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.

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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!

 

 

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.

The Romance Arc

I’m writing the almost final chapter of my 2nd Oddites book (other than a short epilogue), which also happens to be the final love scene. I never write sex just for sex’s sake–I like my sex scenes to also move the plot along, especially the romance plot. Things that happen during intimacy often mirror what’s happening in other parts of one’s life (things like control or loss of control, denial or acceptance, trust or distrust). Even outside of BDSM, there’s also something quite powerful about the act of topping. Or bottoming.

When I was writing my first mmromance full length novel, I didn’t really understand the romance arc. Oh, I knew that my two leads had to have flaws that had prevented them from falling in love and all that. I just didn’t entirely get how their romance arc beats were supposed to work and intertwine with the mystery/suspense plot. I have to give thanks to my editors at Riptide for helping me develop that in my first book. I still didn’t truly understand it until I read Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes. She put it all into very simple terms (with lots of fun 80’s music references).

Basically it was summed up for me in one line. “Love conquers all.” The heart of the romance arc is that love finds a way to overcome whatever external obstacles there are between the two characters, but more importantly also overcomes whatever internal barriers there may be. Understanding that, I’m getting a whole new perspective of my characters and their relationship. I wrote an entire chapter over the weekend that I never expected to write, which was mostly about them, their hopes and fears, and dealing with the emotional aftermath from the climax scene. I’m really happy with it.

Anyways, with each new book, I’m learning something new, and improving all the time.

Just about to hit 98,000 words. Less than 3000 words to go to finish this thing.

A Race to the Finish–WIP progress

Ah, September!  Finally an end to the 100 degree nights that is summer in Arizona. Nevermind the 100 degree plus days. Those won’t end until October. But at least the nights are starting to be bearable.

September also means something else–that I have less than one month left to finish, edit, and turn in the 2nd Oddities book, Fraud Twice Felt. I originally estimated it would be 90k, much like the first Oddities book, but my villain proved stronger than I anticipated, the climax much larger and more complicated, and so I find myself now sitting at 91k, going, “Crap! I need to get this thing finished!!”  I estimate about three chapters to go in order to finish the thing. Editing?  Ergh. May not have time for much of that.

So here’s where all the works in progress currently stand:

 

Current WIPs:

1. Fraud Twice Felt (The Oddities Book 2, paranormal M/M suspense), now at 91,682 words, NOW estimated to be about 100k. ACK!  Due to publisher by October 1.

2. Fae Fortunes (YA M/M paranormal), currently at 45,563 words, estimated 65k.

3. Deena and the Professor (Trudy Judd, BDSM romance), Seven out of 10 parts written, first 7 parts published, currently at 2862 words on Part 8 (estimated to be 8k).

4. Forest of Thorns and Claws (weretiger M/M). Received the notes back from the publisher, will work on developmental edits as soon as the 2nd Oddities book is done and turned in.

5. Fantasy novel currently at 81,675 words, total will be 110k. Right now this one is the lowest of my priorities.

 

Villains You Love to Hate

I recently watched Suicide Squad, which I found to be a fun superhero movie, despite some criticisms of the editing. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Harly Quinn, the Joker’s little puppet and love interest, and I think Margot did an exceptional job at portraying the completely crazy villainess. Jared Leto was also fantastic as the Joker.

A really good villain is one that you can’t help loving, even if they’re really, really bad. Maybe it’s because you have some understanding about why they became the way they are, or maybe their personality is just so infectious that you can’t help liking them. Or maybe they have awesome powers and they’re just plain cool. (We all loved Darth Vader long before we knew anything about his past. In fact, learning his past diminished some of his coolness, I think.)

Maybe it’s that allure of power that draws us towards certain villains. Maybe it’s the cool clothing. Villains tend not to care what anyone thinks of them. They’re supreme in their self-confidence. That can be attractive.

Or maybe they do things we only wish we could. The Joker loves to wreak mayhem, particularly on stuffy rich folk. Hannibal Lector eats whatever–and whomever–he wants. Voldemort is practically worshiped by his followers. And Lucifer gives you everything you desire . . . then takes your soul.

So anyways, I enjoyed Suicide Squad because it brought together a lot of evil, selfish villains, gave each of them a weakness, and put them in a situation where they had to decide between being selfish or doing something good for once. I liked it, and I wanted to take Harly Quinn home even though she’d most likely kill me.

And that brings me to the writing of my latest book, Fraud Twice Felt (Book 2 of the Oddities). I’m writing the climax, which has a lot of characters moving around and a lot of action. I have a villain that appeared in the first book that I’ve come to adore, but I need to somehow resolve his story arc in order for my heroes to move forward to the next book. This villain is charming, suave, but also vicious, like a snake. I’m thinking of making him even cooler to really up the stakes in the climax. (Can’t say how–it would be a major spoiler.)

And then? I probably should kill him, because otherwise everyone knows he’ll continue to be a threat out there, unresolved. But I’m finding I don’t want to kill him!

-Sigh.- And that’s the dilemma of loving your villain.

 

 

Progress report for July

Apparently it’s been a while since my last WIP progress report, which gives a hint as to how busy my life has been. The edits to the first Oddities book kicked my butt, as did my working from home and personal life. I’m hoping things will start to smooth out as we head into fall. Look for the next Deena book coming out in a few days!

 

Current WIPs:

1. Fraud Twice Felt (The Oddities Book 2, paranormal M/M suspense), now at 80,609 words, estimated to be about 90k. I’m writing the climax scene! Due to publisher by October 1.

2. Fae Fortunes (YA M/M paranormal), currently at 44,037 words, estimated 65k.

3. Deena and the Professor (Trudy Judd, BDSM romance), Seven out of 10 parts written, first 6 parts published, currently at 476 words on Part 8 (estimated to be 8k).

4. Fantasy novel currently at 81,352 words, total will be 110k. Right now this one is the lowest of my priorities.