A newsletter?

On the recommendation of an expert, I have added the option to sign up for a newsletter to my site. I don’t yet *have* a newsletter, but if enough people ever sign up, I can definitely make it happen. I am not at this time making aaaaaaany promises about frequency of updates or quality of content. Just so we’re clear.

But now I have the mechanism for those who might want it. It also necessitated me doing a lot of reading about how to add a privacy policy of some kind to this site since, you know, if you’re trusting me with your email, you deserve to know I’m going to keep it private. I’m no lawyer, but thankfully the internet is full of lawyers who write templates for blogs. If there’s anything in the privacy policy (available on the Contact Me page) that you think can or should be improved, let me know.

Website maintenance is not really my strong suit, and I spent the better part of 2 hours fighting with the newsletter plugin, the sidebar and its various options, the top menu, and making the landing page for the newsletter signup not look like garbage. For a while there, literally every part of the site was wrong. But the good thing is that google exists and WordPress is pretty simple once you know how to search for what you need online.

Like the query process, and like everything that comes between a successful query and a manuscript out in the world, it’s the kind of work that reminds you publishing is a business. It’s writing that’s the art. And I may be far more passionate about and invested in the art, but if I want to be part of the business, I gotta put in the work.

Enjoy the shiny new website and the newsletter sign up!

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Clouds roll over the hills

There’s a weird sense of added responsibility working through this YA project of mine. I’ve been writing for ages, and much of that writing has been shared. But never before have I had this sense of “what story do I need to tell for the people who need it most?” like this.

I think it’s because I’m so cognizant of how much I was impacted, changed, inspired by the books I read when I started delving into the YA shelves. To be fair, the biggest changes in me probably came in the MG category, especially anything and everything written by Bruce Coville. But YA stories have a way of building out a blueprint for how a person finds their place in the world. It’s an explicit part of the genre for a reason — those who are on the cusp of stepping out from what is known (childhood home, middle/high school) look ahead to a new world (maybe college, a job, living independently).

For me, Middle Grade was formative in the sense of “who” — who will I become? What choices will I make that are true to myself? Who do I want to live with inside my head? And YA was more about “how” — how do I take who and what I am and walk into the world with them? How do I balance all the fears ahead of me against the inevitability of facing them?

So actually sitting with a YA project and trying to bring it to life, I keep thinking about me when I was reading YA and what I needed. I know a good portion of YA is also read by adults, and if anything, that makes it even more important that I get those core themes right. If I have one chance to demonstrate a path, it needs to be one that is full of courage and integrity. If I ever get the chance for my book to land in the hands of a teenager, I want that person to gain something of themself that they can carry forward.

A theme that keeps coming out in this one is that we become the hero we wanted to save us once. And I am, have always been, the writer telling the stories I needed once before, too.

It doesn’t really change the meat of what I’m writing — the characters are the same, the plot continues on — but it makes me quite self-conscious about those meta pieces while I’m figuring out how to structure a scene. It’s an added layer of complexity. And it’s a good challenge, but also a slightly intimidating one.

But, I guess, if I let writing intimidate me, I’d never have gotten this far in the first place.

A friend send this song to me. It’s Bastille’s “Pompeii” but reimagined by composer Hans Zimmer. I liked the original song just fine, but this really changed it for me. Somehow, it brings tears to my eyes. There’s something that hits differently with those lines about the city we love and how it feels that nothing has changed — even though it has. The song was always nostalgic for me, and now it triggers thoughts of different days in different places and the life I lived then in a new way.

Also, it being Hans Zimmer, the whole thing sounds like it belongs at the emotional climax of a movie, so there’s that.

As I work on my YA chapters tonight, I’m going to carry this feeling. This deep memory of the books I read and how they changed me. This cognizance of the guideline my story might be to someone someday. This story told for the me that once was, and the me that hasn’t changed very much after all.

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Today we had a cat adventure

And it wasn’t even my cat!

The condo is typically pretty quiet, with only the rare sound leaking from any unit to our own. The exception is the hallway — the doors are pretty thin so anything that happens in the hall is fair game for everyone to listen to. Mostly it’s just doors opening and closing or the occasional conversation.

But today, as Sarah and I were hanging out and messing around in BOTW, we heard a kitty crying.

That’s not too unusual. There’s at least a couple of other cats on the floor besides Kiba and Tadashi, and sometimes we get sounds. There’s a couple of dogs, too, who only bark if you knock on their doors. We’ve heard this particular kitty before, but figured he or she was doing what Kiba does — singing the song of the cats at whatever hour strikes their fancy.

But they kept crying…and it sounded kind of closer than usual.

Also, Tadashi was staring at the door and his body language was unusual. I know all his tells for “there’s someone in the hall” and “I don’t like this sound” and this was neither.

So I got up and opened the door.

And this guy ran right to me, meowing plaintively.

A hairless cat with bright green eyes is lunging towards the camera with an interested expression

Now, rescuing cats who need help is not new to me. My first cat, the cat who chose me and who I love forever and ever came out of the woods when I was 4 and sniffed my toes and thus chose me as his human for life. I’ve rescued other stray cats before when they came running for help (instead of being feral and backing away). And I worked for several years at an animal shelter helping strays find forever homes. I’ve seen lots of fearful kitty behavior and lots of reasonable wariness around a new human.

This cat? Pah. This cat came right up to me, wanted pets, and started to purr.

He (fully intact, very obviously male) was alone in the hallway, clearly having escaped from his unit, and needed help. So I did what I hope anybody would do in that situation. First, I knocked on every door on the floor to see if he belonged anywhere, but no one answered. Then I called the office downstairs to let them know so they could reach out to people directly.

And then we took little hairless buddy in, set him up in our spare bathroom with water and a litter box and toys, and I proceeded to bond with him over the course of a few hours.

I also learned more about hairless cats than I ever expected. I learned they can have really significant allergies and sensitivities to foods, so we opted only to give him about a teaspoon of tuna (the good kind with no preservatives) and water to start. I learned that they do look *really* weird, but actually petting them is pretty nice. They’re warm and smooth and kind of fuzzy, but not like petting someone who’s just gotten a buzz cut. I always thought it would feel gross, but it just felt nice.

I spent a lot of time sitting on the floor of the bathroom with him. He’s young, probably 6-10 months old at the most, so he was very playful and not always careful with those intact claws. But when he bit a little too hard and I said “no” he let go at once. I also almost taught him to fetch with one of our unused catnip toys. Like Tadashi at that age, he vacillated quickly between wanting cuddles and wanting to pounce on something — sometimes at the same time. But he was alert and friendly and he purred as loud as the loudest cats I’ve ever known.

Surprising nobody, I kind of loved him right away. I’m like that with animals and most especially any animal that comes to me for help. Little hairless buddy asked me to take care of him, so I Florence Nightingaled my way into caring about him at once. Enough to have been perfectly happy keeping him, honestly. Even though I never want another cat as young as Tadashi again. He’d be worth it.

But, thankfully, it turned out his real home was next door. So he was only my hairless buddy for maybe 3 hours before I brought him home (with a few of his toys as well).

In case anybody’s worried, we did all the right things not knowing his medical history — we washed every time we pet him, we kept any soft materials in bags to be laundered before they go back into circulation, we didn’t let Tadashi and Kiba near any water he drank, etc. I’ve also raised FLV cats and know the risks. The worst he seemed to have was either a buildup in his ears or maybe mites — thus the precautions with the blanket. Generally he was a happy, healthy, well-socialized, curious, playful cat.

And unlike Kiba, had clearly never known anything but humans being kind and friendly and loving. Little hairless buddy didn’t have any fear behaviors at all, just reasonable “I’m in a new place” uncertainty. Which tells me everything I could ever need to know about my neighbors (not that I didn’t know they were cool to start with).

I’m happy he went home even if I’m sad I don’t get to learn more about him or pet him. I don’t even know his name. We don’t talk much to those neighbors and they’re kind of on opposite schedules from us, but if I get the chance I would absolutely kitty-sit him if needed. He’s back home where he’s happy and loved and cared for and that’s what matters — but I still miss him a little bit.

Even I don’t know how many cats I’ve fallen in love with over the years, but it is probably literally dozens if not hundreds. Cats, like most people, I find easy to love.

What surprised me most about the whole adventure was how Kiba and Tadashi took it. Since the cat lives on our floor and we’ve heard him before, they know his sounds and scents. Once he was in our bathroom, they were curious about the door, nervous, Tadashi doing his “there is someone in my space and I am not liking it” slink, but neither was aggressive or territorial about it. But, then, Kiba was in a foster situation before he came home with us and knows about cats coming and going in close proximity. And Tadashi is just…once he decides you’re okay, he likes everyone. If we’d had to keep little hairless buddy for longer, I think they would have taken to him just fine in time.

Afterwards, Kiba and Tadashi came for their usual nightly pets and snuggles and, for them, it’s like nothing ever happened. And the bathroom is back to normal, too, with just a little extra laundry to do.

But I had a day with a new friend and got a good picture of him, and that’s enough for me.

I also got this picture of Tadashi tonight when he couldn’t decide if he wanted pets or play and kind of fell asleep in the middle because he’s a goof like that.

I love my little hairless buddy a little, but I love my actual boys so, so very much.

Tadashi, a fluffy black and white tuxedo cat, lying on his back facing up with his tummy exposed. His paws are loose to the sides and his eyes are half-open like he just woke up from a nap. He's lying on a knitted afghan looking very, very cute and photogenic.

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Me and my weird stats

So, for as long as I’ve put serious effort into writing, I’ve been tracking everything I begin and everything I finish. I mostly only celebrate what I finish, but today is going to be different. However, to do that, you have to understand when and how a story becomes — or doesn’t become — complete.

Since I started this tracking all the way back in 2004, I’ve developed basically a 3-stage writing process.

Stage 1 is the idea dump. I have a running document of ideas that I just gush out when they arrive, no censoring or editing. They’re numbered, and as time passes I either develop them into stories or decide the idea wasn’t worth saving and move it off the page. At present, that document is 27 pages long with 47 entries on it. (I probably need to thin it out again, honestly.) Stage 1 is where ideas get recorded so they’re not forgotten, and far more make it to reality than get discarded overall.

Stage 2 is the baby steps. I open a blank doc and start the story in some way. Maybe I only write a couple of lines of actual story and spend the rest of the page elaborating on my original idea with notes and outline info. Maybe I write the scene that came to me in full color and sound and try to work out what story goes around it. Either way, Stage 2 is my middle ground. Some stories, especially shorter works or stories that don’t need much in-depth outlining, get finished in Stage 2. I go from a doc of notes and bits to a whole completed work all in the same file.

But more and more frequently, as I get more serious, more focused, and as my outlining (and plotting) gets more complex, I advance to Stage 3. That’s where The Spreadsheet comes in.

Stage 3 is where I create a spreadsheet with a minimum of 3 tabs on it. Tab 1 is where I track my daily writing. Any day I work on the project, I record how many words it has at the end and compare to where it started. And I do nerdy things like check my average wordcounts, my min and max, etc. Tab 2 is my chapters tab where I put my outline, but broken up by chapter. I note all the beats and scenes I know are coming and update as I go with the ones I didn’t find until I got there. And I track how many words are in each chapter, what the chapter title is, etc.

From there, The Spreadsheet expands as fits the need of the project. For my Urban Fantasy, for example, I had a tab of all my characters and their info, a tab of “big notes” which was 2/3rds worldbuilding reminders for myself and 1/3rd links to useful resources, a tab showing the parallel plots with crossovers called out, and a tab tracking feedback from my beta readers. (I also have a whooooole spreadsheet for the query process, but that’s a different thing altogether.)

The Spreadsheet is my way of organizing my thoughts but also keeping myself accountable. If I’m not averaging at least 1,000 words every time I sit down to write, it helps me work harder. If I’m sensing a problem in the pacing, playing with my chapters in an outline list helps me spot where I need to adjust. And, frankly, most things I write are heavily dependent on information from elsewhere — maps, bits of history or science, reference pictures — and it’s easier for me to have it all in one place.

Stage 3 is where I have clearly declared that I’m taking a story seriously. I can’t say I’ve never gotten all the way to that level of planning and abandoned a work, but it’s rare. Stage 1 is a paper airplane, just a dream taking flight. Stage 2 is a hanglider — you can get around that way, but you can’t go far and you can’t weather a storm. Stage 3 is a proper airplane that will carry you across an ocean or above a hurricane.

Anyway. I told you all that so I could tell you this.

Since 2004, this process has worked wonders for me. I’ve spent close to 20 years tracking all my works from the shortest of short stories to the longest of novels. I’ve tracked when I’ve done character backgrounds or worldbuilding in TTRPGs as well as creative writing that will never see the light of day even on the internet. And I’ve also tracked when I advanced every project out of Stage 1. Maybe it’s 90% notes and only 10% story, or maybe it got to Stage 3 and has a spreadsheet before I put it aside for good, but I’ve tracked them all.

Last night, as I was organizing my spreadsheet for my YA that is fully in Stage 3, I got curious about those abandoned works.

Guess what I found?

Here is my writing tracker as it stands right now. This is completed works only, original, fic, TTRPG. But these are stories that are done only, no notes or outlines included:

A spreadsheet showing my writing totals by length of work (novel, novella, short story, etc). The overall count is 190 works totalling 3.6 million words.

Then I added up the wordcount for everything that has ever been started but discarded. I wasn’t careful with recording those — if the doc is 90% notes and 10% story, I still took the full wordcount of the doc rather than figuring out which bits were me talking to myself and which were narrative. Which means this figure is inflated.

Do you want to know the wordcount of stories I’ve begun in any way since 2004 but never finished?

52 individual works for a total of 329,901 words

Which means, in essence, of the 3,890,763 total words I’ve written since 2004, only a maximum of 8.5% has gone unfinished.

(And a lot of it doesn’t count. There’s fully 40,000 words of those discarded works which were folded into the Urban Fantasy story nearly wholesale. A lot of notes are counted in that 329,901, too, which I would never count in my finished works. So it’s inflated no matter how you look at it.)

Put another way…apparently once I advance a story from Stage 1 to Stage 2, I finish it 91.5% of the time if you go by wordcount. Going by count of works instead, it’s still a success rate of 78.5%. Either way, the vast majority of the time, if I begin, I finish.

Maybe it’s because I’m selective with my projects, with what I even consider putting any effort into. Maybe it’s because my process helps me stay focused and disciplined. Maybe it’s just because I’m damn stubborn about my writing.

But still. It’s a badass stat and I’m proud of it as a writer. I’m proud that I have come so far and can complete so much. I’m proud that every single work I have ever written is better than what came before it, even now. I’m proud of getting this far and I’m excited to get farther.

Sometimes when I’m struggling to be creative, it helps me to do a little analytical magic on my own accomplishments. It gives me a little scorecard, and that gives me a boost. And while I may still be learning, I think I’m a pretty good student getting pretty good grades here.

Time to go make progress on that YA that I’ve begun and get it to the finish line too. I’ve got a pattern to uphold here!

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I have a cosplay page!

On the excellent advice of someone I highly respect in the publishing world, I have added a whole page to this website chronicling my cosplay journey since 2013. With pictures! If you read this blog and you have awesome pictures of me especially from the years I’m missing, send them over! Otherwise, it’s a pretty nice timeline of how my style has evolved.

I’ll say nothing on the matter of skill. My sewing is as good as it’s ever been and it hasn’t progressed since I was 14. I can sew and it’s functional. If we want pretty, we shell out for experts.

I have to say, in the dream future where I have an author’s picture on a book somewhere — I really want it to be something like this from 2022. Maskless, but just as badass.

Me wearing a tiara with a moon on it perched on a crown of braids, red long-sleeved shirt, underbust corset, and golden shoulder armor that looks like dragon scales joined in front with a golden crescent moon.

Don’t you agree?

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I survived CONvergence!

Actually, I had a blast. There was plenty of chaos that was fun and silly — and plenty that was neither — and I managed to pace myself relatively well both physically and emotionally. I’m still TIRED AS FUCK, mind, but that’s to be expected after 4 days of 16 hour shifts and 2 days at either side moving in/out. I have lots of feelings about the performance Sarah and I did for HarmCon, and lots of stories (many of which are not really for the blog). But the point is that it was fun. It was good. It was, dare I say, restorative? Even though my heart breaks when it ends, there’s a moment in the middle of the convention when I have this absolute clarity about myself. When I know what I’m capable of. When I have done myself proud and I can look at myself and know that I am a badass. When I feel truly and wholly like I am exactly where I belong.

It’s a really good feeling. I try to hold onto it, but it always surprises me when it comes back.

Anyway. Due to the VERY TIRED I’m not going to try to get into all that now. But here’s a picture of me. I did 3 big dresses this year at con and this was the 2nd one. I went for kind of a valkyrie look and actually really enjoyed it. You can’t see the leather bracers or boots in this shot, nor the belt pouch. But it’s still good.

Me from a sideways angle wearing a leather crown with wings, a drapey blue gown, a moon pendant, and a mask and radio earpiece - looking slightly skeptical and having "artfully windswept" aka frizzy curly hair down my back

And, yes, that’s a bandage under my mask. Every year the wearing of a mask eventually turns into a need for something to keep from having my nose by rubbed to the point of open bleeding. I also messed up my feet, but there’s no need for photo evidence of that.

I’ll try to do better than a month between updates, but you know me. No promises until I have good cause to make them!

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“Oh so that’s what worries me…”

So, why haven’t I been posting lately?

Few reasons. Work has been a lot. It’s generally good, and I really do like my position, but it’s a lot. Many nights I’m on until 7 or later (though I get to make up for that by sleeping in), and it just…takes up room in my brain. Like devoting a spare bedroom to a friend who is here to stay for an undetermined amount of time.

Also, we’re gearing up for CONvergence and there’s too many things to do to list without actually downloading the proper task list and calendar. Again, mainly positive, but many mental resources go towards emails and logistics and supplies rather than blogging.

(And we all know I’m not exceptionally fond of the blogging. Of course it’s expected as a writer, but…anyway. Different rant.)

(Oh! Also! Sarah and I wrote a new song for CONvergence! It’s really good!)

Anyway.

I think the biggest reason I haven’t been posting is because I just don’t want to ramble about the query process.

Yes, I’m querying the Urban Fantasy novel I finished last year. It’s been beat to hell and back by my awesome readers, and I’m about as happy with it as I can be. I love my characters. I’m happy with the tone and voice. I think my plot works well and I like how the stories interweave along the way. It even has a title!

But the query process…pleh. It’s like school all over again. I enjoyed reading books in school; not so much writing book reports. I know why the process is what it is. I see the value in it. It’s just difficult.

And every writer who has ever queried has probably blogged or Tweeted or TikToked on that point at length. About how hard it is to get the query letter juuuuuust right. About how frustrating writing the perfect synopsis is (haven’t managed that one yet). About the time spent searching for and learning about agents to find someone I would genuinely love to partner with on my writing career. About the heartbreak of rejection.

Honestly? It’s taking up a lot of space in my head, but it doesn’t need more than that on the blog. There’s enough negativity about the process out there. And inside me.

But I’m okay. Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. And I don’t have to adore these parts of the process to still find it well worth the effort to try my best.

I do wonder what will become of this chaotic blog, though. I’ve had it a long time, and there’s some legitimately weird moments of life (and my cycling brain) captured here. Is having a blog nobody reads an asset? Is having a strange-as-hell blog a problem?

You know what? That’s a problem for Future Me. Future Me and Future Me’s agent (oh that construction hurts my brain) will figure it out.

Current me should get back to the tug-of-war I’m having with my synopsis. Either that or take a break from it and go back to writing chapters on the new novel.

This new one is fun and I’m kind of digging the YA vibe, honestly. Not sure I’d commit fully to never writing anything else, but it’s an interesting switch to be sure.

Here, have a song translated through Google too many times and now it makes no sense. But the “Pants!” bit makes me laugh every time and that’s worth something!

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Getting back to it

There’s always been a rhythm to my writing. And it doesn’t always make sense.

First I hit upon an idea, something worth writing about. Maybe a character, a theme, a question to answer, a situation to examine, even a combination worth seeing in action. This idea comes with a warm feeling in my heart of potential, a sense of “ah, this is where I’d like to live and rest for a bit.”

(“Rest” in the sense of this is where I’d like to make my home, stretch out, and see what I find. It’s a working rest, emphasis on the work.)

Then comes the development phase. Depending on the project, this might come to me all at once, a full-blown novel put together inside me with very little input from me. Those stories seem like they were always there waiting to be written and I’m just the first to hear them calling. But those are rare. More often, it’s me versus the outline. I tend to outline loosely for everything and tightly for complex projects. For a short fanfic in a universe I know really well, I might just list out the big emotional beats and get started. For anything novel-length, I tend to list out my chapters as an outline themselves. Chapter 1 is the intro and setting up the problem, chapter 2 complicates the problem, etc etc etc. Only after I get those down do I contemplate actually writing the thing down.

For really long projects or anything truly intricate, then I get into multiple pages that form one cohesive design document for the story. For the MCU fic, first I have a timeline starting in Dec 2012 and going through as far as I intended to write. It notes every movie in the MCU’s placement (including where movies happened over a period of time and various events need to be tracked), every event of my stories, even points where characters became aware of a thing or failed to become aware of a thing. It’s thin on the content but high on the order of events. Then I have a tab that started as a proper outline and became my chapter list. Every chapter appears with its title (and soundtrack song) and there are notes for every scene that happens in the chapter. The notes tend to be brief “Tony and Peter hang out” or “BIG FIGHT” but they tell me exactly where I am emotionally in the story and what needs to be moving. Then there is a notes tab I kept all along with all my loose threads, from the Winter Soldier and Steve to various hints for my nefarious plans. These I deleted as I went so that I knew for sure I’d covered them.

(Sometimes I had places in that tab or in the chapter tab where I would just write “Pleh.” Pleh means that either my beta spurred an idea that deviated from what I had already planned, or I had a later realization that I might need to adjust. Correcting for pleh is one of my least favorite things to do because it usually means I have to track every possible implication and ripple from the change and catch them all.)

Then there are lists and lists of other things. Names, relationshp trees, quotes, songs. Also wordcounts with daily tracking to see how I’m doing against the goals I set myself.

Spoiler alert: I have not tried to hold myself to any goals but one since Covid. I did make that one, though!

The upside of my process is that I am able to brain-dump everything from my character arcs and my worldbuilding to some specific gems of lines into one place in the beginning. Often my stories will surprise me, but rarely do they go wildly off the rails from my initial planning phase. (Except for particularly big plehs.)

The downside is that somewhere in doing all that mental preparation, I often lose steam on the enthusiasm part of the project. By the time I’ve documented all the twists and turns, figured out the exact right notes to play in the emotional scenes, adjusted my tempo and timing of chapters — that starburst of excitement has faded. The original idea is still there, carefully written out, but no longer feels so warm and all-encompassing. It feels more like a duty now, a homework assignment.

And that is why I often get stuck at the beginning of projects. Or at the end — when there are no more surprises for me and it’s just typing out the inevitable conclusion of all that’s come before.

There’s no real correlation I can find between the amount of pre-work I do and the chances of running out of steam. The MCU I did probably as much outlining and prep as I’ve done for any 3 projects and I still finished the first novel of it in something like 7 weeks. Other times my whole outline will be 8 lines of “this, then that, then the other thing, then splat, the end” and I can’t get past chapter 4. Sometimes the story comes out and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the outlines and planning are vast and sometimes they’re not.

But one thing they do have in common is a moment of doubt.

Between the original idea and the first attempt at a draft, there’s always a question. “Is this really worth doing? Is it any good?”

I’m learning not to let that question stop me, but it does sometimes. Especially if what I’m having trouble with is the beginning. Often I know more clearly where I’m going than where to begin, and so there are fits and starts before I find the right scene, the right line, the right moment to start the tale. And if I stumble, if I false start that moment…sometimes the doubt gets louder.

“Isn’t this boring? Isn’t this just a flash of an idea but no substance worth the time? Isn’t this something someone else could do better? Shouldn’t I just stop?”

You can see from my writing totals over the years how often I’ve put those questions aside, but you can’t see how often I haven’t been able to. I don’t count works unless they’re finished. My file of begun-but-left-idle stories is BIG.

And yet.

And yet and yet and yet…

Here we are again. Even as my beta group finishes reading the UF draft (and they like it!!!) and I prepare to make the final major edits before the query process (ugh save me I hate it sooooo), another idea came to me. The idea started with a villain’s motivation. And grew like a star forming from dust, drawing in disparate pieces until I had a fantasy world with thousands of years of history and culture slowly evolving to the detante in which my story is set. I have characters, a naming convention (I’m really pleased by this; I hate coming up with fantasy names), a central conflict which is only a single melody in the wider world’s ongoing symphony…

And I stopped.

Well, no. I wrote half of a chapter, but I hate all of it and need to start over. It doesn’t begin where it should and the beginning doesn’t move what needs to move.

But here I am again. Picking up the prism and turning it sideways.¬†When I get it right, the light will strike and I’ll see a rainbow.

Every act of writing is an act of courage against doubt, of determination against doubt, of discipline against frustration. And of feeling. Of loving characters, of searching for the way to be heard, of hoping to reach someone else through the pages and screens.

This is my act of creation. And it scares me every time, even after a score of novels and a literal hundred shorter works. The risk is always the same. The doubt is always present.

But stories need to be told and people need to be able to find them. And I need to tell this one even without fully knowing why yet. My outline doesn’t tell me what I’ll get from the experience, after all.

Guess I better get back to it and find out.

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Tonight’s thoughts

I am falling in and out of love all at once.
My home is precious, filled with memory, history, community.
And my land is dangerous, hate overtaking love all around me.
I’ve never loved it more and I’ve never felt so afraid to stay.
Either way, I will be broken-hearted in the end.
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Catching up

2022 got away from me. Work went crazy with 2 separate promotions, Sarah and I got a horrific case of Covid that took us fully down for 2 months and we still have some residual Long Covid even 6 months since then, really bad stuff happened in the middle of summer that kind of crushed my sense of self-worth…

It was just a lot.

I did finish a novel. An original, Urban Fantasy that I’ve just sent to my small beta group tonight. I’m going to try to query it. And if that doesn’t work out, I’ll go back and reconsider self-publishing it and Dragonroe just so both get to breathe in the world.

2022 was a hell of a year. I catalogued it along the way most often by writing poetry on Twitter in the middle of the night. So what I’m doing now is going back and putting one of those poems up each month of 2022. Not in any specific order other than the order in which I wrote them. But a poem I wrote in August might show up in March. It doesn’t matter.

The point isn’t the time – the point is that I’m still here, I’ve always had feelings, and I’m okay sharing them now.

I can’t promise a whoooole lot more posting in 2023, but I can try. Especially if this query thing goes anywhere, probably this should be a slightly less dead space!

The 4 people who read this – thanks for sticking with me.

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