Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 32

Blogland!

We’re buckling up for another hot week here in the Pacific Northwest. The fans are blasting, with ample water in supply. Although, my yard is definitely worse for the wear. But, the writing den is cool and comfortable today, which means it’s time to get to work.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write/share one tumblr prompt
  • Write 1k of The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
  • Read Broken Homes
  • Read through The Steel Armada/send to Madhu
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write/share one tumblr prompt
    • Yep! Early in the week I finished and posted a Dragon Age tumblr prompt to a few notes and comments.
  • Write 1k of The Fall of Ezra Clarke
    broken homes
    • Nope. Only wrote 88 words on this project this week.
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
    • Nope. Not even a little bit.
  • Read Broken HomesYes! I didn’t think I’d make this one, but I finished it in the wee hours last night.
  • Read through Exodus:Descent/send to Madhu
    • Yep! This was a bigger task than I anticipated, which warranted labeling the file “Draft 2.5”. So now it’s sitting somewhere between drafts two and three.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Yarp. Madhu’s been struggling a little bit as she’s slogging through the last pages of her rewrite. But, I’m diligent in getting her pages back to her in a timely manner.

Weekly Word Count: 2,927

So, not a crazy good week, but not a bad one either. Revising Exodus is really my top priority, so I don’t feel so bad about neglecting Ezra this week. The reading and blogging continue to be consistent. I’ve got tumblr prompts to keep my mind engaged and working on new content. Work on Ezra has slowed, mainly because I’m not really sure where the story is going, and I have a feeling a rewrite is on the way. But, we’ll see.

Saturday evening I received word that, yet again, The Cost of Rain made it to the final round but did not get selected for publication. However, the magazine offered feedback which, though brief, was actually quite good. I made the subsequent changes and sent it off to the next place.

I also finally got my hands on The Audient Void short stories for issue #6. Doing the line edits took up one of my evenings, and I can’t wait for you all to see it! These stories are really good!

the audient void no 5
Or buy a copy here!

If you’re at WorldCon this weekend you can pick up a copy of The Audient Void Issue #5 at The Book Bin’s booth as well as get your books signed by a slew of wonderful authors!

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Send Exodus: Descent to Tim the Agent™
  • Sort out The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Read Foxglove Summer
  • Review Madhu’s pages

That’s it. I need to keep it simple this week. Submitting Exodus is my biggest priority. And the most complicated. In order to send it this week I need to finish the revision (currently adding some extras and honing the ending) and write and perfect the query letter. So, yeah. That’s a big job on its own.

Once that’s done I need to sit down and decide if I try to slog through Ezra as it is, or start fresh with that new take on it that’s bouncing around my brain. I’m increasingly thinking that it’s time to start over. But, that can wait until Exodus is done.

I am running out of time with these Peter Grant books. I have until the 21st to read them all, and I only have two left! That means, if I’m not writing, I’m reading.

And of course there will be time to review Madhu’s pages. I’ll probably even send her some snippets of the changes I’ve made to Exodus, just to be sure they’re working before I send it off.

So, yeah. There’s a lot of work ahead of me this week. I’ll be back, probably on Thursday, to share my review of Broken Homes, and then you probably won’t see much of me. I gotta get this biz done!

So until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

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Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 31

Blogland!

This week was extremely productive. Like, the most productive week I’ve had in a long time. It was also exhausting, and then suddenly very relaxing. Apparently I was all over the place this week!

Last Week

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Edit The Steel Armada
  • Write 1k words for The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Read Whispers Under GroundWhispers_Under_Ground
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I Do?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
    • Yep. The first of the month saw the upload of The Recap and the review for Bloodlist is up now!
  • Edit The Steel Armada
    • Good Lordy bajornies, YES! It took about 16+ hours of work, but yes. It’s done!
  • Write 1k words for The Fall of Ezra Clarke
    • Yep! Still have no idea where this story is going but I’m happy to spend time with these characters.
  • Read Whispers Under Ground
    • Yarp. I think I finished it on Tuesday?
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • You know it!

Weekly Word Count: 4,163

Y’all. Holy Crow what a week! There was lots of reading (Whispers Under Ground, The Productive Writer, and Here There be Gerblins), a ton of editing that rendered my brain into gray pudding and brought about a level of crankiness I hadn’t experienced in years. Also, there was a stupid amount of iced coffee just to keep me functional and even that still felt like running on fumes come Friday afternoon.

Exodus Descent RD
Notice the title? More details on that later this week!

Thursday and Friday were days off for me. I printed out the rough draft on Wednesday (all 81 pages), and then woke up on Thursday with one goal in mind: I would sit down and edit as much as my brain could possibly handle. I knew the ending needed rewriting, and I wanted to get that done on Friday if I could. Which meant I needed to get more than half way through the manuscript on Thursday.

That was… taxing. I’ll share an Editing Check-In this week where I’ll talk about the entire process (how I start, how I know when to call a draft done and move on to the next stage, what problem areas I focus on when, etc), but let’s just say that it was a freaking gauntlet.

work work work

After that, I was pretty much useless. A migraine and a completely wrecked sleep schedule later, I sank some hours into one of my Dragon Age: Inquisition playthroughs, read a little fanfic, and played Gloomhaven over the weekend. Which only worked out because I had finished all of my other goals by Friday night.

I’m beginning to think that the writing I’m doing for The Fall of Ezra Clarke is actually just background/foundation work. Right now its too passive, too high school drama. But if I can understand their pasts I can write their futures into something much more compelling. So, I’m just going to keep on until I hit on the actual story. I’ll hone it in from there.

There’s a sudden sense of freedom having The Steel Armada deep in its editing stages. I can work on… anything! I still have short stories out for submission, I’m working on a new sci-fi story (Ezra), I have ideas for a new novel series and a new short story. I have Cards to revise, and the rough draft of From the Quorum to finish. For the first time since 2014, I finally fee like I have options.

I'm free

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write/share one tumblr prompt
  • Write 1k of The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
  • Read Broken Homes
  • Read through The Steel Armada/send to Madhu
  • Review Madhu’s pages

That’s a busy week. Lots of bullet points. But it’s mostly reading, some editing, and a little bit of writing. Lucky for me, I (mostly) enjoy all of those things! I’m still a little tired, my mind not quite as sharp as I’m used to, but that could just be because I haven’t had my coffee yet.

So, I’m off to remedy that, and probably snag some breakfast while I’m at it. I’ll be back this week with the review for Whispers Under Ground and an Editing Check-In. So, until then, I hope you all had a good weekend, and that the week ahead treats you right.

Talk soon, Bloggos.

 

BZ

 

The Recap – July 2018

Blogland!

We’re over the hill this summer. Can you believe it? It’s August. Before you know it, it’ll be September, and then I’ll be in Germany, and then it’ll be rainy and fall all over again. But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about July.

July Goals

  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Write chapters 6 and 7 of Sanctuary
  • Complete tumblr prompts
  • Santa Sarita recordings
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

Well? How’d I do?

  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
    • Yes! Wait, well, no. I wrote an average of 307 words a day. HOWEVER, I did finish it. So, I’m calling that a big ol’ win.
  • Write chapters 6 and 7 of Sanctuary
    • Nope. But I did finish chapter six! Hurray!
  • Complete tumblr prompts
    • Yes! And when I announced such on my writer’s discord I was immediately inundated with a brand new batch of tumblr prompts. Oy vey.
  • Santa Sarita recordings
    • No? I did one this month. So at least they’re ongoing, but I wanted to do finish the first part of Santa Sarita this month and that did not happen.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep! The Cost of Rain has been out for a while. I’m likely to hear back about it early this month. Lifelike had a rejection, and is back out.
  • Keep reading!
    • Yarp. So much reading! I posted four book reviews in July, and I still have two more reviews to write  for books I read this month. So, six books down in July!

Total July Word Count: 19,256

Overall, I think July was a very successful month. I mean, look at that word count! That’s the highest word count I’ve had this year so far! I wrote a tumblr prompt each week, wrote a chapter of Sanctuary, and wrote three chapters of The Steel Armada. That’s a lot of writing. Like, a lot a lot. I’m pretty stoked about it. Feels good, man.

And I read so much! So many books! Kill the Farm Boy, Brief Cases, three Peter Grant books, and Bloodlist. So. Many. Books.

Submissions continue, as you do. I’ve actually managed to forget about it for a little bit, which has been nice. There’s a sort of fatigue that comes with submitting fiction. There’s a constant buzzing worry in the back of my head, but I’ve been so busy this month that I was able to ignore it for a while.

Now if I can just keep this momentum going…

August Goals

  • Submit The Steel Armada to Tim the Agent™
  • Finish The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Santa Sarita recordings
  • Keep reading!
  • Tumblr prompts
  • Write chapters 7+8 of Sanctuary

So, another full month. I’m aiming high for this summer and with our big trip coming up I need to make the most of the time I do have. My biggest priority is editing The Steel Armada and getting out to the agent I met at the writing conference back in April. My mental deadline for that is August 15th, four months since the conference. I’ve got a couple weeks to polish up this novella and then I can develop an ulcer in peace.

Ezra is going okay. It’s a little wandering right now, but I’m just writing it through and seeing where it goes. I think there’s a lot that will get cut, but that can’t happen until I know what the entire story looks like. This is my second priority for the month and will become the top priority once The Steel Armada is off into the ether of an agent’s inbox.

Santa Sarita recordings continue to be a fun side project, something I can do when I have energy but little writing gas in the tank. Plus, reading over the older stories in my fanfic series motivates me to work on the current story. It’s like a see-saw, and each time I work on one, I get bounced back into the other.

Reading will continue. There’s still Side Jobs, Here There be Gerblins, Yes Please, and four more Peter Grant books, plus the graphic novels. So, yeah. Lots and lots of reading ahead. I’m looking forward to it.TAZ Here There be Gerblins

I’ve got a mountain of tumblr prompts thanks to my friends in the writer’s discord. If I continue writing one a week, I should be able to get them all done before I go to Germany. Should. We’ll see how that pans out.

And that’s August. Hopefully. There’s a lot of work to be done, starting with getting the ending of The Steel Armada tweaked and ready to send to Madhu for review.

I’ll be back later this week with a couple of book reviews, since I finished both Bloodlist and Whispers Under Ground.

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 30

Blogland,

This week absolutely flew by, and with a heatwave in Salem I had a good excuse to stay indoors and get some work done.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish The Steel Armada
  • Finish an audiobook
  • Finish reading Whispers Under Ground
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish The Steel Armada
    • YES! The story is done! The ending needs tweaking, but more on that in a bit.
  • Finish an audiobook
    • Yep. Bloodlist is done, thanks to yet another migraine.vampire files #1
  • Finish reading Whispers Under Ground
    • Nope. Sadly, I just didn’t manage to make time for this.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Duh-doy. I always do.

Weekly Word Count: 3,729

I may not have done the reading I really wanted to this week, but gosh darn it, I finished my novella and that’s way more important! The ending isn’t quite right, but I don’t really know why. I’m stewing on it for now, and hope that, as I edit this week, it’ll sort itself out.

This is really all I did this week. I wrote a tumblr prompt once The Steel Armada was done, and have since started working on a new original project, thanks to a poll from my friends in my writer’s discord.

So, What’s next?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Edit The Steel Armada
  • Write 1k words for The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Read Whispers Under GroundWhispers_Under_Ground
  • Review Madhu’s pages

I could probably add “record an episode of Santa Sarita“, but I think I’ll do that as a bonus if everything else pans out. This week is all about reading, editing, and a little bit of writing. I’m gonna try and make a tumblr prompt happen tomorrow night, that way I can cross that off my July Goals list, but we’ll see. I’ve already got 600ish words of Ezra done thanks to a good sprint session on the writer’s discord this afternoon, so that’s awesome. And of course, if I’m writing a new story, that means I’ve made a new playlist.

And I absolutely love it!

So yeah, that’s it. Gonna keep things simple for the first week of August. I’ve got at least one book review for this week, Bloodlist, and hopefully another if I can really buckle down and get this Peter Grant book done. And let’s not forget the Monthly Recap, due out on Wednesday!

Lifelike got a rejection, which I think I mentioned recently. It’s already back out, and The Cost of Rain is still being held. I’ll probably hear back about it in the next week or so, so cross those fingers and toes y’all.

I’ll be back soon with a book review. Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 29

Bloggos,

This was an insane week for me! The most productive I’ve been in weeks and I am so ready to talk about it.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 8 of The Steel Armada
  • Finish chapter 6 of Sanctuary
  • Post a tumblr prompt
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
  • Finish an audiobook
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 8 of The Steel Armada
    • YES! It took longer than I anticipated, with some very diligent writing sessions where I stared at the blank screen furiously, but I did it.
  • Finish chapter 6 of Sanctuary
    • YES! Whaaaaat???? I honestly didn’t think this would happen, but I got a second win after Gloomhaven last night.
  • Post a tumblr prompt
    • Yep. Actually, I posted two of them. The first was not my favorite, the prompt really fought me and I couldn’t really get it to come together the way I wanted it to. But the second one? Pure gold. Maybe one of the best oneshots I’ve ever written. So that felt really good.
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
    • Yes! This was another project I didn’t think I’d get to, but I finished it up last night, before I dug into chapter 6 of Sanctuary.
  • Finish an audiobook
    • Nope. I’m getting really close to the end of Side Jobs, and might finish Bloodlist today while I do household chores. So, close, but no cigar. vampire files #1
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Of course!

Weekly Word Count: 8,599

Do you see that word count? Do you see it? How has my brain not turned to mush? How is it not dribbling from my ears and left me a gibbering mess? Instead I’m left feeling proud and energized and ready to tackle whatever comes next.

This last week I wrote an entire chapter of The Steel Armada, half a chapter of Sanctuary, and two tumblr prompts. I spread out my writing and that really paid off, obviously. I did fewer writing binges and had more steady sessions. I also was invited to join a writer’s discord server, and there were some sprints and really awesome and encouraging conversations.

I didn’t read as much this week, mainly because I’ve been reading a nonfiction book about writing, which has slowed me down a bit. Even as straightforward and concise as the book is, it’s no Peter Grant, so it goes a bit slower.

I’ve got two audiobooks on deck right now, as i have for the last few weeks. I’m really hoping to finish one this week, as well as the next Peter Grant book and this writing book. It’s one of those moments in my reading where things slow down because there’s too much on my reading plate. So, I don’t read as fast but then I finish four books around the same time!

The audio narration of Santa Sarita is going well enough. It’s a side project, something fun for me to learn and share with an audience I’ve already established. Voice acting is something I know nothing about, and I’m going forward with James Marsters as my inspiration. Now, I don’t have a repertoire of accents or much of a vocal range, but I’m trying damn it! And, let’s be real, it’s a ton of fun.

Madhu’s pages continue to come in, and we’re getting close to the end for both of our projects. August first will be here before we know it.

What’s Next

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish The Steel Armada
  • Finish an audiobook
  • Finish reading Whispers Under Ground
  • Review Madhu’s pages

Whispers_Under_Ground

I’m keeping it straightforward this week. I’ve got 8 days to finish The Steel Armada and get it cleaned up enough to send to Madhu for her feedback on the first of August. So, reading and writing only this week. No tumblr prompts, no fanfic.

I’ve still got a queue of book reviews to post, so I’ll be around this week to share my thoughts on Brief Cases and Moon Over Soho. I’m going to try to finish listening to Bloodlist while I catch up on some chores, and I’m working long days this week so I’ll have plenty of lunch breaks to tear into Whispers Under Ground.

Madhu’s pages might be late this week since she was having computer trouble last week, but I’ll be ready for them whenever they arrive. We’re too close to the end for me to fall behind now.

On an unrelated note, both Lifelike and The Cost of Rain are out still. The longer they go without hearing back, the better and I’m actually feeling pretty zen about it. Hopeful, but zen.

So, yeah. Another week in this writing life. Full steam ahead!

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 28

Bloggos!

Summer is finally here, at least according to the thermometers. Salem’s been enjoying a range of 90 degree weather, reminding me of home and filling me with a desperate need to find a swimming pool.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 7 of The Steel Armada
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
  • Finish tumblr prompt
  • Finish a Dresden audiobook
  • Submit Lifelike
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 7 of The Steel Armada
    • *drum roll* YES!!!! I wrote over 2,700 words on the book last week and it feels so. damn. good.
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
    • Yes! I managed to squeeze in another 700ish words last night after our Gloomhaven session.
  • Finish tumblr prompt
    • Nope. Though, I did look at it, so better than last week, haha.
  • Finish a Dresden audiobook
    • Yep! Brief Cases is done and off to the next person.
  • Submit Lifelike
    • Yep! It’s been out for a few days and haven’t heard anything yet. I probably won’t hear more about it until next week.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Of course.

Weekly Word Count: 3,464

When I wrote this list down last week, I felt daunted. That was a lot of bullet points, a lot of hope on a whiteboard. But, looking at it now, I feel really good seeing so much of it in black. Six out of seven ain’t bad, in fact, I’d say that’s a win.

I didn’t get the book review up like I wanted to, but this is a new week, with plenty of time to talk about all the reading I’ve been doing! I finally sat down and really hashed out what the hell needed to come next for Val. The chapter went mostly where I expected, although the stakes did get a bit more dire for her, which is always a good thing in your writing. The stakes are high in Sanctuary as well, as my couple finally has a major discussion about their actions and what’s to come.

My shipwreck tumblr prompt is languishing in my google drive. I might bounce over to a different prompt, simple because this one isn’t shaping up the way I want it to. It’s supposed to be funny, and so far it definitely is not.

I’ve got two audiobooks on deck right now, Side Jobs on disc for car listening and Bloodlist on my phone for any other chances I get to listen to a book. I’m also almost done with Moon Over Soho, the second Peter Grant book, with the third one patiently waiting on my library book shelf.

Lifelike and The Cost of Rain are both out. I received word that the latter is being held for further consideration, so my fingers are crossed that the editor likes it enough to take it. Wish me luck!

Madhu’s pages continue to show great improvement and are a testament to all her hard work. We’re almost done with this read through, and then it’s just editing and then sharing the full manuscripts for a finally proofread before we ship them off to Tim the Agent™.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 8 of The Steel Armada
  • Finish chapter 6 of Sanctuary
  • Post a tumblr prompt
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
  • Finish an audiobook
  • Review Madhu’s pages

This week I have two book reviews to share. First, the review for Midnight Riot, and then the review for Brief Cases. If my reading keeps on at this pace July will have a lot of reviews posted on the blog.

The next chapter in The Steel Armada is a bit of a blank spot in my mind. I know it needs to slow down for a minute and then things are gonna go crazy again, because we’re pretty much at the end. I expect the bulk of my week to be spent working this out. But, I’m about halfway through this chapter of Sanctuary and I’d really love to finish it. The same goes for recording the next episode of Santa Sarita.

I have ever confidence that I’ll finish listening to an audiobook this week, probably Bloodlist, simply because it’s portable so I have more opportunities to listen to it. And of course, there’s Madhu’s pages, which I always complete. But, I actually have pages to share with her this week! Whaaaaaaattttttt??????

So, yeah. That’s my week. Just trucking on, basking in last week’s successes and trying to keep the momentum going.

Wish me luck!

 

BZ

Editing Check-In #3

Hey Blogland,

I didn’t expect this post to take so long to get to. The last time I talked about this project was at the end of May; that’s how long it took me to write less than five thousand words on The Steel Armada. Yikes.

So, what’s the state of the book?

As of right now, The Steel Armada sits at 20,042 words. That includes the first two chapters, which will not be in the final cut of this story. Those chapters were really me finding my feet in this new world I’d built. So, I know right now that I’ll cut about 5,500 words when I get to editing.

I’ve started chapter 7, as of yet untitled, but I’ve got at least another 2k words to write for it.  Then there will be at least one more chapter, maybe two. So, that should put the final word count somewhere around 26k. Then subtract the two starting chapters… and it’s definitely a novella.

Now, here are my thoughts on this:

I’m focusing on one character’s specific storyline. There are more stories to be told, and who knows? They could all come together and form a novel, but as of right now there is no larger, over-arcing plot that connects them. But, I have the world and I have the people and the more I get to know both, the more stories will come. But, for right now? I’m just focusing on Val and her experiences in this relatively small arc.

There are some nebulous ideas swirling in my brain that take place in Exodus (the world I’ve built). I have a slew of characters (Val, Ethan, Mac, Reema, Marcus, Dorver, Mickey, Dean, Richard Elder, Mei, Cleric Richings, Moira… I think that’s everyone so far) and they all have the potential to have stories of their own. I think I will end up spending a lot of time in Exodus over the next few years, really getting to know them all.

This is the part where I feel the need to hammer out a plan, mainly because that’s my nature. I really like lists and plans. I want to have an executable course of action for any and every possible scenario. Type A personality, right here. But, writing doesn’t always fit the plan, and I don’t want to hedge myself in too much with my own desperate need to set expectations.

The (tentative) Plan

  • Finish Val’s Story
    • Madhu and I set a deadline of August 1st, to have our manuscripts complete and sent to one another for feedback. Once we’ve edited and incorporated each other’s thoughts, we’ll send them to Tim the Agent™.procrastinator
  • Figure out Exodus
    • This is a vague bullet point that really umbrellas a lot of stuff. This will be creating the organization for the project as a whole, outlining future story ideas, fleshing out characters and the world, etc. This also includes deciding if there is a novel in there somewhere, or just collections of novellas and short stories.
  • Prioritize
    • Once the above is done, it’s time to figure out what comes next. Do I continue in Exodus? Do I move on to my second novel, another giant rewrite project? Do I finish From the Quorum? Do I start something new? That’s a lot of question marks, which makes me nervous, but ultimately I’m excited. The Steel Armada has dogged my steps for five years; I’m ready to move on.

And that’s where I’m at right now. I’ve got just over two weeks to get these last few chapters done and get to the end of this story. I’d like to get it done sooner so I can do a few edits before I send it to Madhu, so… two weeks. Which means I really need to get writing.

The next time you hear from me about this project will be after I write “The End” on it. I’ll come back to do a sort of Project Wrap Up post, hopefully by the end of the month.

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ