A Year in Review: 2017

After a horrifying start to 2017, I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved this year:

Maria V Snyder’s Fan Edition fo Dawn Study (Chronicles of Ixia #6) was released, and my picture was on the mosaic cover!

 

In January I published Cupid’s Arrow: Guardian Trials on Episode. It’s only 3 episodes long but I plan on going back to it one day. I had a dream after I published it and that has inspired another part of the story. The cover is done by  The Awkward Cover Art Shoppe.

In February my husband came home from a two month stay in hospital and we moved house the next week.

Then in March I published a special 3 episode only Episode, a short story called Mysterious: Those Left Behind. I originally wanted to write this for Episode and they just so happened to have a contest about the mystery genre when I was plotting it in my head, and it was perfect for a 3 episode short story.

In April I published the first part of a trilogy called Lies for a Living, an interconnected story in an overarching series called Chaos of Stars exclusively to Amazon. It’s about a British rock band and the lovers who rock their world.

In April I published part 1 of Lies for a Living, Backstage Heat.

In May I published part 2 of Lies for a Living, Centre Stage.

In June I published part 3 of Lies for a Living, Leading Lady.

A box set of the trilogy was also released in July.

In July I rebranded my Tina Storm books with new titles and a new cover for Demon’s Blood done by Cover Couture.

Then I organised the rest of the covers for my New Adult fantasy trilogy Winter, done by Magic Owl. I can’t show them to you, but they are totally gorgeous.

Then I took a break and focused on my non-writing life.

In November I started NaNoWriMo, but this year, due to outside commitments, I couldn’t finish it. I did get a fair chunk done and I am excited to write the rest of it, I’m just stretched too thin at the moment. This means that I can’t commit to when Winter is going to be published, but I’m hoping, if my life settles down sometime soon, in the latter half of 2018.

My plan for 2018 is:

  • complete the second trilogy in the Chaos of Stars series.
  • to write more of the sequel to Demon’s Blood
  • finish the third book in the New Adult fantasy romance trilogy Winter and prepare for publication.
  • finish No Angel on Episode
  • add some more episodes to Guardian Trials
  • publish Lies for a Living on other platforms.

 


How was your 2017? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Kick Off

It’s been pretty quiet around here because I haven’t really been doing anything writing-wise for a couple of months now.

In my defense I did publish a brand new contemporary romance and 2 new Episodes this year, AND rebranded the Tina Storm: Demon Hunter series.

But like (almost) always, I am attempting National Novel Writing Months, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo, this month, kicking off today.

I’ve been tossing around whether I really want to do it this year. With 5 wins from 6 attempts (I didn’t attempt it in 2015 and my computer literally blew up halfway through 2012’s attempt and I hadn’t backed up my novel and was so heartbroken I gave up) I’m pretty keen to finish the new adult fantasy trilogy I started in 2014 but this year has been so hard and stressful on me and I started a new job last week, and I just thought I wouldn’t have the fortitude to tackle something I didn’t absolutely plan on ‘winning’.

But my love of writing, and my love of these characters and wanting to wrap up this story has won me over. Which is interesting, asI’m going in to the third book in the trilogy having not yet finished the second because as you might know, fair reader, my husband went into hospital in the middle of December last year for a back injury and didn’t come out for 2 months, so I didn’t really have the emotional strength to finish that novel when I was working on my Episodes.

(Speaking of which, No Angel has been dormant for a long time but I absolutely do plan on finishing it. I just don’t have the strength to do that and novelling at the same time.)

Well, today was kind of just a brain barf for me. I did plan on writing something NaNo-related. Tasmania has its own region this year, which is something, although I haven’t been to a write-in yet and I’m not sure I will go to any this year. I’m pretty busy outside of writing. But I will leave you with my favourite writing trick for NaNo and one I used just today as I powered past the 1667 minimum and stopped at 2000K instead (you can see my progress in the sidebar ->):

The best place to stop writing is in the middle of an exciting scene where you know what’s going to happen next. That way, when you return the next day, you know exactly what to write and won’t waste time staring at the screen muttering, “NOW what happens?”

My characters were just attacked by what appears to be a grizzly bear, which seemed like a good place to stop for the day.

Beautiful People February 2017: No Angel Edition

beautiful people banner

Beautiful People is a linkup hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.

It’s aimed at writers so we can answer the questions about our characters and our books. It’s designed to help you get to know your book better! (And also give your followers a sneak peek of your works-in-progresses.)

Beautiful People

I’ve taking part in Beutiful People this month because I want to talk more about my Episode WIP called No Angel and the romance between my main character Persephone and the mysterious boy Tristan who knows what happened to Perspehone’s missing twin, Angel.

The Book Episode

My Episode is currently 4 chapters long and is called No Angel. You can find out more about No Angel and Episodes here.

Persephone and Angel used to be two peas in a pod. Literally. Until a falling out caused them to become as dissimilar as identical twins can be.

So when Angel goes missing after a house party and the police are convinced she simply ran away, it is up to quiet, loner Seph to unravel the mysteries and secrets her popular sister-turned-frenemy has been keeping from her.

What caused the fight between Angel’s popular clique? Who was Angel’s real boyfriend? And what really happened that fateful night when Angel showed up at the house party but never came home?

The Questions

Just a warning that there are some MASSIVE spoilers for chapters I haven’t written yet.

  1. How and why did they meet?

Tristan enrolled at Persephone’s high school in senior year, believing she was the person he was tracking. He was wrong. They met officially in the girl’s bathroom where he tried to remove her ‘wig’ and she slapped him across the face.

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2. What were their first impressions of each other?

Although Persephone thought Tristan was attractive, she didn’t like his arrogance and found him really creepy. The fact that all the other girls found him really hot also turned her off. Persephone’s not the type to follow the leader, which is why her signature style is Goth.

Tristan believed Persphone was Angel so he was pretty disgusted by her. But once he figured out she was Angel’s twin, a protectiveness came over him, and he even found her attractive. He likes how feisty she is, and he tries to respect her wishes. It is her sister he’s tracking, after all.

3. How would they prove their love for each other?

SPOILER (highlight text to reveal)

Tristan would leave his current millenium-long relationship with Isadora, and Persephone would allow Tristan to turn her into a vampire.

4. What would be an ideal date?

A walk along the beach in the moonlight, just talking about everything.

5. Is there something they emphatically disagree on?

Tristan believes that lycans are just animals and need to be put down. Perspehone believes that like vampires, lycans have a vestige of their humanity still left in them, and is willing to give them a second chance.

6. List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)

Tristan is allergic to garlic and sunlight, although he has protection fromthe sun’s rays from a fairy queen.

Persephone doesn’t like coffee.

7. What’s one thing they know about each other that no one else does?

That the story of Tristram and Isuelt was true, although now it has become somewhat distorted from what originally happened.

8. What’s one thing that they keep a secret from each other?

Not sure yet, will have to figure that out.

9. How would their lives be different without each other?

Persephone would never find out what happened to Angel and would be another of Angel’s victims.

Tristan would continue in his relationship with Isadora and never find the true fulfilment he finds with Persephone.

10. Where do they each see this relationship going?

SPOILER (highlight text to reveal)

Definitely not to marriage and babies! I imagine Persephone will join the coven and help Tristan and Isadora hunt down rogue lycans.

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Beautiful Books January 2017

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Beautiful Books is a linkup hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.

It’s aimed at writers so we can answer the questions about our characters and our books. It’s designed to help you get to know your book better! (And also give your followers a sneak peek of your works-in-progresses.)

Beautiful BOOKS

Cait and Sky say: “Just like every year, we’re giving our monthly link up “Beautiful People” a small rest so we can focus on “Beautiful Books”.

Today’s set of questions will be all about GOALS and EDITING.

The Questions

  1. What were your writing achievements last year?

In 2016 I finished the first draft of Winter Witch, wrote most of the sequel Winter’s Wrath, and wrote and published 4 chapters of No Angel on Episode Interactive.

2. What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

I’d like to publish the first trilogy in my Chaos of Stars contemporary romance trilogy.

I’d like to finish Winter’s Wrath.

I’d like to write Winter Warrior, the final book in the Wraith trilogy, to go with Winter Witch and Winter’s Wrath.

I’d like to finish No Angel on Episode Interactive.

I’d like to get started on some other Episodes once i figure out the main conflict/plot.

3. Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!

I would say publishing the serial, except hat I need to hire an editor first, and they cost a pretty penny that I just don’t have without the knowledge that I’ll make the money back.

4. How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?

At the end of 2017 I want to overcome my fear of publishing novels again.

I hope that by the end of 2017 I have published my contemporary romance trilogy and have Wraith nearly completed and ready to go in 2018.

I want to be a successful Episode author as well.

5. Describe your general editing process.

I write my first draft. I take a break from the manuscript. I write a second draft. I take another break. I use EditMinion to help me catch overused words, passive voice, weak words, ‘said’, and cliches. Then I do one more draft and send it to a professional editor. This is what made my first professional editor say “Easier copyedit ever!”

But you know, they don’t come cheap.

6. On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?

If we’re talking specifically about Winter’s Wrath, I think this draft turned out OK. I still need to finish it but I’m excited to write the rest. Unfortunately, I took a break in December to catch my breath after NaNo and work on some Episodes, and then my husband had a horrible accident that put him in hospital, so I haven’t had a chance to finish the draft yet.

7. What aspect of your draft needs the most work?

Characterisation, I think. Just making my characters seem more real.

8. What do you like the most about your draft?

I don’t really know. The showdown between two powerful sorceresses?

9. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

I guess I’d like to find a beta-reader. I’m trying to listen better to my own instincts as everything a beta reader’s ever raised with me I’ve already thought about previously. If anyone’s interested in beta-reading the Wraith trilogy, let me know. I can’t guarantee when it’ll be finished. Unfortunately my real life often gets in the way of my writing.

After that I’d love to self-publish the Wraith trilogy because I already have a cover for the first book that I won from an artist way back in 2014. Once again I have to save up several hundred dollars for covers for the other two with no real promise of ever making the money back from sales.

10. What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

LET IT REST. Don’t go immediately from complete first draft to editing the first draft. Your eyes need a break and they’ll catch errors better once the manuscript isn’t so familiar to you.

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Beautiful Books November 2016

bb-redone

Beautiful Books is a linkup hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.

It’s aimed at writers so we can answer the questions about our characters and our books. It’s designed to help you get to know your book better! (And also give your followers a sneak peek of your works-in-progresses.)

Beautiful BOOKS

Cait and Sky say: “Just like every year, we’re giving our monthly link up “Beautiful People” a small rest so we can focus on “Beautiful Books”.”

The Book

My WIP is called Winter’s Wrath and it’s the sequel to 2014’s Winter Witch (I missed 2015 due to personal reasons).

The Questions

  1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

I’m feeling confident. I’m not entirely sure where this novel is heading because I plantsed it (I plotted about half and knew that inspiration would hit while I was writing for the other half – of which I am yet to write).

2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

A hand gripped my shoulder as I swayed and nearly face-planted on the shimmering ballroom floor.

3. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

My favourite character is Dover, who is a hulking, softly-spoken barbarian warrior with a heart of gold who teaches Tally self-defence and protects her like a valued little sister.

Maybe because in my head I’ve cast him to be played by 6’3″ WWE heavyweight champ Roman Reigns? His finishing move is called the Superman Punch.

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Yum.

4. What do you love about your novel so far?

I love that I’m exploring the difference between romantic love and sexual love, and I have a situation where a couple are forced to get married to keep up appearances but aren’t allowed to be a real married couple, if you know what I mean.

I also love that it is racially diverse. Almost every character is a person of colour. The main enemy are called Highlanders and they’re a re-imagined amalgamation and appropriation of the Scots and Celts. The main ‘race’ is based on Indian/Middle Eastern appearances because that’s part of my family heritage. But I’m still writing it from the point of view of a ‘white’ girl, albeit a girl whose whiteness is significantly different to whiteness in the real world.

5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

I haven’t made any hilarious typos but my fingernails are somewhat long this month so I do keep making small typos.

6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

I like to write the middle parts. This is a sequel, so I have to be careful in what I’m recapping by giving a new audience enough to entice them and leave them wanting more and not so much that I’m boring people who have read the first book and already know everything.

7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

I have a day job and I have sleep apnea, so I’m not one of those people who can get up early and dash off my words before work. In fact, by the time I come home, eat dinner and unwind a little bit, I barely have time to write my words before I need to spend quality time with my husband and relax before bed so I can hopefully get enough sleep to be functional the next day.

My power food is chocolate.

Normally I do have playlists but this time I’m going with silence.

I actually write my best between 11pm and 3am, but I’m normally asleep then because as I said, I have a day job.

8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

I don’t mind talking about my novel but I won’t let anyone watch my while I write it. I find the creative process very private and I don’t want anyone seeing the way my mind works, especially since I like to write quite violent things. I don’t need a cheer squad although it sure would be nice to have a team of beta readers eager to get their paws on my next manuscript.

9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

In NaNoWriMo it’s the idea of having that 50K at the end of the month, and that there are a heap of other people doing it as well, but that not many of them will actually finish. I want to be a finisher. I normally hit a wall around 10-15K but I timed it this time to have some scenes I was really eager to write happening then,

10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

Just do it. Opening the vein means the words will flow.

It’s OK not to write every single day but try not to fall too far behind. For me, three thousand instead of 1667 isn’t that big a deal: it’s just 2000 (which is nearly 1667 anyway) plus another one thousand.

When you’re finishing for the day, leave a reminder about the next scene you want to write so you’re not sitting there staring at a blank screen when you come back the next day. You know exactly what you have to write and you’re keen to do it.

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