I’m Only Doing This Because I Promised Myself

See? Streak power at work right here. I had posts for every day last week, so now I want to maintain that. I noted last week that posting once a week was too infrequent for streak-motivation to kick in, but apparently this week-daily bizzo is doing the trick (and let’s face it, the Monday/Friday posts are all prescheduled anyway :D).

So I have things to say and things I thought I’d blog about, but tbh I had like 4.5 hours of sleep last night and I’m fighting off the plague and I’m really all just

right now. So instead you get a random, short, rambly update, I guess about books because… I have nothing else interesting to update you with?

So Sanctuary book three, When Worlds Collide, is officially In The Works. I’ve done a bunch of planning and outlining* and trying to fit together the jigsaw puzzle pieces I’ve left myself in the first two books, and tomorrow I get to actually dive into the writing – assuming I’m up to date with my marking by the time I get home, anyway 😉 At the moment I have it scheduled for release at the end of Feb, but that will depend on me maintaining a moderately gruelling schedule for the next 2.5 months, so it may end up tipping over into March. We Shall See.

And then that wraps up the Sanctuary series, and WHOA OH MY GOSH I WROTE AN ENTIRE SERIES. o.O Y’all have no idea how WEIRD that concept is.

But I’m SUPER excited about what’s coming after that. You might remember that last year I went and stayed with the Twinny One in the US, which was AWWWWWESOME, and that we spent a large amount of time Plotting All The Things, and that one of said Things was the big and tangled novel I have drafted that we detangled, reoutlined, and generally tidied up, filming the whole experience because… why not?

Anyway, yeah, that one. Ferrets and sarcasm and enemies-to-lovers and Mercury, the super-smart, super-possessive, super-snarky, super-SLYTHERIN main character. A bunch of people have read early drafts of this one, and you guys, you are going to love it. Promises. So. Much. FUN.

I’m really looking forward to getting it done and out :3

I’m also super looking forward to some writing courses I’m doing over Christmas, but that’s probably of less general interest! 😀

Anyway, the gloriously savoury scent of roasting potatoes and rosemary is letting me know my dinner is finally cooked, so Imma go deal with that. Food. I hear it’s good to eat.**

Hope you’re having an okay start to your week! <3

 

* I’m not an obsessive outliner, I don’t outline All The Things in comprehensive detail, but I do appreciate a road map.

** This, friends, is called irony, because I have recently learned that I am literally, actually, 100% medically confirmed food intolerant. More on that possibly later this week. *sigh*.

*Tap Tap* This thing on? (AKA The Power of Streaking)

Wow. It’s October already. How did that happen? How I am, like, making appointments and lesson plans and things through to the end of November already? How has it been six million years since I last blogged?

…Okay, so the answer to that last one is, as we all know, that I still suck at blogging, though I’m *slowly* getting better, and *le gasp*, I actually have most Monday/Friday posts done for the rest of the year.

So, y’know, even if I die you’ll still have content 😛 #macabrehumour

ANYWAY.

Wow.

I actually don’t even know where to start, which is kind of why I’ve been delaying writing this post for the last two weeks. I mean, I just had a book come out and everything, you’d think I’d have blogged that. But because I hadn’t blogged in SO. LONG., it felt kind of weird to come back with a ‘hey btw I made a new book’ post, I guess. Hence, avoiding it >.<

I found the secret to making myself do it, though. School’s gone back this week, and although I have a mountainous-crazy to-do list because I didn’t do enough school work in the holidays because publishing blew up on me in the first week and I got commissioned for three cakes in the second week…

I actually completed my epic to-do list yesterday.

Granted, I had to stay up until 1:45am to get it done (*wince* don’t tell my family), but IT GOT DONE, DARN IT ALL. And so today, when I realized I was likely to get through my to-do list for the SECOND DAY IN A ROW… Well, streak-psychology kicked in. As in, two-in-a-row-is-practically-a-streak-I-have-to-keep-this-going.

And one of the few remaining tasks on my list today is – you guessed it – blogging, so blogging I dutifully am, because I will have my streak, darn it all.

As it turns out, streak psychology is actually a really great motivator (though it can be used for nefarious intent – I’ve heard of a few problems recently with young teens and a snapchat addiction, because snapchat (yet another social media app) records ‘streaks’, i.e. how many days in a row you’ve talked with a particular friend, encouraging you to make sure you chat to all those friends again tomorrow to maintain said streak). I was browsing Dean Wesley Smith’s site the other night and noticed that he talks about streaks as a motivator for writing, too. Relevant, as I’m diving in Sanctuary Book 3 after this weekend, so I’ll need to ‘streak’ writing as well as everything else. (I’m plotting it out this week/on the weekend.)

So I guess I need to harness the power of the streak on the blog, and try to get that happening – and for exercise, too. The problem seems to be that once-a-week isn’t frequent enough to feel like a streak, even if you hit the goal ten weeks in a row.

Maybe I’ll try doing short, rambly blog posts like this every second day or something to get into the habit? Heaven knows that if you’ve been reading the blog/hanging out with me for long enough, you’ll be used to ramble.

Who knows, I might even discuss that new books that I released two weeks ago, and the con I went to, and the book night I hosted at home. With, like, photos and stuff.

But for now, blogging can be crossed off my to-do list (:D) and I have to get the kid inside for his gymnastics lesson.

I hope you’re all surviving okay, and I guess have a think about how you could harness streak!power in your life rn. If you do, please share in the comments! I’d love to know 🙂

All The Exciting Newsy Things!

  1. From The Ground Up has a release date! Mark September 25 on your calendars, ladies and gents, because this is one book for writers you are not going to want to miss! 😉 If you want to keep up to date with FGU, have access to early cover release, possibly ARCs, and definitely the chance to win free copies, you’ll want to sign up to the FGU notification list. Go here, sign up – you won’t be added to any other lists (including my main newsletter), you’ll ONLY receive pre-release and release info about FGU, and the list will be defunct after this year 😉
  2. Any chance you’ll be near Edmonton, Canada on the aforementioned September 25? If so, block out 1pm to 3pm on your Sunday afternoon because I WILL BE IN TOWN!!! That’s right! I, the Australian author who is perpetually on the wrong side of the world for nearly EVERYTHING, am going to CANADA FOR THE FGU LAUNCH!!!!!! *\o/* SO. MUCH. EXCITEMENT. The release/signing will be at Variant Edition Comics 🙂 🙂 🙂
  3. Also releasing this year (this is the year of releases, YAY!) is the Darkness & Good anthology 🙂 Some of you have followed my and Liana’s little short story blog since its inception in January 2014; although it’s been on hiatus for a few months (mostly because Baby), we have plans to refresh it again in 2016, and an anthology of all your favourite stories — plus some brand new content — will be hitting the shelves in July. Again, subscribe to my mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out on the details.

 

So, that’s my exciting news for now. So many releases! An overseas trip! ALL THE GLEEFUL YAY!!!!

Also, mailing list. You should sign up. I love you!!! <3 😀

(Also-also, FGU notification list. Just in case. O:))

A Writing Manifesto, Courtesy of 2015

I’d rather be writing. That’s not how I planned to start this post, but really, it’s what it all boils down to. 2015 was the year I managed to fall in love with writing again, and let me tell you, it was grand. After a very long slump that started in 2010 when I blitzed through the first draft of Sanctuary in 3 months and deepened when I got postnatal depression in 2012 (something that led me to actually quit writing for a while), in 2013 I starting crawling back to the light again by writing non-fiction. That continued into 2014 as I drafted From The Ground Up, my worldbuilding book, and into 2015 as I rewrote most of the book and added another 20,000 words. It was only in May of 2015 that I finally found my fiction mojo again: I drafted the first half of an urban fantasy that you’ll see one day, but not for a while yet 😉

Then I had a baby. While I avoided depression this time and am immensely enjoying the baby stage (she says as Mr 3 gets out of bed for the fourth time in the last hour), it took a while to make time for writing again 😉 But this time, the joy is still there. And I have Plans, y’all. More about that next week.

So while I could post stats from last year of words written and words edited and things done and all that, really, none of that matters. There’s only one thing that matters, and it’s this:

I’d rather be writing, because I love it.

The good news for you is that you’ll get to see quite a lot of that writing this year. The bad news for you is that, instead of committing to a more regular schedule for the blog as I’d originally planned, I’m going to spend my precious spare time doing what I love. I’m pretty sure you’ll prefer new stories to half-assed blog posts anyway, amirite? O:)

What would YOU rather be doing? I challenge you to spend more time doing it this year. Go on. I dare you. <3

Inkprint Press + Worldbuilding + Self/Small/Large Presses, etc – Vodcast!

I thought I’d make this easy for you to find (if you’re interested) by embedding it right here! Sorry about all the link confusion the other day 🙂 You can either watch right here on the blog, click through below to watch it on youtube, or click here to head to the original post, where you can also listen to it as a podcast (no visual) and download the mp3 🙂

Okay, I’m Back.

Although those of you who’ve been reading for any length of time know that my version of ‘back’ is always a little sporadic and unpredictable at the best of times: let’s face it: I’m not great at regular blogging. That’s going to apply doubly this year, because – and although this has hit social media, I’m pretty sure I haven’t posted here – Minion #2 is due at the end of May, and in true Minion style this one’s been keeping me pukingly sick pretty much the entire flopping time. RAH.

Also, for those who care about such things, SmallBoy will be three and a bit when SmallGirl arrives; yes, this minion is female. Woot.

Right. On to more writingish things. I know it’s a month past time when people usually do their annual recaps and set their new goals for the year, but a) better late than never, b) I am ALWAYS late (despite my best intentions), and c) I actually had to wait for a few pieces of writing-related data to filter back in after Christmas/New Year before figuring out what I was doing this year.

2014

2014 was a chaotic year in many regards for my family, but writing-wise, it was the year of #FGU, more properly known as From The Ground Up. This is my non-fic book on worldbuilding for writers that will be coming out some time in the second half of this year – I’m working on edits at the moment, rah.

It was also the year wherein I co-opted the Twinny One,* Liana Brooks, into starting the Darkness&Good blog with me, whereon we post short, totally unedited stories somewhere between once a week and once a month, although we got better with that towards the end of the year 😛

Finally, 2014 was notable for me because Liana and I officially started using our self-pub imprint, Inkprint Press. Hurrah! Under this label in 2014, I launched my short story collection Cherry Blossom and Other Stories, my book of (church) plays Where Your Treasure Is, and the print edition of The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Dogs. Much excitement indeed.

Some quick overall stats:

  • Words edited: about 266,000
  • Words written: about 90,000
  • Words rewritten from scratch: about 8,000

Which means, I think, that if I was really rigorous about counting up every single word I wrote this year, I probably just cracked the 100k mark. Which is actually way better than I would have expected – I feel like 2014 was a pretty slow year for writing, but it turns out it was significantly better than 2012 or 2013! So that’s cool.

* She’s totally my twin. Just separated by the Pacific Ocean, about three years, and totally different sets of genetics. But, y’know. TWIN. 

2015

Where to from here, that’s the question. Now that I have all my data points, it looks like this year is going to be another ‘light’ year for writing. I had postnatal depression after SmallBoy and although I think I’m in a better place mentally with SmallGirl than I was at this point with SmallBoy, I absolutely can’t guarantee that I won’t get it again – and as anyone who’s experienced any kind of depression knows, it kind of puts a damper on creativity. On top of that, I have FGU due in and a much fuller workload this year than I’ve had before. So I have to plan for multiple small achievements, rather than any large ones this year.

Things I really plan to do:

  • Get FGU done and in on time so it can release on schedule in the second half of the year. My first book launch with a real publisher, you guys! So much excite.
  • Write enough short stories to stick to my once-a-fortnight schedule at Darkness&Good. I have the first quarter of the year scheduled already, so I need another 15 stories to make this happen.

Things I’d really, really LIKE to get done:

  • Liana has an awesome choose-your-own-adventure sfr novella ready to be published under our Inkprint Press umbrella – once I’ve done the editing.
  • Marked, my tiger novella from fifty million years ago, is in advanced editing stages. I’d love to pick this up again and finish it off so it too can be released.
  • I have a choose-your-own-adventure sfr novella of my own that’s about half done; top of the list for completion and eventual release.
  • Aphelion, another sfr novella (although NOT choose-your-own-adventure) is also half written, and even has a pretty cover ready to go.
  • Finally, Liana and I are tossing around the idea of a Darkness&Good 2014 anthology. There’s at least 45k of fiction there, the length of a decent novella or a short novel, and it’d be fun to do a print edition to sit on my shelf – after editing the stories first, of course 😉

So. Nothing long and novelly, unfortunately, but if I can manage it Inkprint Press will see a decent number of new releases this year, so you’ll be well stocked on things to read – and hopefully, for the first time ever, you’ll get to read something of mine longer than a short story! 😉

I think that’s all from me for now. What about you guys? What are you up to in 2015?

 

~Amy

Short Announcement Re: Books

Just a quick note to say that in the last week, all my self-pubbed material, published under the Inkprint Press label, has migrated from Smashwords to Draft2Digital (and if you’re an author looking to self-publish who hasn’t heard of Draft2Digital, go check them out immediately!! SO much better than Smashwords!!), and everything is now back online.

What this means for you as a reader in practical terms is not much: a few items have received a formatting overhaul (including Liana Brooks’s Seventy and Fey Lights) so the files should all look a lot cleaner and more professional now (thanks, D2D), and ALL of my works are now available EVERYWHERE.

Cherry Blossom eCover Where Your Treasure Is Forget - A Short Story With This Ring Fey Lights eCover Seventy eCover REALLies eCover

So, that book of plays, Where Your Treasure Is, that hasn’t been showing up anywhere since it was released in October thanks to a glitch in Smashwords’s system? It’s now available everywhere, and the print edition has been released too 🙂 Is much pretty.

Also, Liana’s Fey Lights is coming out in print in March (YAY!!), and my short story collection To Dust is getting an overhaul as the print version transitions from Lulu to CreateSpace. I’ll let you all know when the new version is out; expect a bit of an editing tidy-up, significantly prettier formatting, and possibly an extra story thrown in as a bonus incentive 😉

I think that’s all the administrivia for now. Hoping to post again later in the day with a more cohesive look at what happened in 2014, and what I’m hoping for in 2015 :o)

~Amy

Announcements and Stories and Adminy Glories!

Because who doesn’t love a good rhyme, amirite? O:)

ANYway. I meant to post about all this two, maybe three weeks ago, but then the site went down because I tried to update wordpress, and then I was away for a week because my darlingest baby sister graduated from high school, and then Stuff. And Things. And probably a lot of Nonsense.

Anyway (redux). Here we are. It’s nearly the end of September (behold, the terror!!) and I am staring down the barrel of a scant 9 more school weeks until summer/Christmas holidays. This, my friend, is a Very Exciting Thing.

But not the Thing I am here to discuss. Man, this is becoming entirely circumlocutious. *ahem*.

POINT NUMBER ONE:
Woo, I have a new book that will be releasing at the end of October! *o/* *

It is a very niche book, one that will doubtless not interest many people, and that was a beast of a bleeding headache to format, but hey! It’s an addition to the line-up and there is a school that is maybe-possibly interested in buying a class set, so chalk that one up to a win. /nodnod.

Oh wait, you want to know what the book IS?! o.O Sure. That… makes sense. It’s called Where Your Treasure Is, and as the subtitle boldly proclaims, it is a book of seven Christian plays for young people. You’ll also note the cunning use of my middle initial in the author’s name bit; this is to serve as a warning flag for people who might not be interested in Christian-related Things, m’kay?

Look, there is even a pretty cover!

Where Your Treasure Is

 

So yes. It is a book of plays, I will create a page for it on the website sometime soonish, the page will show the back cover which lists the various plays and summaries thereof, and it will be available at the end of October. Depending on work and Other Things, I may be organised enough to organise a preorder period for the e-version, too.

Yay! Book!

POINT NUMBER TWO:
Point number two is less dramatic but probably of more general interest: Liana and I discovered we were more prolific in our earlier writing days (i.e. the last couple of years :P) than we had guessed, and the Darkness and Good short story blog now has fodder all the way through to mid-February next year (allowing for January off). Hooray! You can find a new short story there EVERY SINGLE WEEK, alternating between Liana and me, on a variety of sff-related themes. Stories for the remainder of the year will post US Friday/AU Saturday. Next year we’ll be switching to a US Mon/AU Tues schedule. Because, um, because??

But anyway: tl;dr – THERE ARE STORIES. FOR FREE. YOU SHOULD READ THEM HERE.

Thus concludes what is quite possibly the most rambly and least coherent blog post I have ever written. Oy. *Cookies* if you made it all the way through.

* *o/* is a cheerleader, arms up the in air, waving poms. Just in case I needed to clarify. Because my DARLING husband decided it was …something else. So I thought I’d better. Clarify, that is. *sigh*.

Nine Things

Because I have found Fun Things recently, and if you really expect me to write a thinky post between Christmas and New Year’s, you’re madder than I am.

1) Nine traits of creative people. This is, somewhat surprisingly, a very insightful article that made me sit back, smiling, and give the happy sigh of the Understood.

2) Photos from the 18 & 1900s of various dog breeds. While some pics demonstrate the sad lengths that breeders will go to, I feel somewhat vindicated by the fact that Labradors look very similar, then and now. Moral of the story: the more quinessentially DOG your dog looks, the more likely it is to be hereditarily health. #AmyWisdom.

3) Yoga for Handstands. Pics of the various yoga poses you can practise to help you learn how to do a handstand. New Year’s Resolution #1: learn to do handstand.

4) The Curiosities. A collection of short stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff, with random, illuminating, and sometimes hilarious annotations by the authors. Hands down THE BEST short story anthology I have ever read to date.

5) The Midnight Rainbow. A pretty, pretty, PRETTY book full of hope and imagination and the real, genuine magic that only comes from the mind of a five-year-old. You’d think a story narrated by a 5-yr-old girl would be simple; you’d be wrong. You’d think a story about a mother suffering postnatal depression after a stillbirth would be horribly, horribly sad; you’d be wrong. You’d think a story about night rainbows would be fantasy; you’d be wrong. You’d think that, because it’s not fantasy, there would be no magic; YOU WOULD BE WRONG*. This is the most beautiful, quirky, hopeful book I have read in a very, very long time. Also one of the most genuine. Please go read it now.

* Although if you are defining ‘magic’ narrowly as ‘supernatural occurences and the like’, then yes, you would be right. Not wrong. Moving on.

6) Paying for People’s Drive-Thru. Because there are people out there who know how to be Decent Human Beings, and we should celebrate them.

7) The Art of Oversharing, by Fizzy Grrl, because Important.

8) Earth’s poles are shifting due to climate change. Trufax. New Scientist said it so. /nodnod. One day, I could live in the NORTHERN hemisphere, y’all!!!*

* Without moving out of country. Obviously I could live in the northern hemisphere if I emigrated to, say, Russia.

9) And last but not least, if you haven’t seen the silent monks singing the Hallelujah Chorus, you’re in for a treat. Hurrah! 🙂

 

So there you go. 9 things, just for you. Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season :o) *cookies*