Thursday, October 1, 2015

Limbo Land

Just posting that title sounds like I'm at some new spot in Disneyland or something.  "Welcome To Limbo Land, Happiest Place On Earth!"  Except it's not if you're an overachiever like me.

So you know, I've crossed all the things off my list:

  1. Finished last Terris draft and sent to my proofreader (Who will be done literally any second now. Eep!)
  2. Set up everything online to publish Terris
  3. Finished Second to last draft of WIP and am waiting for feedback
  4. Write draft of query letter for WIP
  5. Write draft of synopsis for WIP
  6. Compile comprehensive list of agents for said querying
  7. Finish Bellarke Fanfic
So yeah, I'm in a holding pattern.  Everything I've been working on is in someone else's hands right now and I'm stuck here twiddling my thumbs, waiting. Perfect time for a blog entry, right?

Let's talk about a few of those list things.  I didn't add that I'm outlining for the next Five Tribes book.  I can even tell you its name, because when you publish your own stories, you don't have to call things "untitled" if you have an actual title.  Which I've had for like a year.  The next book is Ignis, of course, because of the tribe in which it's based.
That's right, Astra Cida (after which this blog is secondarily named) is coming up after Terris and Nikka is supposed to be hanging out with the Ignis during that time of year.  I won't spoil anything, but it's never that simple.  :)
I'm also outlining for the 5th (and final) book, because these two last book are going to be tightly entwined, and for the sake of continuity, it would be helpful to make sure everything is connected properly.  Seriously, guys, series are hard.  Don't do them!  

Other things on the list.  Yes, I'm going to be querying something.  If you don't know what that means, I'm going to try and find an agent for this new side project book I wrote.  This is a weird thing for me.  I never pictured myself trying to get something traditionally published, but there are a few reasons for that.

The first is that Five Tribes has from the beginning been something that I conceived of as self-published.  When I wrote the very first words, I always pictured these books as something I would take care of myself.  I was approached by an agent about the series, but I believe my exact words were, "I don't know what I'd do with an agent right now."  And I didn't.  I was also approached by a really great small publishing house about the series, but they were ebook only and I couldn't see what they could do for me that I couldn't do for myself. (This is what happens when you are an independent and highly motivated person.  You learn to do things for yourself.)

But then I wrote this other thing and suddenly, I knew that it was something that might be appropriate for the whole publishing industry rigmarole (and believe me it is definitely rigmarole).  So I've been revising and revising and revising and revising... there is a part of me that knows I have to stop trying to make it perfect, but until that part of me starts kicking and screaming, I probably won't listen.

I will soon have something else to occupy my time, though, because nano is coming up and that's when I plan on starting the next Five Tribes book.  Until then, I'll just work on keeping myself busy... somehow... :)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Power of the Reader

I came here to post good news: my book is with the proofreader and half-way through editing!  Yayayayayayay! Things are looking good for a September publication.  I also have my book cover.  Which I'm happy to share with you all.  Here you go!

I won't give any hints on what happens in this book, but as you might guess from the cover image... Luka figures rather strongly into the storyline.

As I said, I came to tell good news, but along the way I got sidetracked.  I found some long-lost comments that got sidelined for moderation and decided to "get rid of the spam" as it were.  Except, they weren't spam!  They were lovely comments from my readers, telling me how much my stories have meant to them.  They brought tears to my eyes and made me remember again why I keep doing this.

Because, honestly, I do ask myself sometimes (mostly when I'm doing line edits. yick).  Why do I keep doing this? It's hard.  It's long and complicated.  It's time consuming.  And it's just a story, right?

But you all have reminded me, time and again, with emails, with comments, with goodreads messages, that my silly little stories mean something to you.  That you want to know what happens next.  That you still wait for the next edition.

Which makes me excited that I'll be able to share it with you soon! Happy Reading!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Look What The Cat Dragged In

Well, hello friends!  It's been a while, or so I see from the date of my last post.  I promised myself I wasn't gonna say anything unless I had NEWS and guys, I have news in spades!

First off, I'm in final edits for Terris, (book three) of the Five Tribes books.  It's been a long time, and 145,000 words coming.  Some time has come my way (for now) and I have made good use of it.  I'm hoping, HOPING for late August, but just to be safe, I'm gonna say September.
The book cover is in the hands of my cover artist and should be finished in a little bit.  I'll post it here and on goodreads when it's done.
And as one final gift for those of you who have waited literal years to read the third book and have MY memory, I'm going to include a detailed summary at the beginning so that you don't have to read through everything all over again to get the important info.
In other news, I just finished a standalone book that is pretty much in an opposite vein from anything I've ever done before.  It's the first time in a long time that I have written a story that doesn't have like 4 more books coming after it and let me tell you, it was a refreshing change from having to keep track of a thousand little.  It's not for everyone—it's a Regency/fairytale fusion and it was a lot of fun to write.  Still haven't decided what I'm going to DO with it.  I may actually send this one around and see if it's mainstream enough to traditionally publish.  I'm getting feedback on it right now. :)
That's all from the land of Kate.
Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The End of the End

I've struggled with how to write this for so long that I think I've started this entry in my head at least a dozen times. And then never finished it.  Because as sure as my brain says, "YES, YES, YES," my heart says, "NO, NO, NO."

Me, fleeing the scene every time.

But today.  Today is the day I rip that freaking bandaid off and just say it. Okay. Yeah.  I'll say it.

Life, everyone.  Life gives you stuff and it also takes stuff away.  And without going into a lot of excessive detail, I'll just flat out tell you, Life has taken away all my time.  Normally, with a job I'd be like, well, I can still get up at 5 in the morning and work.  Not this time.  This time, (and for the foreseeable future) every single extra moment is taken up with school.  Lots of it.  More of it than I planned on for myself at this point.

Things happen, plans get messed up, and now I have a rough draft that most likely won't be finished for a long time.

And it sucks.  It does suck.  I love to write and I want to have time to do it, but I'm also a grown up.  I have to devote my extra time to other stuff.  Writing is fun, and Lord knows I'd PAY to do it, but there comes a point in your life where you have to look at the payout and realize your favorite hobby is a time suck that pays minimally and even though you want to do it right now, you can't. 

So yeah.  I can't.  I'm sorry, for those of you who have emailed me and asked.  I'm sorry for those of you who like the books and bought them and now are angered that you don't get to finish the story. (at least not now)  If you want the rough draft and a story outline, email me.  I'll try to set something up for you.  

I could pull a GRRM and promise you for 7 years that it's coming out, but let's face it, I'm not George.  He's a genius that people would wait decades to read.  I'm not.  

I'm not saying it will be decades.  Not at all.  But until school is finished, my writing is halted.  That's a good two years, at least, I'm afraid.

Love to you all and sorry I was too sad to post earlier.  I will take it up again when I can, but I understand if you've all moved on by then.  Good luck to you, and happy reading.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The BIC (Big Inner Critic)

Lots of writers talk about their inner critic.  For most of us, it's that loud, cranky voice the comes in objecting to every word of the current manuscript we happen to be working on.  In my case, it's the annoying harbinger of doom that comes around whenever I'm editing.  And kicks my butt the entire time.

The good news is, I have completed the first markups of my rough draft for Terris.  The bad news is, I haven't made any changes yet.  Oh Lord.

But since I've put in multiple hours this weekend, I'm now giving myself a mini-break in the form of imparting my editing wisdom to all of you.

1)  If you have a Kindle, USE it. (No, I did not get paid by Amazon for this promotion.  Although, wouldn't that have been nice!) It's often way easier to read these things in book form and get an overall idea of where the plot is going rather than line-by-line in a word processor.
Yes, a lot of authors print out their work on paper and do it that way.  Okay, that's good, but it might cost you a pretty penny if you're an indie author like me and your book is 130,000 words long, like mine is.
2) Why use paper and a red pen when you have Kindle Touch and highlights?  OMG, highlights are the best!!! They're like a red pen, except you can add notes to them.
3) Which brings me to my next point... hey, guys, did you know about Kindle's word completion software for notes?  It's awesome!  Let me explain how it works.
You highlight a passage, and add a note and type in what you want.  But Kindle's word completion software has a memory for your most used words.
So if I type in "rewrite" into kindle and select it when the word comes up, it remembers my choice for next time.  Now all I have to do is type in "r" and rewrite pops up right away.  So it's pretty much perfect for editing, as long as you remember what everything means.
rewrite, repetitive, more, huh, confusing, transition, new (for new line)  I use these words all the time for my editing, and I do it only having to type in one letter before the word pops up. So great.
4) If you're not sure about how the words sound, then you need Free Natural Reader.  As the title suggests, it's free.  What it does is take text and read it out loud to you.  If I'm not sure about a passage or I'm worried that I missed something in a conversation, I put it in natural reader and I can tell where the rough parts are.

So that's my technique for silencing the Inner Critic through hard work and toil.  Next up comes beta reader feedback and then my next set of edits. (yay!)  Finally looking like this book may get wrapped up.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

So Excited I've Been Spouting Gibberish All Day!

Well, you might have a guess about why I'm so crazypants excited today, readers.  Terris is finished.  Yes, FINISHED.  Yay for me.  I'm awesome.  Oh yeah.
Liz Lemon says, "High Five for you, Kate!"

Seriously though, I know this has been a long wait for you, so thanks for hanging in there with me.  (And for emailing me several times to ask when the third book will be out.)

But it's not all sunshine and roses, I'm afraid.  Right now the book is in three different files (which I have to admit went way better.  Will definitely be doing that again next time.) so I have to put it all together.  Then I'll be rereading the first two books (which is hardly a trial or anything.  lol).  Then I do a first read through of Terris, and look for any parts that make little to no sense, or don't work for the flow, or contradict stuff that I wrote before.  You know, the parts where I sucked at writing.

After I've gone through to make it at LEAST understandable by humans, I'll be sending it out for some plot feedback from my team of people who enjoy telling me all the ways in which I've failed.  (Alright, they're actually very nice people.)

Then comes yet another plot edit.  This is more of a fine tooth comb sort of thing, but I'll still be looking at plot issues, if anything of note comes up with the betas.

Finally, the MS goes to the proofreader for red pen work, and then it will be formatted and uploaded on various sites.

So, we're honestly still looking at August, if I want to be realistic. Or maybe July, depending on how busy I am this summer.  My kids will be gone at their grandparents' for a week, so hopefully I'll be able to push hard during that time period. :)

But I'm thrilled, beyond thrilled to be done.  I'm excited where this book has gone, and ecstatic to pick it up for the fourth edition.  I'm over halfway done with this series, and I'm both happy and kind of sad.  I've devoted so much time and energy to these characters that I really hate to leave them behind.

For now, however, Nikka, Luka, and Zyander are back and they are happy to hold your attention for a bit.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

George, Mary Sues, and Epic Fantasy

I think I've mentioned before that series are HARD WORK.  If you didn't read that post, I'm just gonna sum it up for you: whining, bitching, moaning, and a little resolve toward the end.  Or if you like that sort of thing, here's the gif:

The hardest part, though, is keeping track of all that character growth that's supposed to be happening.  As I get to the end of the third book (OMG, did I just say the END?  I did.  Check out that wordcount on the sidebar, readers!), I start to think about what the character is going through.  I have a nice peek at where they've been and where they might be headed in the next couple of books.
But mostly, I wonder to myself: What Would George Do?  That's right, when I think about character work, I always go to the definitive expert (in my humble opinion, of course).  He can take the most sniveling, backstabbing character and turn them into a hero by the 5th book.  So, what would George do?

Wellllll... let's just say he likes to make things difficult for his characters.  So, okay.  Why?  Because that's how we grow as people, right?  We grow and we change and we face hardships that melt us down and purify us and turn us into bright, shiny versions of ourselves (or horrifying nasty versions, too).

Luka is probably the best example of this, but let's look at Nikka, who is kind of the reason for this series.  Nikka is a fun character to write, but let's be honest, she can get a bit Mary Sueish.  I mean, she scores a 27 on The Mary Sue Test.  Which, you know, isn't the highest score she could get (50+), but definitely in the mildly Mary Sue range.

And what's so wrong about being a Mary Sue, you ask?  Besides the fact that she pisses off reviewers everywhere?  Nothing much.  I mean, in reality, people will give you crap about your heroine being a Mary Sue, but if she works in your story, you won't hear me complaining.  

Anyway, the reason I don't want a Mary Sue in my writing is because a lot of times, she can turn out flat, if you're not careful.  I consider it my job, as the writer of this series, to keep her from heading down that road, to make things difficult for her.  

I keep George in mind when I decide what to do with Nikka.  I push her, pull her, make her question herself, her abilities, her relationships, and even her gut.  Because even though she is obscenely powerful and full of sass, she is not infallible.  She sometimes reacts too quickly, or has too much confidence in herself and it turns out that she can't just do anything she wants with the powers she's been given.

So yeah, gonna have to keep that in mind during the editing I'll be doing very very soon.  (Hopefully.)

Happy Reading!