Book Writing Information For This Week

After celebrating my birthday this week and managing to get…sixty to sixty-five percent of what I wanted from this year, I got back to work on The Winter Solist. Right now, I’m de-cluttering the plot of the book in a way that Marie Kondo would be very proud of. Before I had over-done the plot in my last book, I was up to 16 chapters and hit several stuck points. I think by the time I’m done, I’ll be down to twelve or so chapters, unstuck where the plot wasn’t working, and sadly going to have to get rid of one little side plot that I was really enjoying working on.

But! I did save original copies of everything I cut, so I can maybe use it in the future. Probably not, but I’m still hopeful.

The de-cluttering also revealed something that I hoped I wasn’t going to have to do. Since I’m going to have to stretch out the book some more, the original eight book plan (covering a semester of Adelade’s life in high school) is probably going to have to be eleven or twelve to finally tell the whole story.


The good news is that I know what the title of book #3 in the series is. The title is A Solist In Rome, and we get to see Adelaide have fun with some of her peers and find out how much deeper the rabbit hole goes. A Solist In Rome is currently in the plotting phase right now, and I do know that it’ll be one of those odd hybrid first/third person books like The Apocalypse Codex, since we’re going to have to see the story from a number of other perspectives. And, it’s set in Rome and the Vatican City, so I have to do a lot of research on those as well. Mostly for the final dance number (i.e. final big confrontation of the book), have to place it properly.

Well, back to the writing work. Wish me luck.

Every Time You Think…

We just had another fire outbreak nearby. It’s about one to four zones on the East side of the freeway, depending upon how you measure it. Other than orange sunlight, ash, and embers, we’re not in any trouble.


There’s a contingency for this. We do have a plan for this, and lots of practice the last few months. Bags are packed, the “get out NOW” stuff is loaded, we’re mostly logging stuff in case of having to claim it for fire insurance loss. Got a place to stay with family friends. But (and this is a BIG but), that means that I’m not going to be able to get any writing done today.

Grr. Arg. Grr.

So, Where Have I Been?

Where I wish I was? Nice hotel room, lovely ladies of consenting age, and peace and quiet for a weekend, to celebrate my upcoming birthday.

Where I’ve actually been? At home, writing. Getting through the plot-detangling for The Winter Solist and starting to write around the holes I made. Dealing with the switch over of medical plans from my employer to one I’m paying for myself. And, general “avoiding CNN when the cheap gay Chinese Anderson Cooper gynoid is on,” because putting an axe through the TV will get me talked about and require me to pay for a new TV.

And, sales numbers, very important. I’ve looked at how well Solist At Large has been selling and I could buy…three, maybe four of my sister’s over-processed diabetes-inducing Starbucks coffee concocitions with the profits. So…yay?

Back to work.

Yep, I Did Too Much

Just to remind everyone, Solist At Large is currently out for sale.

And, looking back from the perspective of “I can’t really do anything about it,” it’s now hitting me that I tried to squeeze two books-maybe three-into one. I have plot points that I will not use immediately, story bits that I could have moved into The Winter Solist (and now, will probably have to move into the untitled third book), and in general the book is too dense. Future researchers of my work will probably go, “he tried, but this was his first book and he overdid it.”

Live and learn, I suppose.

The great thing about this? I’m going through The Winter Solist, with an eye for getting rid of one or two major plot threads. The great thing about this? It’s going to allow me to really trim down some scenes that weren’t working well. There’s a major plot point in there that I couldn’t figure out how to make work-the threads were there, but I couldn’t connect them.

Trimming them let me make the plot work even better. I admit, it has also caused me to do two things-

  1. I’m probably going to have to add at least two or three more books to the series.
  2. A plot hook that I was going to move through the third book is going to be the whole reason for the third book.

Yes, very vague. I’m allowed to be vague, I’m a writer.

Back to the salt mines.

I Am Now A Published Author

I even have my own book on Amazon and everything!

Solist At Large is currently up and running on Amazon, I’ve gotten it written and finished and everything else done, and now I have to write the next book in the series, The Winter Solist.

This is going to be a good time all around, even with the crazy madness of the last few weeks and the next few months. But, I am doing my little happy dance of joy-I’m published!

The Point Of No Return

There’s a point of no return on some projects. Where you have hit the button and you’re committed.

I just hit that point today, for KDP. Solist At Large is in the KDP publication pipeline, so sometime by Monday or Tuesday, I’ll be wondering if I’ve done something right or wrong or something to that effect.

Fingers and toes crossed, ladies and gentlemen.

And now…writing up The Winter Solist.

Scary, Spooky Quiet

One of my biggest issues is my work environment for writing. It’s not so much bad as irritating and I know this irritation makes me not happy and it’s harder to write. The big thing is ambient noise-namely The Parents habit of watching CNN, daytime talk shows, and similar things at “ear bleed” levels.

So, my birthday was coming up, and I got myself a birthday present. Did my research and due diligence and found that the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones were some of the best at canceling noise and making things quiet. Ordered them by Amazon, just arrived today, and I had to download the drivers (because, of course, there are drivers) and I’m trying it out now.

And…it’s going to take some getting used to. Because of the software driver update, it’s only running off of my iPhone (an iPhone 6, BTW. If you want to contribute to getting me a phone made this decade, I do accept contributions, ask for PayPal link…). And, it is scary, spooky quiet. The loudest noise I can hear with these things I can hear besides the music are my fingers typing. That’s probably bone conduction through my fingertips-that’s how good the sound cancellation is. I have to clap rather hard-or make some other kind of noise-to hear anything outside of the headphones.

The headphones have a “3D sound” function, but that requires you to join a streaming service, and no thank you.

Opinion so far? Going to have to get used to this. I’ve never been a fan of headphones like this (I wear an AfterShokz Air when I go out rucking in the mornings or commuting when I was going to work, that kind of thing), but for work at home? Yes, absolutely. Especially if I won’t be distracted by the TV in the process.

Getting Closer To The Gate

Well, I downloaded the KDP Create tool, and starting to play with it tonight. I’ll work on it more tomorrow, but I’ve gotten most of the organization of the book done and I’m going to work on it more during the next few days. Still on track-fingers crossed-for a Saturday upload and a Monday/Tuesday release.

And then…

And then, I think about things for a moment, do not look at all at my reviews until October (as that might drive me insane), and get started on The Winter Solist. Again.

I thought I was going to have to junk quite a bit of the book-and I am. So far, it’s mostly what I’ll be saving from the remains when I move from Google Docs to Scribner. And, that is not as much as I think…

Still, first book and everything.


Maybe I Should Take Up Pickle Farming…

So, I’m in the process of formatting Solist At Large for KDP (having a serious debate about Kindle Unlimited vs. straight KDP, I’ll have to look at if I can do both or something), and I’m looking for problems as I go. Because, of course I can. I was saying earlier “I think I’ve gotten most of the big bugs out of this novel.” And, this is pretty much my version of Storm Front-a freshman novel that I’m hoping will let me work out all the kinks in my stories, survive the crushing blows of Amazon Review comments, and give me a touch of additional income. Enough to make it easier for me to write The Winter Solist and go through the revision process.

(If I sound down on myself, maybe 70/30-it’s a mixture of “I want a successful novel, but I’m afraid of being a one-hit wonder/series that really doesn’t go anywhere” and “I don’t want to have this novel be a version of Empress Theresa, that exists as a massive internet meme to be lampooned.”)

I get through about a third of the formatting process and I catch some minor bugs, a few things that could be phrased better, that kind of thing. And then, I catch that a “B-” plot that I pulled out of most of the novel (it’s been moved “off screen” for some purposes and later in the story)…has a major segment still in the book. Despite using search to try and find these things.

It’s a freshman novel, I know. First time I’ve gotten this far with something other than fan fiction. And as long as you’re not involved in the shipping wars, most people will be kind about your mistakes in fan fiction. But, this matters to me more, I don’t know why. Maybe the money, maybe the risk, maybe just the sheer crazy of it.

I’m going to use my first full amount of money from this books for a Scrivener purchase, because I think I’ll need that for the next novel. I’ll keep working on it (and, I might have to redo the entire first few chapters, as it is not working how I’d want it to come out), but if that helps…

Still on schedule for finishing on Saturday. Fingers crossed.

Coming Close To Publication

I’m hoping that I’m not going to jinx myself by saying this, but…

I did one final look-through for Solist At Large and if there are any soft spots in the novel, a freshman author like me can’t find them. This means I just need to do the last little bits, assemble and prepare for KDP, and put it up for sale. I’m aiming to upload it on Amazon on 9/20, so I can make it past the self-imposed deadline of having published something before my birthday.

I have to thank Sarah Hoyt for creating the cover-

And, of course, the title blurb-

Adelaide Taylor is the newest Solist to have gained her powers. A magical warrior of the ancient and lost Dawn Empire, she moved from California to New Jersey in secret. Enrolled in a very Catholic high school, she has to find her Companions-five teenagers that will help her to defeat magical threats to the human race. But, in the process of becoming a Solist, Adelaide has to hide the truth of her past from everyone else. Including the five people that she needs to trust the most.

And, there are secrets that Adelaide still has to discover about herself and the world she has become a part of…

And, who she truly is.

So far, so good…and fingers massively crossed…

Date on the calendar set for next Saturday for me to finish everything up.

And, after this? I’m probably going to junk and redo a good quarter to third of The Winter Solist, the sequel (the plot outline isn’t translating into story the way I wanted it). Learn how to use Daz3D to make the next cover. And…survive the harsh indignities of Amazon reviewers.