Attacking Your Brain With A Q-Tip…

…through your ears.

It’s been…hard to write. I don’t know how it is for other people, but looking for work is like dating for me. I hate the process of dating, especially the first few dates, because…you don’t know. You don’t know what works, what doesn’t work, what thing that you think is normal and expected won’t end everything right there. And…you’re left hanging for hours, days, weeks…and wondering if you should try something else and what you did wrong…

And, job fairs are even worse. It’s like speed dating, but with more possibilities of things going wrong.

Yes, it’s been hard to get anything done that hasn’t been job-hunting or psychological/social survival.

At the very least, I’m probably up one Taco Bell meal in sales of Solist At Large, so that’s something. (And, waiting for the day that I can measure my sales in something a little more substantive than that.)

Hopefully happier news coming up. Fingers crossed.

Coming Up On December

Well, it’s 11/30 and I’m going to have to talk about December plans.

Got in a fight with my psychiatrist-I went back to my old medication choices and started falling asleep and staying asleep without issue. We’re going to talk about this on Wednesday and hopefully it won’t be another medication disaster like the last two or so weeks.

I’ll be registering for a certificate program at my local JC (Marketing, btw) next week, so I can finish in May and start really looking for a new job. I am tired of mostly entry-level jobs and I think that 2021 isn’t going to be good for those kinds of jobs, either. Such is the nature of things, and marketing not only helps me with employment, but getting more books sold.

I hope.

In general…everybody’s down, even more than usual. The news is depressing, there’s nothing new that doesn’t make me want to slit my wrists in sheer frustration, and it’s not going to be the most exciting or interesting of holiday seasons this year. And, after the “excitement” of the last year, I would prefer a quiet ending. So, if anybody is reading this is planning on releasing zombies or any of the other cliche ways to make things worse, please don’t. Do something new and original-like turning 1% of the COVID-19 survivors into futa catboys and catgirls. Something like that.

On the book and publishing front-

  • The Winter Solist-Coming into spitting distance of the first proper draft, where I assemble all of the completed chapters into a single document. I think I’ll have to extend and revise at least the first third, as a lot of the extra plot padding was cut from there. When I get the book up to length, I’ll be doing the final editing, working on the Daz3D cover, and starting to plot out the third novel, A Solist In Rome.
  • Unknown Erotic Urban Fantasy Novel-I do have a rough “series” title for this book. I’m currently calling it “The Ethical Succubus,” and there’s a definite isekai flavor to the story I’m telling. If this does get out into the wild, I’m seeing a four to five book series.
  • Other Projects-No changes on the other projects, but I hope to see SOME kind of progress after the first of the year.

Back to writing and hopefully getting some more work done.

Writer’s Status (Ain’t Dead Yet-I)

So, I “technically” lost my job in August (formally separated vs. furlough) and had to switch over to a different health care provider. Which, fortunately enough, was through Covered California and Kaiser. And, sadly because of the Crow Flu, I can’t see my psychologist in person. We had a few on-line video cat appointments, and she wanted to get me off my current medication for insomnia. I can’t blame her for wanting to change medications, the medication I use has issues-you can build up a tolerance for it, it does have some issues at higher levels (which I was close to, but not at yet), and she was hoping to move me to something not as rough.

However, I’ve had issues for years with being able to turn my brain “off” for sleep, and I also had issues with what I call “hiccup sleep”. “Hiccup sleep” is when you sleep, wake up for a bit, and go back to sleep again. Not the most helpful thing for getting a good night’s sleep. Oh, and sleep apnea, which means I have a C-Pap. The medication I was using did well for what it did, and I had the rare insomnia run-slight more over the last few months. So, I’m in the process of switching over from medication A to medication B, and doing well on half-and-half. Last Friday was when I completely cut out medication A (old) and was entirely on medication B (new).

Worst insomnia I had for years. Pretty much small skips of sleep, oversensitive for the C-Pap machine, etc, etc, etc. So, I do some research and discover that getting off medication A takes a few days to clear out my system. Okay, let the psychiatrist know and take a slightly higher dose of medication B for Saturday night’s sleep.

About as bad as Friday night. I think I got some more sleep, but not that much more.

Sunday night? Upped the dose, and keep trying. Didn’t sleep well at all.

Monday night? I actually got a night’s sleep. Yay!

Last night? Took me nearly four hours to get to sleep and got about four hours of sleep.

Tonight? We’ll see. I’m hopeful…

Anyways, about my writing progress-

  • The Winter Solist-At about 2/5th to 1/2th of the first draft, and hope to get close to a finished first draft before the end of the year. I’m happy with what I’ve got so far, and had to do several “for plot” revisions.
  • Unknown Erotic Urban Fantasy Novel-No title yet, not even sure if I’ll be publishing it or just writing it to clear my palate, but I’m writing it anyways. Worse case, it’ll give me an excuse to figure out how to write erotic scenes better.
  • Other Projects-Nothing to share just yet, fingers crossed for one project idea that I will be working on after the first of the year. No details yet.

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.

Damn.

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.

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.

Yay.

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.

Going To Get Somewhere, I Hope

There’s probably some author that will tell me “you’ve got it easy. You’ve got stable Internet, a roof over your head, food on your table, and no dangerous issues coming up. Yes, the smoke from the fire sucks, but you have air conditioning and unless they shut the power grid off that powers the nearby Kaiser, you’re good.”

Got that. Agree with you, even.

My problem? I’m stuck in a house with three adults (this Labor Day, when I was hoping to be at DragonCon again), and we’re…civil with each other. Yea, that’s a good word…civil. We’re all under stress, nobody is happy, I’m currently unemployed, all that fun stuff. But, my situation could be worse and I am grateful for what I have.

Unfortunately, my work space is exactly ninety degrees to starboard of the main house TV and my parents (who I live with) are CNN junkies.

Seriously, CNN has their programming built to work as a Skinner Box. It’s all breathless, provoking, demanding production values that make you want to watch to see what particular scandals and disasters and chaos are happening and you can’t help but to watch and see what is going on. And, the language used is breathless and reinforces the precious narrative that they’re trying to tell.

And, you can almost tell they have it timed down to the second on their stories to give people watching it an incomplete cortisol hit. It’s almost like getting half a hit of cocaine-you get part of the joy and you want that rest of it, so you’re there watching…

It doesn’t help when you’re trying to write a fight scene and you’re hearing “ripped from the headlines” blurbs that drag you out of your immersion. Seriously, you’re writing up the best way for girls at a high school cafeteria table to snark about how one of them is positive that your character isn’t a murderer-

BAD ORANGE MAN CONSPIRING WITH RUSSIAN MAGICAL INTERNET HACKERS TO STEAL ELECTION!!!

(I swear, I almost hear that one time.)

I can’t ask them to change the channel, it’s their house, their TV, and they’ll suggest that I go to my room and work there. I have a laptop, I can work there! (Please ignore the sarcasm, I know they mean this in the kindest of ways.)

I need a desk. I need a real keyboard, a real monitor, and a real mouse. Laptops never seemed to be the right thing for serious work for me. I need to sit at a chair and work.

Get to my desk early? Parents wake up at 5-6 AM to get my sister off to work.

Work in the evenings? My writing brain pretty much starts going bad after 9 PM. Which frustrates me because I used to be able to bang out stories until 1-2 AM not that long ago.

Stuff is getting done, this really is more just of a “frustration venting” posting. It’s not getting done as fast as I would like. But, it is getting done.