Writing Woes

Writerly Updates – September 2017

*pokes head up from under rock* This thing still on? Well, I live! Sort of. 2017 has proven to be a lot busier than expected, between starting a house flipping business (check it out on Instagram) and writing an entire trilogy and making a billion calls to my elected officials. So I've had to let a few things fall to the wayside, like blogging regularly here. But I made a point to AT LEAST update y'all once a month on what I've been up to. So here I am...22 days into September. Demon Spring If you've been following me on the social medias, I've been talking a LOT about Demon Spring. It's my new urban fantasy trilogy about a widower rebuilding his life, his smartass partner who I adore, and a human-saving demon. As I blogged about earlier this year, I decided to go all in and write the three books before publishing the first. And now, here I am 9 months later with a nearly complete trilogy. As of this post, Book 1 is with the typo checkers (ooh, it's a pretty proof), Book 2 is with the line editor, and Book 3 is with the beta readers. Not too shabby, eh? Besides all that, I've been squeezing in the planning/drafting of all the marketing blogs and content from now until the third book releases in August 2018. I've had a lot of time on my hands, and it's been fantastic to get all my ducks in a row before moving forward with anything. Speaking of moving forward, here are the tentative dates: October 30: Cover Reveal November 1-30: Sush Insider Special (Sign up for my newsletter to get notified) November 22: eBook preorders begin December 1: eARC copies released to reviewers / regular preorders begin February 20: Resurgence Released May 15: Revival Released August 7: Redemption Released August 8: Sush goes on vacay (no J/K because...) Lexie Updates I swear to you, I haven't forgotten about my Lexie girl. She's been patiently waiting while I focus on Jack, Cam, and Anya, but she's nearly ready to take center stage in the brain once more. It's kind of apropos; every year since I was thirteen, October has been the one month I'd always work on Lexie (it would usually last a week, then fall off). Now, in the (hopefully) last October I get to work with her, I can't [...]

By |2017-09-22T07:54:15+00:00September 22nd, 2017|Writing Woes|Comments Off on Writerly Updates – September 2017

2017: The Way Forward

The past few years, I've been pushing pretty hard. At times, I'd have two or three novels in work, able to release as many as nine projects in 2016. Sadly, all that work hasn't quite resulted in the kind of money that allows me to live off it (not even close). So I've had to go with freelancing a little bit. That means, unfortunately, I only have so much brain energy.  I've had to reprioritize some things for Sush projects as I determine the way forward. The big quandary I have right now is what to do in the latter half of 2017. I've got the second Lexie book releasing in April and the Madion Box Set in June. The first book in the Demon Spring trilogy (formerly known as RedemptionWIP) is in the hands of betas right now. But that sucker is headed out to agents and larger publishers in April. Which leaves yours truly at a bit of a crossroads. Do I return to Lexie and finish the last two books for release this year, or do I stick with Demon Spring and finish those? While part of me loathes leaving a project unfinished, the pros and cons I've come up with tell me Demon Spring is the way to go. In the first place, I've had Lexie in my head for nigh 20 years, so I doubt she's going anywhere anytime soon. In the second place, holding off on publishing any new projects allows me to put off some expenses. This may come as a surprise, but it's not cheap to publish nine books in a year. One of my goals for 2017 is to get the business right-side-up, and investing in existing books vs publishing new ones is a great way to do that. However, focusing on writing Demon Spring means that's it for the rest of the year. I'm giving myself breathing room time-wise since this is a new, unfamiliar world to me. As well, I don't have as much time/brain energy as I used to with freelance taking up 50% of my time, so I'm only working one project at a time. That puts us at December 1st before I can get back to even writing Lexie full-time. I'll need an additional six months to get it through the process. That means Book 3 won't get to y'all until at least June 2018. Aah!! At the end of [...]

By |2017-03-22T09:04:39+00:00March 6th, 2017|Writing Woes|Comments Off on 2017: The Way Forward

The Plot Bunnies

It feels like a book takes forever to complete, and also no time at all. Even worse is this new phenomena called finishing a series. I just put the finishing touches on The Union today (well, almost finishing. It's with my typo checkers right now). And now, the only storyline running through my head is Lexie's--well, used to be. Now I've got plot bunnies. I don't like having so much space in my brain, because too much space gets filled up by unimportant things. So I like to have two or three alternate stories in my head. It also helps keep the main project fresh, because I'm not spinning my wheels on the same thing over and over again. So I thought I'd chat a little bit more about some of the other plot bunnies waiting in the wings. A lot of these concepts are soft jello, and most aren't even outlined. Let me know which one you're the MOST excited about, and maybe it'll get bumped up on the list. Demon Spring Trilogy Ben is a demon-hunter by birth, he's slowly working to forgive himself for the death of his wife. A new job at the bureau in Atlanta offers a fresh start, but a new mystery arises. There's a demon-like warrior who is killing demons, and no one knows who or what she is--and why she's defying the demon king by taking out his best killers. This series is the most fleshed out in my mind, and probably the next one I'll work on for realzies when I finish Lexie. There's some deeper themes about abusive relationships and forgiveness that I'm excited to explore in more detail. And since it's an UF, that means I get to play with folklore and that kind of thing. Here's a snippet: "Oh, fuck!" she cried, swiping her underwear off the ground and sliding it on. "Fuck, fuck, fuck. Fuck!" She punched the air in anger. "Fuck!" "It's all right," Ben said, climbing out of the bed. "I mean—" "No, you don't understand," she said, pulling on her pants. "I think…this might be one—or two…maybe three souls—" "S-souls?" Ben blinked as she walked to the window, hooking her bra as she went. "What are you talking about?" She paused, her hand on the windowsill. "It's my curse. I can't…I have to be good. I can't go around breaking people's hearts—especially widowers." Ben cleared his throat. "I mean, [...]

By |2017-03-20T10:59:33+00:00August 24th, 2016|Writing Woes|2 Comments

May Writerly Updates

I kind of like these monthly writerly updates, may become a regular thing! Madion War Trilogy In case you missed it, I released The Island a few days ago. I'm fairly pleased with the release, and even more excited to get The Chasm to you guys. Also, ICYMI, I've got a really cool preorder swag thing going on right now with Chasm. I just put in an order for some PBs and HCs that folks have preordered, so if you want yours SOONER rather than later, hit me up. Which brings us to The Union. I'm not sure what's going on with this book. No, that's a lie. I know what's going on with this book. It's a combination of pressure of tying up all the loose ends and coming up with a really great plot to end the series--plus I started a new part time job (hooray...) and I've been doing a lot of traveling. Bottom line is that I'm really only writing a few hundred words a day on it. But it's not as if I'm running up against a deadline (lol, like say, Conviction). I don't have to get it to the betas for another two and a half months. But the slowness of it--especially after the last couple have come together very quickly--is annoying. I'm almost craving an immersive two weeks where all I do is jump into the world and write what I see. But I'll have to figure something else out because I'm not going to get that. I would love to have this first drafted before MobiCon on the 26th so I can segue into a vacation after Dallas, but somehow methinks that won't happen. Razia Speaking of books that won't write themselves, I'm slowly (SUPER SLOWLY) incorporating line edits for the seven Razia short stories. It's legitimately the LAST piece of the Razia series, and, as is par for the course, I'm dragging my feet. In the first place, I hate line edits and in the second, I hate line edits. I have to get them finished before I leave for MobiCon at the end of the month, because I leave for Dallas like 2 days later, and the finals have to be uploaded by June 2nd. Also, the sooner I get them finished, the sooner I get to do things like make hardcovers for the Razia books with the shorts at the end. [...]

By |2017-03-16T09:17:59+00:00May 4th, 2016|Writing Woes|Comments Off on May Writerly Updates

April Writerly Updates

Boy, for someone who used to post every day, I've sure been slacking lately. In my defense, I've been using the other social medias more but still...bloggity-blog-blog. Oh yeah, and all my finger-keyboard-tapping has been geared toward those books you guys love so much. There's a lot of schtuff going on in Susherland, so I thought I'd break it up by series. Madion Trilogy First and foremost, we have The Island's Release Competiviganza, which is a month-long effort to get everyone all excited about The Island, which comes out in exactly 3 weeks (AH.) You can win points by tweeting or posting a blog or whathaveyou. You can also earn some points by preordering the book itself, and a little birdy told me that if you order via SGR-Pub.com, the publisher gets them in the mail that same day. As part of the competiviganza, I'm hosting another #QwSush, which you guys should definitely attend if you want to get some sneak peeks of some Chasm-related goodies. Speaking of Chasm, it's currently in the hands of my fabulous line-editor, which means that it's two steps away from being a complete book (looking at mid-may for ARCs and such). If you're playing along with the release extravaganza, there might be a giveaway involved tomorrow on Instagram. Which leaves us with The Union. I've started the preliminary plotting activities, aiming to put in as much blood, death, and destruction as possible. It amuses me that I've begun writing Book 3 before Book 1 is even published, but hey, that's publishing. The Razia Series Oh, my bitchy bounty hunter's not been getting any attention. And you know how she hates that. Big news there is that I've early-released Beginnings, the prequel novella, exclusively on SGR-Pub.com. It's available for preorder on all the other stores, but if you want to know how Lyssa Peate became Razia the space pirate, as well as see baby!Sage (the only reason for getting Beginnings, really), you can buy it now for the special price of $0.99. I've got all formats available, but, as always, if the file doesn't work on your eReader, hollah. I also just went through and made some minor corrections (and in DL's case, some really big ones #rookiemistakes) in all four books to prepare for the Big Bertha edition, so that's nearly ready (also preorderable on all the eBook stores) The only piece that's missing is the Short [...]

By |2017-03-15T10:03:14+00:00April 5th, 2016|Writing Woes|1 Comment

The Problem with NaNoWriMo

Because I am a slave to trends and peer pressure, I decided to do the National Novel Writing Month in November. I thought that after writing Alliances, Empath, The Island, Conviction, Fusion, and bits and bobs of other books in the span of one year, I could totally do it again and finish Beginnings. Hah. I'm not sure what it was, be it a combination of quitting my day job and realizing the thing I used to count as play was now work, and having nothing to fill the play space or simply the fact that I didn't want to write Beginnings AT ALL, I struggled. It was a pain in the ass even to sit still for five minutes and focus. Suffice to say, I won't win NaNo. I did get pretty close (as of writing this blog on Saturday afternoon, I got about 30k down on Beginnings) and it was good to cheer and join in with the rest of the group. But I don't know if I'll be doing NaNo again, unless I work on a book that I don't have to publish or won't publish for a long time. The problem with NaNo (For me, your mileage may vary) is that it presumes you simply sit and WRITE and don't edit. I'm not that kind of writer; I write something then come back and tweak it and then add on once I've got the running start. So it irked me when I'd write something and know I needed to fix it, but not wanting to fall backwards on the word count. Especially considering that I didn't WANT to write this book. Don't get me wrong: Beginnings is going to be a fabulous book. It follows Lyssa's journey from when Tauron kidnaps her until she graduates the Academy. It's a fitting end to the series because we cover almost all of the parts of Lyssa's past that the other four books gloss over. I know exactly what I want to write. But the thing is, I mourned Razia for a few weeks after finishing Fusion. I feel like the series has already ended, and I'm antsy to move onto the next one. While I could, theoretically, end the series with Fusion, I made myself a pact to finish and release a book series by age 30. And dammit, I want to meet that goal with Beginnings. The Big [...]

By |2017-03-13T10:57:45+00:00November 30th, 2015|Writing Woes|6 Comments

Burn Out

When I was all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in 2014, I planned a crazy busy year for 2015. I envisioned myself breezing through the final touches on my house in Virginia, selling it without a problem, wafting to conventions all over the country, making tons of money and...do you see where I am going with this? Like a moron, I completely overscheduled myself for the first half of 2015. I attended six comic book conventions in eight weeks. All which required me to drive/fly/train it somewhere far away. In the middle of finishing and selling the house, I might add, and selling everything I owned in preparation for a cross-country move. And oh yeah, I was trying to write Conviction during that time period. It should come as no surprise to you that I did not finish Conviction until three months after the original due (to me) date. And for a while there, I really didn't love this book. It was a chore and I dreaded working on it. But it wasn't that I hated Conviction, I was just brain tired. And because I was brain tired, I didn't have the mental clarity to choreograph the mental gymnastics that Lyssa goes through (and she definitely goes through some gymnastics). When I get burned out, I go through this back and forth of "I have to work but I don't want to work." Compounded on that the lack of book love on twitter and the occasional troll, and before I know it, I'm panic attack central. Combat the Burn With Conviction, I got myself through it by focusing on small, measurable goals every day. I use Omni-Focus to track all of my daily tasks. So what I'll do is add a task for 1,000 words and set it to reoccur M-F every week. At least then, when I knock out some measure of words, I'll be able to check off that task and say that I've made progress, even if I really haven't. I don't set the task to run on the weekends because that's my play time. And sometimes, without the pressure of a task over my head, I'll get even more done on the weekends. The other thing I do is try to take breaks from writing. I just finished Fusion, the fourth Razia book, and it's in the beta's hands right now. But I haven't started on Beginnings (#5) or the second Madion book yet, forcing [...]

By |2017-03-10T14:30:04+00:00October 26th, 2015|Writing Woes|Comments Off on Burn Out

Bits and Bobs and Updates

Warning: Long, writing-related post ahead related to September Updates. Totes boring. Keep reading. Hey y'all, it's been a while, no? But you know what they say, no blogging=more writing. And in this case, that's actually true. Since I decided to, yanno, sell a house, move cross country, buy a new house, and remodel it, I'm woefully behind on Conviction. The original schedule was everything would be complete by 7/31. *looks at calendar* Nevertheless, I received my first proof of the book a few days ago and just finished editing on the beach going through it. Looking at 1 October to have it all finished, finally. Which means I still make the drop-dead date of 18 October by more than 2 weeks. And you'll get it on the 28th! I've also been working hard on Fusion, which is just a tad behind schedule as well. But the good news is that I'm halfway through the first draft! If I can keep on this schedule for the rest of the month, I should be able to recover and get the books to the betas on time, too. If you'll recall, that book is being released in conjunction with Pensacon in February of next year and Valentine's Day, what? The interesting thing about Fusion is that, like Conviction, it has been swimming in my head for so long that I can't actually believe I'm at the scenes that I've been building to for four books. And no, I haven't already cried thinking about that I'm nearly done writing Razia. That's your tears. Not mine. What? While I'm hot and heavy in Razia (*ironic snort*), The Island is getting some attention from agents via the old fashioned querying process and from some betas. I've paused on uploading new sections to Wattpad for the time being. Partially because if I do get representation for it, the book's gotta come down. But partially because I'm still chewing on the on-deck scene, and I'm not sure if it's what I want to say. Giving it some distance to gain perspective. I've also had some fabulous feedback from some incredible beta readers. Most everyone is really excited about the book. And yea, a little part of me is hoping that all the agents I've queried to will reject it so I can release it in April because I want to share it with you SO BADLY. In the middle of all this stuff, I've [...]

By |2017-03-27T20:37:10+00:00September 15th, 2015|Writing Woes|4 Comments

The Problem with Conviction

I've been having some trouble writing Conviction, the third Razia book. Now, nobody panic. It's not like I'm giving up or anything like that. But I wanted to be blog a little about the frustration with this damned book, more so I maybe can find a nugget of wisdom to keep me going. First, some background: The events that occur in Conviction were originally part of Double Life but removed because I thought it was too much plot after the third or fourth draft. THE PROBLEM WITH THAT is that, just like with Double Life, this particular sequence of events has been floating around my head for fifteen years. BUT UNLIKE DOUBLE LIFE, this hasn't actually been written (well). And so what happens, inevitably, is that when I start writing, I then switch to daydreaming and forget to write. Because I know what happens, so why write it down? = Suni!Logic That's one piece of the problem. The other is that I'm really worried that it (and also Book 4) veer off into the less action-y and more into the relationship-y territory. Which is strange, because both Double Life and Alliances were about relationships, too, so I don't know why this one, in particular, is coming off so weird to me. But people love Lizbeth, and they love Sage, and seeing them continue to care for Lyssa is warm and fuzzy. Another piece of the problem is that I keep writing scenes, then pulling them out, then putting them back, then pulling them out, then rewriting them. I have about 10,000 words in my "Cut scenes" folder, in addition to the nearly 50k in the book itself. I can't seem to get the sequence of events right, or get them to flow. I can't pinpoint motivations of my characters (specifically Lyssa and Jukin) and so I can't seem to get their dialogue right, either. The final piece of the problem - and here's the big fear (#SlayYourFears) - is I'm afraid I won't have enough plot to fill the novel. This is a fear I also have for Book 4, and I think part of it is bleeding into Conviction. I'm sitting close to 50k, as I said, with a lot of [add] and [more here], but I guess I'm still worried that I won't make it over 68 (which is my intended minimum word count). So the fear that [...]

By |2017-03-07T16:04:11+00:00March 19th, 2015|Razia, Writing Woes|Comments Off on The Problem with Conviction

On First Drafts

Empath is the first "new" first draft that I've written in something like fifteen years. The spirit and character names come from a story I wrote when I was 12, but that story was written by a 12-year-old, and h'obviously needed to be scrapped. The characters as they exist today are strangers to me (compared to Lyssa and Sage, who are old friends), and I can't get a grasp on everything about them. With Razia - all five books - I have known the story since I was 16 years old. It's percolated, it's bubbled, it's matured like a fine wine. So when I sit down to write, I'm basically transposing the movie in my head to words on the paper. There may be a few new things that pop up along the way, some refinements of characters or things that increase the impact of the story, but overall - I Know How This Is Going to Go. So if I seem like I'm eager to get the word count down or the story written, it's because I actually can't see the "big picture." When I sit down and write a scene in Razia, I know - very acutely - how this particular conversation or event impacts the overall plot line. But Empath? It's muddier. I am not a good first-draft writer, to be honest. It's mentally exhausting to sit and put words on paper as I see them in my head. But revising and editing that first draft - that's when I hit my stride. I can read a section and reword the entire thing, but somehow because the idea is already in front of me, I can refine it. That's how I wrote Double Life - the story was written and all I did was refine it. Alliances was a mix of new and old. And Empath, as I've said, is all new. So this 20,000 word writing sprint is really about getting that first draft down on paper so the real work can begin. I've given myself until November to complete the actual work product, and right now I'm at 50,000 words (if I complete the 20,000 word challenge, I'll be at 60k). And no, this blog post doesn't count towards my 20,000 word goal :)

By |2017-03-07T15:38:54+00:00October 12th, 2014|Empath, Writing Woes|Comments Off on On First Drafts