Whirlpools

Years ago when I was first starting my writing career, I used to read Dean Wesley Smith a lot, and I attended one of his workshops at a writing convention. One of the words he used that stuck with me is the concept of “whirlpools” that writers can fall into. These whirlpools represent situations or issues that stop all progress forward and can suck a writer down into oblivion.

I seem to be stuck in a whirlpool right now.  A bunch of monkeys on my back dragged me into it–monkeys with names like “Laid Off” and “Major Paycut” and “Sole Breadwinner.” Not to mention “Chronic Pain,” “Buried By Debt” and “Medically Untreatable.” It’s rather dark in the whirlpool, and it doesn’t help that I’m also trying to support a partner who struggles with anxiety and depression, and a soon-to-be-graduating child with issues of her own. When I try to write, all of that crap invades my head, and I can barely get a word out.

I know this whirlpool is temporary. I’ve already let go of the worry and despair I felt last year while battling the chronic hip pain, and settled into a sort of acceptance of “Okay, so this is the new me. I hurt most of the time and I can only do a few activities each day. Oh well.” And then I try to celebrate each little thing I manage to get done. And the financial situation will also be temporary, because I’m already moving up in the mundane call-center job and one way or another I’ll fight my way back up to a livable wage. Or I’ll sell enough crap to make a dent in that fucking debt. One way or another, I’ll survive.

All of this doesn’t change the fact that I feel bad about not getting the books out faster. It pains me to know there may be readers waiting for Book 3 of the Oddities . . . and it’s not even close to done yet. I’m sorry. I’m working on it, and eventually I will finish the book and get it out there, but I truly regret the delay.

So anyways, here’s the current WIPs as of 4/30/2018:

  1.  A Conspiracy Uncovered (Book 3 of the Oddities series), at 65,850 words, moving into the steady climb toward the climax, and still estimated to be about 95k when complete.
  2. Fae Fortunes (YA M/M paranormal), currently at 64,689 words, just about at the climax scene, maybe ending with 80k??
  3. The Gang’s All Here (Deena and the Professor Part Nine, BDSM serial romance), currently at 8584 words, estimated to be 12k total.
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A day late and a dollar short–more, actually.

As far as I’m concerned, 2017 can go fuck itself. I wanted to make this post near the beginning of this year, but life hasn’t been letting me do much of what I want lately. In 2017 I began having chronic pain in my back and hips with sciatica, and despite physical therapy, various drugs and some procedures, I’m still having chronic pain even now. Combine that together with my current under-employed status and the stress of not having enough to pay bills and relying on help from family, and it makes for a pretty poor setting to be writing anything at all.

2017 was the worst year for writing since about 2010 or so . . . or at least that’s what it felt like. I haven’t yet looked at the numbers, so we’ll see.

Here’s my breakdown of what I wrote in 2017:

Oddities book: I wrote a total of 48,146 words, bringing the book to 60,242 words by December 31, 2017. (estimated to be 95k at completion).

Fae book: I wrote a total of  8,849 words, bringing this book to 61,662 in 2017. Estimated total length? I have no clue, since it’s already longer than I originally planned. I’m not even at the climax scene yet!

Deena tales: I finished the 8th tale and published it and then started on the 9th tale. Total words written: 8096. (9th tale ended at 5487 words for the year)

Total words written in 2017: 65,091.

Total words written in 2016?  152, 421.

Yeah, 2017 was a bad year. I wish I could say 2018 is doing better, but it’s actually doing even worse, so far.

My only goals this year are to finish the three books listed above. That’s it. If I can do that, I’ll be happy. On the bright side, I actually published 4 things in 2017–the two books with Riptide, Part 8 of the Deena tales (under another pseudonym), and I republished the novella that originally was published by Torquere. I’m a little down that my full-length novels sell as much as I hoped, particularly the second Oddities book, Fraud Twice Felt. But I received mostly good reviews and those who did read them seemed to enjoy them.

(My other goals for 2017 are to find a job that can actually pay the bills, and find some way to manage the chronic pain that doesn’t rely on something like narcotics. Errrgh. )

Send me a prayer or a kind word. I could really use it.

A Quick Update

I know I’ve been very quiet lately–barely any online presence at all. The last two months have been a blur for me, trying simply to get through each day. I understand now what chronic pain is, and how it can swallow your life whole.

I feel like I’m barely crawling, in getting anything done at all. That includes writing. The old spoons analogy really applies here–I look at each day and know that I’ll only be able to do a few things before I have to lay in the recliner and let the aggravated nerves settle down again.

But today hopefully that will change. I’m heading out in an hour to do a procedure where my doctor will be cauterizing some of the nerves in my lower back and sacral area, so that I no longer have these shooting pains down my legs and the ever-present dagger in my back. Apparently it all comes from arthritis, which I seem to be developing at an alarming rate. I’m not THAT old!!

Wish me luck.

***

WIPs:

Book Three of the Oddities series: currently at 48,501 words. (Plus about 1200 words hand written in a notebook needing to be typed into the Word file).

Fae Fortunes: currently at 58,741 words.

Deena and the Professor Part Nine: 3006 words.

The Third Oddities Book

So I’m writing, not as quickly as I’d like to be writing, but nevertheless making progress on my books in progress. I’m at the halfway point of the 3rd Oddities book now, and I have a few options in the coming chapters of the characters from previous books I could bring in.

I’m debating on who would be best to help Derwin and Elliot in their latest endeavor, and therefore, I’m putting up a poll for readers. Is there a particular character you’d like to see return in Book 3? This book will focus on that shadow organization mentioned in Book One, and the larger threat to Oddities in Nis.

I’d love to hear some feedback. Thanks! And yes, the picture is what I imagine Lacey to look like. I haven’t found pictures for the others yet.

 

 

Time for another update

It’s been a while since I gave an update of my works in progress, so here we go! May was an incredibly busy month thanks to the release of two novels, but now things have quieted down and I’m trying to focus on writing.  While work, health concerns and personal life continue to make meeting my goals difficult, I’m trying my best.

So here’s as of  June 15:

  • Book 3 of the Oddities series, 41,526 words, estimated final length 95k.
  • Fae Fortunes (gay paranormal YA), currently at 56,918 words, estimated final length 65k.
  • Deena and the Professor Part 9 (as Trudy Judd, BDSM serial), currently at 2133 words, final estimated 10k.

Once I complete one of these projects, then I’ll probably work on another installment of my Hard Hat short stories between Gary and Tim, construction workers figuring out a relationship together.

After that? I’m not entirely sure. I still have a lesbian mystery series set at a college knocking around inside my skull, or something new may come along, demanding to be written. We’ll see. I know I have 3 more books in the Oddities series featuring a new set of main characters. Beyond that, again I’m not sure if I’ll end the series or keep going. I tend to be somewhat of a “pantster,” meaning I write by the seat of my pants with only a vague idea of the path. I always have some idea of the ending, but it’s the journey that is a mystery.

 

And now I’ll get back to it!

 

 

Life’s Hurdles

January was a disaster.

I started a new job making less than half what I made before in a call center where every second is monitored and controlled. (No really!) It’s a large financial institution, so they’re very strict. It’s basic customer service and what I was doing in my twenties, so I feel like I’ve leapt back a decade. I’m trying not to feel like a loser, which is difficult because I’m not even making enough to pay all the bills.

Then on top of that, on Friday the 20th, while driving at night in pouring rain, I was sideswiped by another driver who took off afterwards. And it wasn’t my car, but my partner’s car, and therefore her insurance, so I felt even worse. Car’s now in the shop so we’re having to share and she’s having to drive me to and from work. I’m fine, but I really didn’t need this crap.

Then we both had the flu. Recovered now, but all of this meant that my writing and editing goals for the month went right out the window.

And guess what? My fun still wasn’t over!  The first week of February, while my partner was driving my car, some old lady backed into it. So that’s another car to fix and another having to deal with an insurance claim. Again, happy that nobody was hurt, and this time there was a driver at fault who had insurance. But UGH!!!  Enough already!

I’m not even going to bother posting word counts at the moment. Just know that the third Oddities book is coming along okay–it’s at about 19,000 words in the Word document, plus a bunch of pages that are hand written and need to be typed in. I’m in the second round of line edits for the second Oddities book, which is set to be published May 29. And I’m slogging (SLOOOOWWWLY) through the first round of edits for my weretiger m/m novel, set to be published May 15.

So just letting everyone know that I haven’t disappeared, but my online time these days is almost nil.

The last news is that I received my rights back from Torquere Press for my m/m/m novella, “Friday at the 7-Eleven.” I have someone to format it and I’m working on a new cover, and then I’ll republish it. (It’s still up on Amazon under Torquere. I’ve asked that they take it down.)

Thank you for all the reviews. That’s one thing that’s helping me get through this difficult time. I appreciate all of them.

 

2017 Writing Goals

Every year I try to make a list of goals that I want to achieve with my writing. (I also have monthly and daily goals. It keeps me on track.) In 2015 I had my best writing year ever, writing over 200,000 words. I knew I’d never match that in 2016 with working from home and my partner’s health issues, so the goal I set for 2016 was 185,000 words.

I didn’t make it, but it wasn’t too bad a year. In 2016, I wrote a total of 152,421 new words on books. I don’t count blog posts, editing, or any other words for promotional purposes, just new words on novels and short fiction.

My other goals were to:

  • complete edits for Murder Once Seen and promote it:  Done
  • finish and submit Book Two of the Oddities series (Fraud Twice Felt)– done
  • finish and self-publish my m/m weretiger novel–done, except I chose instead to submit it to Riptide, so they’ll be publishing it
  • finish and submit my YA m/m novel–not done
  • finish and self-publish my 3rd pen name erotica serial romance–7/10 parts done and published, almost done with Part 8.
  • finish the fantasy novel in my first pen name–lol, still not done. Lowest of my priorities.

2017 Goals:

So now, since I know I’ll be deep in editing for the first quarter of the year on two books coming out in the next six months, plus since I’m starting a new job tomorrow and don’t know what my writing schedule will be, I’m going to keep my writing goals for 2017 conservative.

My goal for 2017 is to write 150,000 new words.

In addition, my goals for 2017 are to complete editing and promote the books Forest of Thorns and Claws and Fraud Twice Felt, finish the YA m/m paranormal book and submit it, complete the last parts of the Deena erotic serial romance, write the 3rd Oddities book, and maybe, just maybe finish the never ending fantasy novel.

 

Current Projects:

1. Forest of Thorns and Claws (weretiger M/M), completed, final length 65k: Developmental edits submitted, awaiting line edits. Currently scheduled to release 3/20.

2. Fraud Twice Felt: The Oddities Book Two, (gay paranormal), completed, final length 98k: Working on line edits. Currently scheduled to release 5/29.

3. Fae Fortunes (YA M/M paranormal), currently at 52,813, estimated total 65k.

4. Deena and the Professor (Trudy Judd, BDSM romance), 7 out of 10 parts written, almost done with Part 8 which is currently at 10,800. Estimating 12k for Part 8, 10k for Part 9, and 9k for Part 10.

5. A Conspiracy Uncovered: The Oddities Book Three (gay paranormal), currently at 12,096, total estimated 95k.

6. Fantasy novel currently at 87,257 words, total will be 110k.

If I total up the words needed to finish all these current WIPS, it comes to about 138k. So there’s my year, basically.