Saturday, November 30, 2013

50,000 Words, Cards Against Humanity, Revision, and Mountain Biking (not necessarily in that order)

At approximately 1:30am on Nov. 30th I rolled across the finish line for NaNoWriMo 2013. Not only did I break 50,000 words, but I also wrapped up the first draft of that novel. This year's NaNo novel was one the second half of the draft I started last year, so the final first draft is just over 100,000 words. Woot! It feels really good to have that first draft done, as this is a story that's been in my head for a long, long time. There's a lot of work that needs to be done before it's a finished product, but you can't revise what you haven't written, so it feels really good to have that draft on paper.

To celebrate, this morning, I slept until 8:45am (decadent, I know) had a lazy morning of coffee and chatting with the hubby, and then went for a few hours of mountain biking with some good friends who are visiting from Colorado. As today marked the second time I have gone mountain biking in my life, I considered the fact that I only went ass over tin cups once a total victory. Indeed, despite having my ass handed to me by a sport I have zero experience with (or perhaps because of that) I had a great time.

Biking was followed by coffee. Coffee was followed by the purchasing of art, and art purchasing was followed by a delicious leftover-stravaganza from the many amazing meals we have eaten this week. All of this was topped off by beer and a bouldering session at the school wall (tiny, but overhung) so all in all it was a banner day.

In other news: this past few weeks have been marked by a particularly joyous and friendship building activity. I refer, of course, to playing cards against humanity. If you don't have this game, you should go buy it. It is quite simply, the funniest game I have ever played. A caveat: if you are easily offended, this is not the game for you. Of course, this may be a useless caveat, as no one considers themselves easily offended. Still, this game goes out of its way to offend (everyone equally at least) so consider yourself warned. In addition, this is not a game for children, and I would personally feel kind of awkward playing it with any of my close family members as well. Ahem...

In still other news: My reward to myself (aside from going to play outside today) for finishing my NaNoWriMo novel was to buy myself a course on Novel revision. This may sound extraneous to people who don't write for a living (or even to some who do) but revision is a big deal. It's actually where most of the magic happens in terms of producing a great piece of prose, and it is not (contrary to popular belief) all about putting commas in the right places and getting there, their and they're right. Don't get me wrong, commas, and the theres (theirs, they'res) are important, but they are the tiny adjustments that need to be made to a manuscript at the end of the revision process in order to make it pretty and legible. They are not the reworking that needs to be done to get the meat and bones of your story in all the right places.

I did a giant rewrite on Gwendamned this summer and it was the best (and most complicated) revision I have done to date. I learned a lot about revision just doing that, but it's clear that there is plenty more that I could learn. What I used to make that revision happen was just the description from the class that I signed up for. I figured hey, the teacher outlines the basic concept here, I can use that to make it happen, and I did make it work, and it was a huge help.

Now that I've done that, I wonder how much more I could learn if I actually did the full course. Every writer I've ever read "how to be a writer" suggestions from has said that writing is in the revision. Before I tried the methods outlined in this course I hated revision. I found it daunting, and was afraid to go about it the right way.  Rewriting a short story was fine, articles and essays were easily redone, but a novel? Too scary. Too long. Too much invested to take it apart and start all over again.

This summer taught me to like revision (a bit) and certainly to see the magic its capable of. If nothing else, I truly appreciate the value of a good rewrite at this point. My hope is that this course will enable me to enjoy revision, because it's a large part of what any author spends their time doing, and it's worth it when it's done right.

So... for anyone curious the course is called How to Revise Your Novel (creative I know) and it's taught by author Holly Lisle. I will, of course, let you know how it goes.

For now, I am off to eat some more food, and relax a bit with friends and the husband. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Oh, and Chapter 5 from Blade's Edge should be up by Monday at the latest.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chapter Four, and a Big Shout Out to My Cover Artist

Well, folks, Chapter Four is up and ready to read. Click this link to check it out! Also, please remember that if you haven't created a JukePop Serials account (click that link to go straight to the registration page) you won't be able to read anything beyond chapter one and you also won't be able to +vote my story.

Creating a JukePop Serials account is easy (it can be just one step if you have a Facebook account and want to link the two) and it helps me tremendously if you actually +vote all of the chapters. New readers are far more likely to check out my story if it's already got a number of +votes, so that, even more than possibly earning money on the website, is a big boost to my writing career. Thanks!

In other news, I left out a very important piece of my last blog post and that is a huge shout out to a good friend and colleague of mine (whose name I won't specify here in case he's publicity shy - though I doubt he is) who worked with me to create the awesome book cover for Blade's Edge. For those of you who don't know, graphic design work doesn't come cheap, so to have a friend with a graphic design degree is a great boon to any author, especially when said friend is generous enough to let you pay him later when the book has maybe actually generated some income, instead of right this second when you're kind of broke and can't possibly give him what he deserves. Yay!

If said friend lets me know that it's cool, I'll come back and post his name here, but in the meantime let's all just say: "Thanks, ******!"

You guys can trust me when I say that he's awesome.

Well, I really need to get back to writing for National Novel Writing Month. That novel is still happening (though it's been on hold for a few days) and I have to knock out 20k words in the next four days so I had better get cracking.

Thanks, everyone, for your support! I hope you enjoy reading Blade's Edge and that you all have safe and happy holidays. Chapter five might be up in the next 24 hours if I can get my NaNoWriMo words down in a timely fashion. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Chapter 2 of Blade's Edge and Some Explaining

Hey all, chapter two of Blade's Edge is now up on JukePop Serials, so if you're curious to know what's happening with Mishi and Taka, go check that out. Please remember that you can't read chapter 2 (or further) without creating a free JukePop account. I know people aren't that excited about creating more accounts for themselves, but it's the "price" you pay for being able to read this particular novel. In addition, by creating an account (which, if you would rather consolidate and not have to remember another username and password, you can create by just signing in with your existing Facebook account) you enable yourself to +vote stories (this is the most important part for me as the more people who +vote my story the more likely I am to earn monthly cash prizes), write reviews and comments, and add books to your bookshelf. My writing isn't the only good writing on JukePop serials, so you might look into some of the other stories while you're at it.

So here's some information on how JukePop works for those of you who are interested in the details:

  • it's a collection of serials, so anything you read is being published one chapter at a time
  • how often chapters are published is up to the discretion of the author (though the minimum is one chapter per month) - in my case the book is already written so it's up to how quickly I can revise/rewrite/edit 
  • stories are +voted by readers and ranked by popularity (which is why it's so important to me that you +vote my work)
  • the 30 top ranked stories each month are paid cash rewards (which is why I'd like EVERYONE I know to read and +vote my story and recommend it to their friends)
  • you can +vote every chapter and the +votes are cumulative so that's very helpful to whatever author you're following
  • if you like a serial you can add it to your "bookshelf" and whenever the author adds a new chapter you will get a notification in your e-mail (this notification can be turned off in settings if you'd rather not have notifications clogging up your inbox)
  • JukePop pays all of its authors for the first chapter published on a per word basis, however payment after that first chapter is based entirely on popularity
  • JukePop accounts are tied to twitter accounts and updates are spread through Twitter. Consequently, I have created a twitter account (sigh) and so if you're into that sort of thing, you can follow me.
  • JukePop sports a "support the author" button at the bottom of each chapter. If you click it you can donate money to authors you like. The default is $5, but it can be changed to anything as low as $1 and... I'm not sure if there's an upward limit.
As you can imagine, I'm excited any time someone other than my close friends and family enjoys my writing, and particularly excited when someone chooses to pay me for it, so I'm very happy about this publication. However, the most exciting thing about this opportunity is the chance to broaden my reader base. The best way to do that on JukePop is to gain new readership by making it onto the front pages of the website by having lots of +votes (reviews are also helpful). 

If I can increase my reader base now using JukePop, then that will make my next more traditional publishing experience all the more successful. So please, please, please tell all your friends about JukePop and get them to sign up and read my story (and other authors too, while we're at it).  

For those wondering, I am still pursuing more traditional publishing efforts with my other novels. I am currently knee deep in the revision of Gwendamned, the writing of a new novel, and the writing and revision of numerous short stories. I will keep everyone posted on those, but of course, you'll also be seeing a lot of JukePop updates here. 

Alright. I'm off to edit some more of Blade's Edge, so that people can find out what's happening with Mishi and Taka, and then I have to get some work done on my new novel. Hope everyone else is doing well and enjoying getting ready for Turkey day! I'm thankful for so much this year! 

In the next few days I might get a chance to include an update on that whole 12 days in the Grand Canyon thing that I get up to every year, so keep an eye out for that too. (Short answer: it went well.) 

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Hey,  ladies and gents! I'm happy to announce that one of my novels has been accepted for serial publication (that's a chapter at a time) on the website JukePop Serials. You can find the first chapter of my novel by following this link. The second and third chapters will be up in the next 24 hrs.

JukePop is a paying market, which is great, but I get more money the more people that register to the site (which is free) and +vote my story. So please, read it, +vote it, and recommend it to all your friends!

I'm writing this from my phone, so this will be a short post, but I will add more detailslater when I get back to my laptop and get the next two chapters up.

Thanks for reading!