In Which Words Occur

Lo and behold, I’ve been eating ‘clean’ for two days, and even though Tuesday I still felt exhausted, I was no longer epically groggy, and actually managed to write about 1200 words before bed. So yeah. Looks like I can either cheat on food (or even not just cheat, but push the boundaries a bit), or I can have words :\

On the one hand, it kind of sucks that writing is the first thing to go. On the other, it’s SUPER nice to actually KNOW what’s going wrong with my body after all these years, and getting a good sleep at night is INCREDIBLE, and now at least I have control over what is happening, which, wow, those of you who have stuff go wrong with your body will know, control is an incredible gift.

Being food intolerant sucks, but of all the things it might have been, at least it’s the one that puts the control firmly back in my court, and I am so, so grateful.

So hopefully tonight, more words! 🙂 How Not To Take Over The World is at about 16k out of about 70k, and as this is a rewrite, I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the year. I probably won’t release it until after Sanctuary 3, though, so you won’t have to wait as long between books 1 and 2… Or then again, I might just release it. /shrug. Freedom is a heady thing, ha 😀

(I realised the other day that if I can manage to release 3 titles per year, as I’ve done this year, it will still take me ~30 years to publish everything I think of as a ‘current work’ >.< And of the three titles this year, none of them were actually written this year, and publishing them ate into my writing time, sooooooo….. *cries* Too many stories, insufficiency of hours! 🙂 )

In Which I Am A Terrible Person, OR Why The Right Book Makes a Difference

(Also: Why I Decided To Publish My Own Books.)

This was supposed to be a lot more coherent that I suspect it’s going to be, because I have a throat cold* and this is the busy point in my two-week timetable and my sanity has pretty much fled, but anyway. I’m doing this blogging thing, yes I am, see me do it.

* Not sinus stuffy, just coughing and hacking and GUNK, ew, glerk.

Confession: I am a terrible person.

I mean, I’m not *actually*, not for the reason I’m talking about today, but it sounds satisfyingly melodramatic to say so, so you know.

Why am I terrible?

I am not working on Sanctuary 3. 

My original deadline was the end of the year for the content-edited book, so I could pull a late Feb/early March release, because that’s what I’ve been telling everyone. Which means I was supposed to start the draft at least 2.5 weeks ago.

Dear readers, This Was Not A Pleasant Experience.

I tried. I really did try.

I spend a week trying to scrape together an outline from the notes I’d made. I skyped the twin, who is Expert at Plotting. I made notes of all the threads I needed to tie up from books 1 and 2 (that’s them in the background of the picture below).

I had an outline – of sorts.

I had an idea – of sorts.

And then the second week, I sat down to force myself to start writing it. You want to be a writer, I reminded myself. That means actually writing. You know. Words. On pages. But it was like the proverbial blood from the proverbial stone, and it was Not Fun.

Look, I have a day job, okay? And two small businesses aside from writing. I don’t NEED writing to earn money for me, I don’t NEED to publish… So if it’s not going to be fun? Ick. Just, ick.

Also, I hadn’t written a novel in over a year, and honestly I haven’t done much writing at all this year so far, it’s mostly been formatting and editing and proofing and so much more formatting. So I was worried that maybe I’d just forgotten how to write easily, that maybe this was a Me Thing.

Then, on a whim, I opened an older novel, one that was supposed to be next in the queue after Sanctuary 3, which I’m basically rewriting from the ground up now that I am a seriously better writer than I was in 2011 (THANK GOODNESS) but which I passionately love and adore and which early readers back in the day did too. Oh, look, you can go read about it here.

So anyway, yeah, I pulled that out to *ahem* look at. And, uh, oops. I’ve written 9k on it in the last 3 days. o.O

I mean, granted, a lot of that is totally blocked out, so the shape of the action is all there for me, and I’m just adding character and voice and setting, but whoa. 9k in 3 days? Ain’t never written that much so quickly, except maybe the week I was finishing up Through Roads Between when I drafted it last year.

So: clearly the problem is not that *I* am broken, but that something with Sanctuary 3 is just not gelling yet. I’ll write it, obviously I will – it’s not a runaway best seller (AH HA HA) but I do have a tiny, encouraging core of fans for the series (*waves*) and I’m not going to leave them/you in the lurch.

Just… not yet.

I could force it, but honestly, this is one of the main reasons I decided in the end to go with indie publishing: complete flexibility. HNOT is *working* right now, by golly is it working, and Sanctuary 3 is *not*. I’d meant to point out a whole bunch of metaphors here for the fact that sometimes, when you’re trying to hard to force something in life to work, it’s a pretty good signal you’re going in the wrong direction – but I’m lacking brain and my throat’s now sore too :\ So instead, Imma wrap this up and find a handy bed to collapse into, because yay + sleep + yay. Then I’ll probably get up and write some more of HNOT, because it’s totally captured my creativity, and I don’t feel like doing much else except writing it.

And I’m going to be grateful for that, and enjoy it, because this? This is what I signed up for.

Bring it on.

 

STREA. KING. Also words. And bats! #random.

Behold, the power of streaks, that lures me here to my computer when I really, really, REALLY just want/need to go to bed. BUT I AM HERE AND BLOGGING AT LEAST SOMETHING BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO BREAK MY STREAK, OKAY?

So y’all get insanity once again. Sorry.

Happy today – I finally started When Worlds Collide, Sanctuary Book 3. Only about a month late, but hey – better late than never?? I’m pretty much planning to do NaNoWriMo this year, because I’ll have to to get WWC in on time – still shooting for a late Feb/early March release. Fingers crossed!!

But anyway, after doing SO much editing and proofing and formatting and all so far this year, it’s SO nice to be back doing *actual writing* (TM) again. Actually, I think this is pretty much the first proper drafting/writing I’ve done all year? Whoa. What even is this.

That considered, it’s even HAPPIER that the words flowed well tonight – about 1750 words in about 40 mins, which is pretty much top speed for me! Yay! I love writing Edge – her voice is just SO easy <3 <3 <3

Anyway, I think that’s literally all I can scrape together the brain power for right now, so I’ll leave you with this adorable bat gif that I discovered today and which I’m pretty sure is going to become my lil mascot (because carrier bats and cookies, right?*). And now Imma go snuggle up in a blanket of my own and sneep. I mean sleep. Or probably at this point just eep, let’s be real. Ha.

G’night!

* If you’re not obsessively following along on Twitter, first of all, what’s wrong with you?** and second of all, I don’t know, I just have this THING where if anyone says something that needs a response, it’s all “*loads up carrier bats with health/congratulatory/celebration/writing/editing/happiness/insert appropriate description here cookies and sends them to you*”. Sadly, the carrier bats have a bad habit of becoming waylaid and getting distracted, and rarely make it to their destinations. A few do, though 😉

** WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE A LIFE????

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*.

General Updateriness, New Releases, That Sort of Thing

It’s been a while since I did a generic ‘HEY HERE’S AN UPDATE ON ME AND LIFE’ kind of post (it’s been a while since I did any sort of content-heavy post, shh) so HA, that is what we are having today. And I’m probably going to ramble, because the brain, she is rambley today.

So. If you are following my books with rabid fervour (ha) note that it will be harder than usual to track a print copy of Where Shadows Rise in the next six weeks, because the files were updated with a bunch of typos corrected. (I just typed ‘typos correctly’. Clearly this was a Necessary Thing. >.< Oy, and also vey.) Amazon should have the update by the end of the week, and you can always grab a copy through Inkprint Press immediately (in the US) or from my site here (for Aus).

In more exciting news, Book 2 in the Sanctuary series (Through Roads Between) is up for pre-order!! You’ll get to know more about both the magics of Sanctuary/the Valley, AND about Scott in this book – which I know a lot of people will be excited about :o) You can pre-order the ebook anywhere pre-orders are had, and you can pre-order the print copy here in the US and here in Australia – and buying through me or Inkprint entitles you to the ebooks in BOTH mobi AND epub for FREE! Woohoo.

Yay book! It is pretty!

ALSO in related news (and speaking of related LOOK THERE ARE TWO MATCHING BOOKS SITTING TOGETHER LOOK THEY ARE SO PRETTY), I’ll promo this more in the coming weeks BUT there will be a giveaway for anyone who has left a review of Where Shadows Rise to win one of multiple ebook copies of book 2, or one copy of the print book. Reviews on GoodReads, Amazon, or any other book retail site all count, you can probably have multiple entries for posting your review in multiple places, it’s open international, and your review doesn’t have to be 5 star, just fair 😉

And also coming soonish is a novella about tigers, religious prohibitions, eating people, and inter-species war – but mostly it’s about redemption, and how no matter how much you think you’ve screwed up, you’re worth redeeming. More details on this in a month or two – it should be releasing around late October/early November, all things going well*, so keep an eye out.

* All things not going well it’ll be out Q1 next year 😉

I think that’s about all the updating my brain can handle right now. I’m doing this super-stringent elimination diet because Health Reasons, and I’m in the middle of withdrawal funk, and although the fog is clearing slowly, I’m really, really sick of the approximately twelve foods I’m allowed to eat 😛

Yay books! Woohoo!

 

#MadeItMonday: A Book, A Book! I Made A Book!

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Pretty much the only thing I’ve made this week apart from school resources and stuff is the internal pretties for Where Shadows Rise – which, okay, this feels a little like cheating in terms of ‘making’ something, but on the other hand, VERY PRETTY AND EXCITING!

If you want to read the first chapter, you can find it right here 🙂 Yay! Pretty book!

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Practising In Public, Or, I Have A Book Coming Out in May :3

Years ago, I read an article that prompted somewhat of an epiphany. This is not, in and of itself, a noteworthy event, as this is something that happens with rather astounding regularity in my life. I guess when you read a lot, and when you read widely, this kind of thing is also just called ‘Learning More Stuff’. Yay learning! Yay stuff!

But anyway, this particular article (which I’m sure I linked to at the time but can’t for the life of me find on the blog at present*) was about a distinguishing factor between writing and a lot of other art-forms: namely that in many art-forms, practising in public is not only permissible, it’s actively encouraged. Painting pictures? You don’t have to be a painterly genius for the school to let you exhibit your work. Learning an instrument? Recitals are generally actively required, whether you sound like you’re strangling a cat with tomato sauce or not. Writing? …Yeah, probably just better put that notebook down and not show anyone your writing until you’re *good*, okay, honey? There’s a lovely sane writer person. *pat pat*.

The article, and subsequently I, took umbrage with this notion. Why NOT practise in public? Look at The Martian, for example. It’s arguable but also pretty intuitively obvious that the book only ever became as great as it did because the author took a risk and practised in public, garnering assistance and feedback along the way that made the book what it was.

Look. I don’t want to get too hung up on this idea; I just wanted to note that you know what, writers? Sometimes it’s okay for us to share stuff with The Reading Public that we know has flaws.*****

Segue. In 2010, I wrote a book. It was a book-of-the-heart, the first book I wrote straight through without blood, sweat or tears, and it was magical, and elating, and glorious. It was a book, actually, for my sister, not because the plot mirrors her life or anything (and even less so now than in that first draft) but because, at the time, it felt important that I could give her the gift of happy escapism for a while–and it dovetailed nicely with a fragment of an idea I’d had rolling around in my head for a while.

Segue. It’s 2017. This book has gone through about 7 drafts, at least 4 of those with relatively major changes, though it’s not like it was ever gutted and torn up for parts like some of my other novels. The resultant story is still largely the same shape as the original, just better. More book shaped, less like a whimsical object from my head.

Segue. It’s still 2017, and I have an emotional collapse on Twitter at a bunch of my writing friends. The Twinny One immediately gets onto Skype; she understands what the problem is in a way that’s hard for me to articulate on Twitter, and also in a way that’s hard to articulate on Twitter, she knows the solution. It’s the goalpost, she says.

See, seven years is Quite A Long Time to work on a book, really. Especially when your goal is to make some kind of living out of this. And over those years, numerous times, people have told me (kindly, for my own sanity’s sake) to put Sanctuary down, to shelve it, to walk away.

I don’t walk away from books. I’m terminally incapable. So being told to abandon this one is heart-wrenching, and I’m scared I’ll never finish it, and I’m scared I’ll be forced by time or people or circumstance to abandon it, and secretly I’m just plain old scared that I’ll never be good enough to edit a book to The End. Editing, y’all, is HARD, HARD WORK. Taking this story, this image, this idea that you have in your head and translating it into something that not only makes sense but is just as compelling for others as it is for you? HARD.

But for the first time, Liana puts it in words that seep into my head. It’s not that I’ve changed as a writer in those seven years, though it’s also that, and I most certainly have, in leaps and glorious bounds (though some days I still stumble and crawl). It’s not, as I heard this to mean, that I could do better, that I could write better than this, that I need to be constantly revisiting Sanctuary to update it with the new skills I’ve learned.

It’s the opposite. It’s not that I’ve changed as a writer so much as that I keep moving the goalpost. Of course the book will never be DONE if I keep applying new criteria to it; no book I ever write will be done if I work like that.

There are still some flaws in this book. I know they’re there, but fixing them would mean gutting the book and starting over, and I don’t have it in me to do that yet. Maybe one day I would, but I’m faced with a choice: I can let the book go, or I can hold onto it for another seven years, picking and prodding and angsting and hoping to someday get it ‘right’. I need to let it go. But letting go doesn’t have to mean shelving it. It can also just mean at last, finally, calling it done.

Practising in public, you see.

So here it is: my glorious piece of imperfection, a tiny part of my soul carved into words and made flesh of its own. I’m calling it done, I’m writing The End, and I’m turning it over to you, my wonderful, wonderful reader. I hope you’ll love it. But if you don’t, that’s okay; I’m practising in public, and I’ve done what I needed to do. Finally, I’m letting this glorious beast go.

A teal book cover with light exploding from the centre of it. Shadowed butterflies fly out and up from the light, and the title, Where Shadows Rise, overlays the image in a serif font with decorative curly elements. It's pretty. Very, very pretty.
Where Shadows Rise
Sanctuary Book 1
Coming May 24, 2017
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | and more 🙂
(print and ebook)
(yay)
(isn’t the cover *astounding*?)


The fairies have a secret they’re just dying to protect…

Emma knows breaking the rules can get you into trouble; it nearly got her sister killed. That’s why Emma’s stuck in backwater Nowra, Australia, under temporary witness protection with no friends—and no life.

So when Emma has to break the rules to retrieve the runaway family dog, she decides the fairy she sees is clearly a guilt-induced hallucination. Problem is, hallucinations don’t usually send you invites to Fairyland—and shadows don’t usually chase you home.

It would be easy to ignore the invite.
It would be sensible to avoid the shadows.

But when Emma’s only new friend is snatched by the shadows in the middle of the night, Emma knows she has a decision to make: stick to the rules and leave her friend and dog to die, or risk her own life to save them.

CHAPTER ONE

THE DOORBELL RANG. That doesn’t sound exciting in and of itself, but let me assure you: it was the most heart-pounding thing to happen all week. It was my birthday, I was home alone, and because of the stupid witness protection business, I’d been stuck in the house all summer. I hadn’t even been allowed out to see friends, because we’d arrived in town at the end of last year with only three school weeks to go—so I didn’t have any friends.

Well. I had friends, but they were back in Melbourne, and I wasn’t allowed to contact them for fear someone would track down our new location. Lucky me.

Anyway, it was my birthday, I was alone because Mum and Dad had gone to do something regarding birthday surprises and Anna had inexplicably chosen to go with them, and the doorbell had just rung. I stared at the closed door, heart pounding, while our chocolate Labrador, Veve, tried to chew it down. Was I going to open it?

Of course I was going to open it. The chances of it being a mobster were slim to none; for starters, a mobster wouldn’t have rung the bell.

 

A teal book cover with light exploding from the centre of it. Shadowed butterflies fly out and up from the light, and the title, Where Shadows Rise, overlays the image in a serif font with decorative curly elements. It's pretty. Very, very pretty.
Where Shadows Rise
Sanctuary Book 1
Coming May 24, 2017
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | and more 🙂

 

* Granted it is 10pm on Sunday night and I just spent 10.5 hours of my day marking things and my brain is leaking somehow out my ears and it’s goo, all goo, everything is goooooooo.**

** The number of times I mistyped ‘good’ for ‘goo’ just then is shameful. And probably indicative of my Tired. And possibly indicative of my subconscious’s determination to be optimistic? Sure, let’s run with that.***

*** Better than running with scissors.****

**** Imma get back to the main article in a second, I SWEAR. Any second now. Aaaaaany second…….

***** Of course, just as the right to voice your opinion does not include the right to be taken seriously, so too practising in public does not shield you from having substandard work received as such. I don’t advise this course of action unless you have a thick skin, or aim to develop one.