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.

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.

The Comedy Continues

I’ve gotten a chance to work on Solist At Large today, and had some peace and quiet to work in.

Right now, the biggest goal is convincing Google to give me access to my G-Suite, because I want to make sure that nothing goes weird when I try to use it. I’m also looking at some noise-canceling headphones, because I work on my desktop computer when I’m doing “serious” work. And, the people I live with watch CNN at “airport telescreen” levels. It won’t be soon, but I’ll be figuring out exactly when and how I’ll be getting those soon.

On the subject of the book…I’m getting closer to the “confident that I can publish without feeling too embarrassed about it” point. I remind myself it’s my first novel. People that have great first novels rarely have a good second novel. Once I feel good about that, it’s time to do Cheap Author Copyright via the Post Office, final Kindle formatting, and publication.

My hopeful goal is to have everything ready on 9/13, so I can be up and published by 9/15 on Kindle. It will definitely be done before 10/1, even if I have to throw people out the door at gunpoint.