Getting Back Into My Character Headspace

So, I had this thought…not quite a revelation, but definitely a “I’m curious!” set of thoughts.

I’m going to let people ask questions of my cast and crew from The Last Solist and if I can answer the questions, I will. Preferably in character, but I will try to answer them.

Why? I am needing to find some additional headspace for these characters, and if I don’t get my thoughts into place, I’m going to feel so very lost soon.

Comment here, and I’ll try to answer as I get a chance.

Thank you!

“So, Other Than That…

“…how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” a common joke punchline goes.

Well, the play hasn’t been going rather well the last few weeks. Short version-things have suddenly gotten really, really weird on me.

Health Issues-My ADHD might just be simple anxiety and the medication I’ve been taking has been masking that by a combination of hard-core focus on things that are easy to make sense of and a massive amount of bull-headed thinking in other places. But, because I had a high blood pressure scare, I’m trimming back the ADHD medication and going on a nice beta blocker that has a secondary anti-anxiety effect and…hey, I’m doing better! At least I’m not this huge ball of homicidal nerves and I’m doing better in some things.

Exercise-Since I don’t want to be on worse blood pressure medications and take the few things that give me joy in my life away (good food and drink), I’ve been exercising more. And, body-weight exercise sucks when you’re trying to blow the weight off and get back into shape. Once you’re in shape, you’re good, but I tend to respond better to getting in shape with weight work and such. Once I get there, body weight work will help clear up what remains, but until. then…

School-Actually, this is going okay to good. One of my teachers is still driving me nuts. He has a tendency to roam off on tangents and go for “new hotness” in his examples. Often with a major political slant, and I can’t complain about this because it is (CURRENT YEAR) and the teacher is the department head. So, head down and keeping busy with my assignments and everything current.

Social-Well, the outbreak of social media desire has gone down. Mostly because the usual ways I use social media (Twitter, Reddit, Discord, and even IRC) has confirmed that most people these days are making me want them to get off my f(YAY!)king lawn. But…I want to be with people, I miss people. I miss different people, and I actually would like to be with girls. That like me. That are single. And, I don’t have to wonder if they’re going to make me feel stupid at some point.

And, this leads to where you’ve all been waiting-

Writing-So far? The Winter Solist has hit a road-block that I might have to go back and revise…again to get through. It’s not a “oh, you didn’t plan it out” thing, it’s more of a “I thought this was a good path to take, didn’t work, so back to the drawing board.” Other stories are currently in a slight holding pattern, but hopefully once get past this particular writer’s block, I’ll be able to work on them more. I’m still aiming for a late September release, and hopefully that will be successful.

And, that’s the news, mostly.

The Guilt Is Real

Or, “why the author hasn’t been saying anything for a while.”

Occasionally, I have an outbreak of social media. Spending far too much time on various places (if you know me, you know where, if not…), and often to the detriment of my writing. It’s usually when things get bad in terms of lack of social contact and being unable to really interact with people. My need for human interaction tends to work in bursts-I can be alone or not have a lot of people around or I need to be around for the longest periods of time, but when I need people, I REALLY need people. And, physical contact, lots of that, and different kinds of people and different interactions.

And, on that?

(Laughs in COVID-19.)

My last convention was a gaming one about a year ago, just as there was this weird cold-like disease going around Wuhan, China. No worries, but something to keep an eye on, just in case.

That “just in case” became losing my job, going on unemployment, probably losing about twenty pounds I definitely should have, publishing my first novel, getting better health care through Covered California, completely sick of being stuck with who I am and where I am.

I’ve missed about six or eight conventions that I wanted to go to.

I haven’t seen most of my friends in a year, and Zoom chat doesn’t count.

I have more savings that I expected, and I’m slowly working through the “need to do when I can” list.

But, I miss conventions.

I miss my friends.

I miss physical affection (and, yes, sex-but that’s in the queue after affection).

And, I miss the world at least pretending to be sane.

I know that I’ve managed to get some of the storm-clouds of desire out of the way, and I’ll be writing again-school permitting.

Fingers crossed.

The End Of The Month

It’s coming up far sooner than I expected-and, well…

Classes have been interesting, but I get this terrible feeling that I should be teaching two of my classes. And, online class work, especially when you HAVE to leave your camera and mike on or the teacher complains, is horrible. I don’t want to hear people’s various things going on in their world, see them even less, and I don’t want them to have to deal with the same with me.

The things we do for our white-collar employment union card…

On writing-

  • The Winter Solist-Finally gotten around the writing problem, getting to the next writing problem, but I’m happy with where it’s going. With some luck, I’ll be able to add the nessisary “B” plot to tie into A Solist In Rome, which I need to get done.
  • The Ethical Succubus-Going to probably keep this for the erotic/urban fantasy novel series title. First novel is probably going to be A Ethical Succubus, and balancing out the erotic, comedy, slice-of-life, and horror in the right proportions.
  • Other Writing Projects-The isekei/light novel concept is still somewhere in “how can I make this work” pile. I really want to do it, but there’s some practicality issues involved. The “have to look at this” hopper has been still dealing with things.

I’m considering this idea of a weekly column where I have a momentary gushing about writers that I like and the things they do right and wrong. Mostly because I’m trying to get those lovely, wonderful, SEO scores up on Google and such, which might mean more sales of my books. (That, and the terrible fear that some of the authors might respond…which wouldn’t be bad, mind you.) Tentative title of this is “Author on Authors.”

Otherwise, the weather is now actually nice (cool but not cold, with rain on all the right occasions), and just trying to make it through one act of madness at a time. Chin up, happy thoughts.

Half Way Through The Month…

…and, far, far too little to show for it. Real life events have been getting in the way too much. I didn’t go and I won’t be going to any of the large events happening around me, but there have been repercussions. And, it’s made it harder to write stuff because the world intrudes when I need to be somewhere else. It doesn’t help with my stress levels, either.

Current projects, in no particular order-

  • The Winter Solist-Having issues with the jump to the next part of the plot, but I’m still writing and still aiming to have this done in a reasonable time frame. I’m going to have to add some more stuff to tie into A Solist In Rome, but I think I can get it in there, no issues.
  • Unknown Erotic Urban Fantasy Novel-So far, I’m fleshing out the “A” and “B” plots and writing more character stuff. Title is still in the air, the series title is probably going to be The Ethical Succubus.
  • Other Writing Projects-The isekei/light novel concept is somewhere in “how can I make this work.” There’s a few other ideas in the “have to look at this” hopper, but I’m not sure I’ll get to them any time soon.

And, yes, the events of the last half month have made me think that 2021 is going to be telling 2020 “hold my beer and watch this!”, and it’ll be in the sort of ways that none of us are going to like. The only things I can do is hunker down, keep building up reserves for if things go bad, and get my school work done when I start school in about two weeks. Otherwise…just, fingers crossed and hoping that everyone will start to get better and calm down. Because, as much as life is a temporary state, what has happened for the last ten months cannot be how we live now. It will drive us to madness, and nobody wants that kind of crazy on their conscience.

I think.

On Writing And Other Nonsense

The weirdness of weather around here had made it a bit hard to write, but I remain busy in my writing fugues. I’ve gotten up to about Chapter 16 of The Winter Solist, and I’m nearing a half-way point. The two big B-plots are about to collide into the A-plot, and that’s when we get close to the end.

Unknown Erotic Urban Fantasy Novel is currently in the “plotting” phase. This is going to be a much more tightly plotted book that Solist At Large was, and at the very least it’s looking to be a five to six book series. I’m still enjoying the idea of the series (and first book title) being The Ethical Succubus, which will make for very interesting reading.

I have another writing project that is going to be coming up soon. What I’m hoping to do is that I will combine the project with my Business Certificate program at Santa Rosa JC. Use this project (it’s going to be a comic book series) as part of my course-work, and eventually put up a GoFundMe to produce the first “issue” of the comic, then go to IndieGoGo and release the first “trade paperback” issue, similar to what Timothy Lin is doing for the Kamen America series.

(Why the separate fundraising? Simple-comic books are not cheap at the starting level. For my “first issue” (which goes up as a PDF for the IndieGoGo campaign to show what we’re doing), I’m going to have to shell out about $9000-because I’ll need an artist and color person and at least one cover. The actual “six issue” trade paperback will be about $52,000 before I even get to printing (remember, contract artists and having to pay up front). Printing a full run of about 1000 is going to be in the $8000 range-and if I can get more people to buy the book, the cost goes down for me.

(I’m aiming to at least cover my costs and make at least a 25% profit during the fundraising, which is probably in the $75,000 range. I figure costs for the next issue will be lower, because I’ll have a product to show that I’m able to produce.)

Anyways, back to work and to the salt mines.

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.

Vignette-The Lady And The Axe

Wendy panted and sweat stuck the back of her cotton nightgown to her heaving chest, even in Lord Worthington’s cold “study” under the main house. She could smell the rapidly-increasing rot as the re-vitrification chemicals came out of Lord Worthington, the smell of mustard and unripe apples filling her nose over the rotten-pork smell. Some of chemicals has touched her skin, and there wasn’t any strength in her to brush them off. If anything, she was leaning up against the axe handle like a crutch, her lungs clawing for breath.

“Congratulations, Lady Worthington,” an all-too-familiar woman’s voice said behind her, raw fury and adrenaline causing Wendy to drag up the axe and spin around, green eyes blazing with rage. From the doorway to the study, Rose waited in her immaculate black governess outfit, not a single blonde hair or hemline out of place. She stepped across the blood-and-chemical soaked carpet without pause and with the same careful steps as she taught the “blossoms” under her care to walk and dance. Her porcelain white face flushed with some unknown emotion as she said, “I suspected that the day I met you, you could do this-and he lowered his guard for that one moment.”

Wendy’s voice came out in huge heaves, as she tried not to throw up again. “Why…why didn’t you do this?”

“Because when I was of age, about the age you are now, Lady Worthington, he made sure to put cogs deep into my brain to prevent this. I could not disobey him, nor lie to him, nor think of raising my hand to him even in defense. And, Lady Worthington, I wanted revenge. You saw what he did to that woman from the village that got lost on his lands, what happened to my mother. Merely a notation in his notes, a ‘daughter’ to serve as his assistant. I wanted revenge for decades, ever since the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty. I could consider it, dream of it, lust for it…but never enact it, ever,” Rose continued, stepping close to Wendy. “But, if you consider the literal and the logical, Lady Worthington, he never commanded me to prevent his death. Arrogance on his part, a fault you do not have.”

From a pocket hidden in her skirt, Rose removed a carefully folded small towel and began to clean off the bits of blood and flesh and chemicals from Wendy’s body. “You will need to take a shower and a bath, Lady Worthington, if you would wish me to serve as a maid for you in this,” Rose said with an odd and uncomfortable kindness, as if she hasn’t been truly kind for a very long time.

For a moment, Wendy lowered the axe, then realized what Rose kept calling her, and hissed, “Why are you calling me Lady Worthington?”

“Because you are now, Lady Worthington,” Rose paused for long enough to take some wine from the bottle on the desk and use it to wipe off the more caked-on gore. “Upon Lord Worthington’s death, his will shall note that you are his heir. I…might have aided in this, but the genealogy is clear. Even if the gender is not, this is merely an issue to be resolved by a good solicitor. And, you will need to be ennobled and entitled, Lady Worthington. You will need the resources here to preserve your life.”

To Wendy’s confused expression, Rose sighed, “Lady Worthington, you are like your sisters-you might have two shillings of life left in you. Of course his customers would want to make sure that their mistresses never swelled, never told, and never would outlive their ‘patron.’ They would have twenty to twenty-four years of absolute perfection before their flesh failed in days. But, do not worry-the processes to sustain you are much kinder than what Lord Worthington used. Time and research has allowed for a great deal of improvement, and he was angry that the newer processes would not work for him. There were so many things that made him angry. I would show you the scars, if they did not heal as fast as your flesh could.”

(I admit, I’m addicted to writing small vignettes and story ideas on Sarah A Hoyt’s website, and I’ve decided that I’ll start collecting all of them here, as time goes on. I might even turn these into proper stories and novels one day. This one will be…painful. Interesting, but painful, to turn into novel format.)

The Wonder Of Writing

Right now, I’m in the middle of purging a whole plot line from The Winter Solist. Have to, really. Initially, I thought it was going to be because I needed to expand the story and plot some more…but, then I realized something.

With the fact that I’ve expanded the book series from eight books to eleven, I now have a chance to talk about more of the story universe and it’s various aspects….

So, I’ve had to start planning to put a new plot-line in. Part of which will be resolved in A Solist In Rome. And, tie up one plot line from Solist At Large.

What’s going to be worked through this and the next book?

Short version-Roman Catholic Magical Girls.

Long version-there’s been a lot of problems at the lower levels of the mystic underground that has been fought by several groups and organizations. One of them is in the Lycée, and they recruit from the students there. And, Adelaide, in all innocence, stumbles on them…