our world. I’ve become a bit of a zombie addict in the past year and wanted to put a new YA spin on a genre that has been going strong for decades. Mortality will be available in both digital and print formats in Spring of 2013.”

    Ravven: Beta reading, book cover art, POD template
    I am a professional artist specialising in book cover art. (Hit the jump for examples of covers that I have done.)

    Qwerty & Quill
    Phil Worthington is a professional copywriter, award-winning Head of Creative, printer and book designer who has offered ebook and POD interior book formatting services.

    What are you waiting for? Sign up now!

  • Art,  Writing

    Just For WriMos – 2013 Cover Giveaway

    As part of my New Year resolutions I’ve decided to do a cover giveaway in support of indie authors: specifically, all of the quirky and wonderful writers who make up the great NaNoWrimo community. I truly believe in supporting self-published authors and it is one of the reasons why I’ve kept my rates where they are. I’m also one of those people with dreams of finally publishing a book which is very dear to my heart, and I know from personal experience how difficult that can be to do successfully without a network of beta readers, editors and book blogger friends.

    What I would like to do is offer the things that I personally can do, such as a professional book cover and layout services (ebook formatting, Createspace interior print layout and POD cover template) in hope that I can gather together a few like-minded people also involved in NaNoWriMo who in support of the community would offer other services such as:

    • Beta reading
    • Proofreading
    • Editing
    • Facebook, Twitter and (some) site graphics to tie in with the cover. (I’ll probably do this as part of the cover work.)
    • A post after publication on your book review blog. This could be an actual review, a cover reveal, an interview, a spotlight featuring information about the book, etc.
    • PR services and advice.
    • A book trailer.
    • Anything else that would help a first-time author that I haven’t thought of or covered here.

    What do you think? I’d love to make this a yearly contest. I see it as being open to:

    • NaNoWriMo “winners” of the most recent National Novel Writing Month.
    • First time authors (first time to actually publish a novel).
    • Any fiction genre up to a certain word length. (Sorry, no one wants to work on a 600-page doorstop.)
    • Prospective authors would have to submit a synopsis and, say, the first three chapters. Best candidate chosen will be based on submitted material.

    Can you contribute some time and professional services to this project? Comment here or email me and we can work out what we can offer. As for WriMos interested in entering, once we have the details worked out, I’ll post on the NaNoWriMo forums. I’ll also be bothering some of you personally in email…be warned. :)

  • Writing

    NaNoWriMo: Not This Year

    I won’t finish NaNoWriMo this year, despite having been very excited about it and determined to succeed. Too much work and too much lost time with my headaches – I think I must have been sick for approximately a quarter of the entire month. Instead, December and January will be my time, unofficial but a least I’ll be doing it. I just need to finish off some of the current backlog of work that piled up while I was sick, and I’ll be ready. :)

    Congratulations and best of luck to everyone who participated this year. The NaNoWriMo community is the best.

  • Writing

    NaNoWriMo Day…whatever it is. I’m lost.

    NaNoWriMo has not been going well. I’ve been trying to write in the mornings and save cover work for afternoons/evenings, but I’m so tired and stressed. I’m so behind. It’s not at the point where I have no hope of making it, but I’m beginning to wonder if I want to salvage it. Not that I would stop working on this project, of course. It’s consuming me. But trying to fit that 2k per day into my schedule has been really, really tough. It would be nice to fall back to a nice, relaxed “minimum 500 words a day no matter what” schedule and not stress over it. I’ll see how it goes…giving up on a challenge is something that really bothers me. But lordy am I tired.


  • Writing

    NaNoWriMo, Day Five

    I finally made my word count. It took me from this morning when I got up until just before 4:00pm, but I did it. I could have ploughed a field, or raised a barn, with less effort. Oh, I did a lot of other things as well (which probably contributed to the problem): I checked Twitter, I pissed my entire family off on Facebook, I read a bunch of stuff that had nothing to do with what I was writing about.

    I think I finally have the bones of the story now, though.Yep, all of this has actually been prep work, and most of it will be replaced.

    I hope that things will start to flow a lot easier now. There were times last year when I actually enjoyed the whole process, when it just flowed and I had 5k days. There were hard days as well, when the words wouldn’t come, but I managed to “finish” (ha, ha) several days before the end of November. My experience this year, since I didn’t have my outline ready, was much different.

    Here’s to hoping the Word Fairy will stop by soon!


  • Writing

    Second Day of NaNoWriMo: Pfffhht

    Today wasn’t a very productive day. I did a bit of writing in the morning, and then went to work on a cover which refused to come together. Sometimes that happens – I think everyone has days where everything you touch turns to shit (rather like King Midas’ much less popular brother). I worked on it all day long, and then decided to start fresh tomorrow morning.

    Yep, that’s freelancing, my dears. You work nights and weekends for a fraction of what you used to make, AND IT IS ALL WORTH IT.

    Tonight after dinner I opened Scrivener, looked at it, and shut it again. I’m going to head downstairs to a large glass of cold vodka and my copy of Caliban’s War, which I am enjoying the absolute hell out of. Highly recommended!