Wait… I Wrote How Much?

Hi guys!

I just wanted to stop by and share something pretty incredible with you.

So, remember when I said I was reading and writing a ton of fanfiction? Well, that trend continued through the month of April. I’m pretty sure I just wrote more words in a month than I ever have before.

As of 4/30/17, I wrote a total of 31,113 words. Of fanfiction. Jesus Christ. That is a TON of writing, the most I’ve ever done in so short a time. I’m simultaneously impressed and disgusted/disappointed. Why haven’t I pumped out so many words for my own original content?

Granted, fanfic is “easier” since there’s very little world-building or slogging through early character development. That’s mostly done by the time you get your hands on the content.  I mean, you should still have those things, but the amount of discovering and fleshing out are considerably less. Which is the vast majority of work I’ve been doing on From the Quorum.

So, in a way, this has been a nice exercise. One that  I have no plans of stopping anytime soon. I’ve got another 3 chapters (at least) to write for this particular story, a oneshot (i.e. short story) outlined, and then another full fic planned after that.

But, if I can keep up this pace, that means I should be able to fall back into my own original works once Mass Effect lets me go. Right? That’s what I’m telling myself, anyways.

Saturday was the release party for the third issue of The Audient Void, and it was awesome. There is some really great fiction and poetry in this issue, and the artwork is fantastic as always. The event coincided with Independent Bookstore Day, which meant there were a lot of people there who might not have attended otherwise, and there were snacks and extra special merchandise on hand.

Oh! There was also a cool marionette show, with an original play by Adam Bolivar, that was really quite entertaining!Jack o lantern

But, my favorite part of the event (aside from the customary after party) was that I thought up a new story while I was there. Just a short story, and I won’t go into details about it here, but I hope to write it this year and submit it to the A.V.

We’ll see where I’m at in a few months. If I’m still writing at the pace I am now, I have no doubt I’ll get everything done that I set out to this year, even with this detour. Remember, I planned to fall off the face of the Earth for about two months after  Andromeda came out, so I’m still on schedule.

Anyway, just wanted to share with you all that I am a writing machine these days, even if it’s just fanfic.

See you around,

 

BZ

Well, Hello There!

Hi Blogland,

Huh. It feels kind of weird to be back. I’m still not promising anything, or even pretending I’m back in any sort of routine. I’m not. I still play Mass Effect just about every day, and I’m reading (and writing) way more fanfiction than I ought to.

But, I thought about From the Quorum for the first time in a month the other day. I call that progress. I also felt a pang of guilt/longing for The Steel Armada. We’re getting there.

The whole point of this was to keep me from falling into the spiral of guilt that I normally feel when I hyper-focus on something. When I start feeling guilty for doing things that I enjoy, I tend to further procrastinate the tasks I’ve sacrificed in order to hyper-focus in the first place.

Right now, I tell myself that writing fanfiction is better than not writing at all. And since I’ve put over 6k words into this one fic just in April, I’d say that’s damn good.

Also, The Audient Void #3 is out! Get you one! Available at the Book Bin in downtown Salem, or online at their Facebook page.

My reading has seriously slowed, but a steady stream of fanfiction keeps me going. I fully intend to pick things back up sometime in May. I promise. Pinky swear. All that good stuff.

Also, I wanted to mention that I’ve applied for another full time position with the library. I know better than to assume anything at this point, but I’ve learned a lot in the last 9ish months since my last interview with the city, and I have a lot more confidence in myself than I did even four months ago. Keep your fingers crossed for me just the same, huh?

Thanks for sticking with me through this gaming fog. The fact that I’ve come up for air is promising. I look forward to talking at you all on a regular basis again soon.

 

BZ

Goals Summary wk 7

Hi Blogland!

Today is a new day. A day full of possibility, and it’s off to a wonderful start. A stomach full of some egg frittata concoction my husband made, and the bolstering aroma of percolating coffee hangs in the air.

I’m normally off on Mondays (for the time being) but the husband is also off thanks to its being President’s Day. I’m not letting that stop me from sequestering myself in the office and getting work done, however.

In my last post I told you all how sick we were last week, and I’m pleased to say that we’re both back to feeling relatively normal. There’s still the occasional sneeze and stuffy noses in need of tissue, but otherwise we’re well again.

So, how did last week stack up goals-wise? Not as badly as I thought.

Last week I wanted to:

  • Write chapter 13 of From the Quorumarcanum-unbounded
    • That did not happen. I didn’t even open Scrivener until last night. I considered writing for a tiny moment, but we had company and dinner in the works, so I decided against it.
  • Finish Arcanum Unbounded
    • Done. I don’t think I’ll do a review on this one, mainly because it would either be overly simplistic, glossing over the stories, or far too in depth as I gave each story its own review. Just know that, if you’re a Sanderson fan, you should read it.
  • Publish two blog posts
    • Barely. Last night’s little update counts, so I got to put this one into the black.
  • Continue The Steel Armada edits
    • Yep. Edited about three chapters last night. This is still technically a read through, but I’m taking a lot of notes, both on the pages and in a designated notebook. So, none of these chapters are ready to be called “Draft #3”, but the feedback I’m getting and the notes I’m taking or forcing me to do a lot of thinking and world building. I’m very excited about this editing round!

So, not too bad. Considering the week we had, and how awful I felt, I still managed to get most of my goals done. That feels damn good, and keeps the momentum going forward into this week.Print

What’s on the agenda for the next seven days?

  • Write chapter 13 of From the Quorum
  • Finish reading The Paper Magician
  • Publish two blog posts
  • Continue The Steel Armada edits/read through/research
    • A note on this one: As I’ve mentioned before, world building and character development are my two main focuses for this round of editing. I’ve done a lot of great work already in answering reader questions and addressing where there’s too many blanks. But, I don’t have enough knowledge about ships in general to describe them and let my characters discuss them in a convincing way. So, I’m doing research. I’ve loaned a book from the library called Sailing Ships by Björn Landström and it is full of diagrams and terminology for all kinds of rigged ships! I’m really looking forward to delving into it and learning more about the world of The Steel Armada.sailing-ships

Book club meets next week to discuss The Paper Magician, so I need to hurry up and get that done. I’m only on chapter 2, but according to fellow Clubbers, it goes pretty quick. After that I’ll need to read and write as much as possible in the two following weeks, because Mass Effect Andromeda releases on March 21st, and I will be useless for a long time after that.

In other news, I’m meeting with the creator/editor/producer of The Audient Void this evening to “discuss some things regarding books”. He and his wife operate a local indie bookstore, and since I work at a library I guess they want to meet up and chat. I’m not really sure about what, and I’m always a little nervous about vague social meetings, so I’m trying not to over-think it too much. I really like them both, so I’m sure it’ll be a fun and interesting conversation.

I’m forcing myself to look forward to it. Anxiety aside, I know I’ll enjoy myself. I’m just not good with unknowns…

Anyway, coffee is done brewing, music is playing, and there’s fiction to write and edit. I’ll talk at you all soon Blogland.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary Wk of 10/17

Hi Blogland!

Last week’s goals weren’t anything crazy, but they weren’t overly simplistic either.

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Publish the Hollow City book review
  • Finish chapter 7 of FtQ

So, I wrote three blog posts last week! So that’s awesome. And one of them was the Hollow City book review. There’s two down. Now, no huge shock, but I didn’t finish chapter 7 of From the Quorum.

But, I did write 532 words, creating the segue between scenes that was so intimidating to me!

That feels like success.

Also this last week was the release party for The Audient Void #2. Despite the looming threat of a migraine and the 12 hour work day that preceded it, I went to the after party that the Publisher, Obadaiah, hosted. And I had an awesome time! I may have drank a little too much, but I didn’t make a fool of myself and I needed it to calm the fuck down.

As previously discussed, anxiety is a bitch, and I don’t handle new social situations very well. I knew a few people there, but only insomuch as I’ve been in contact with them for The Audient Void. Plus, let me be honest in saying that my depth of knowledge in Weird Fiction is pretty topical in comparison to this crowd.

audient-void-after-part-3

Myself, William F. Nolan, and Dan Clore

But, the highlight of the evening was spending a quality 30 minutes, possibly more, talking one-on-one with William F. Nolan, of Logan’s Run fame. He was eager to talk about all kinds of experiences, from poetry, fiction, to screenwriting and navigating the film industry. And he was just really kind and genuine. I’m really honored that I had the opportunity to chat with him.

Other notable guests included Dan Clore, Jason Brock, and Adam Bolivar, the last of whom introduced me to his handmade H.P Lovecraft marionette. Undeniably weird, but also incredibly cute and charming, as he walked H.P. over and allowed me to shake his hand, and agreed to pose for a photograph.20161022_234936

It was an odd, pretty surreal evening that was topped off with a Manhattan that threatened to knock me out cold from the fumes alone. Thanks a lot, Obadaiah!

After a shaky morning after, we played DnD until 11pm with a new group. It was awesome, and I’m really excited for this campaign! In case you’re wondering, I play a Halfling Rogue, named Renna. She’s charming and diplomatic as fuck, and pretty fierce with a spindle-disc. At least, so far.

Anyway, now that you’ve had a recap of my weekend, let’s take a look at what’s ahead!

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Library of Souls book review
  • Write 750 words of FtQ

I think that’s fair. I’d like to get another book review in, if possible, but I’ve got my reading stacked pretty high, plus upping the word count goal, and Halloween festivities this weekend. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

And after that comes NaNo! Yikes!!

Until next time Blogland!

 

BZ

Take the Advice You’re Given

So, this might come as a shock to some of you, but I’m pretty hard on myself. I know over the last two months I’ve come across as patient, honest, and forgiving when it comes to my constantly slipping achievements.

Except I’m not any of those things.

I can say all the right things, tell everyone how it’s just not reasonable to expect so much of myself, and my brain knows it’s all right. All true. But, that doesn’t keep the disappointment and irritation out of my heart. I’m angry. Frustrated. I have high standards for myself and when I fall short, there’s no forgiveness.

It’s buck up and do better.

And I’ve failed at that too.

I’ve been battling some major anxiety over how rusty I am when it comes to writing fiction. I know the only way to get better is to write more. The only way to shake off the rust is to get moving. But, I’m stuck. It’s like I’m asphyxiating every time I look at Scrivener.

And I’m really pissed off about it.

But, I’ve made an attempt to talk to others about it, since it seems that I am out of my element. My own counsel has brooked no progress. It’s time to talk to someone. Luckily I have a really amazing support system.

My husband, who’s just as driven as I am, though we have very different methods in chasing our dreams, said that I need to get writing. Even if it’s just a sentence at a time. He’s not wrong. When it comes to my writing he knows it’s all I’ve ever truly wanted to do, and he knows that every day that passes without words added to the page is killing me. So, he’s harsh in his delivery. Suck it up and sit down to write. Yeah, he’s not wrong.

But I’ve been telling myself that for months.

A friend of mine had some insight that really helped me though. He said, “How long have you been done with school?” I finished school August 9th. “It’s been two months.” He stared at me. “That’s not even a summer break!” I shrugged it off. I haven’t had a summer break in over two years, since I took classes each summer term. “If you’re not writing again by January 9th, be concerned,” he said.

When I asked why he basically spoke some logic at me. I’ve been giving 150% for the last two years. 45+ hour work weeks, school full time, reading constantly, and editing for The Audient Void. I even managed to do some writing projects, and graduate Magna Cum Laude. I’ve been hurtling through space and time, and suddenly I’ve stopped.

The adjustment is awful, but his point is that I need to establish a new normal. One where I sleep again. One where two venti iced coffees isn’t required to make me feel “normal”. One where sitting on the sofa reading isn’t a chore. And where playing video games isn’t a sin.

When Trevor and I spoke about my anxiety and frustration again, after absorbing my friend’s advice, it seemed Trevor had been thinking about it too.

He told me that my energy isn’t the same as his. It’s not this driven, powerhouse of determination and sheer will. I balked at first, but he continued. My energy, he said, is creative. It’s a well that has to be full and siphoned off of. And when it’s ready, I’ll crave it again. I’ll crave sitting for hours in front of screen, chasing the blinking cursor that promises something new with each letter.

And I knew he was right. Because I’ve felt the hints of it already. When I worked on my Novel Announcement for NaNo, I felt really excited for this book for the first time in years. Instead of just trepidation. Instead of intimidation. Instead of fear. When I listen to songs and hear characters in them, instead of just words.

It’s coming back to me. Trickle by trickle. Remember the Leaky Faucet Theory? Well, I’ve used every lost drop of myself these last two years. And to much success. I’m proud of my achievements, but it’s time I took the advice of the people around me. The people who are watching from the outside, and are starting to see the cracks in the mud. I’m drying out, and punishing myself for not writing will only make things worse.

So, I’m going to work really hard to ease up on myself. I’m still going to work on From the Quorum, and I can already feel the wheels turning in preparation for NaNo. There’s been a change in me, and it feels right. Here’s hoping it’s a flood gate. But, I will not hate myself for falling short. As I tried to reason to myself, writing is a muscle. Mine has atrophied over the last two years. It’s going to take time to get back to my dizzying pace from before school. I was writing 2k+ a day, sometimes five days a week! That’s insane for someone with a full time job. And I can’t get back to that overnight.

It’s time to take the advice around me, and treat myself with respect, patience, and understanding. I’ve worked hard, and if I hope to continue to do so, I need to take a breather without fear of retribution from anyone. Let alone myself.

Anyway, I really wanted to express my thanks to the people who keep me grounded in reality, but offer me solutions for chasing my dreams. You’re awesome. Thank you for always helping me, even when you don’t think you do. And because of you I’m really going to try and be kinder to myself. I’m not perfect, and I’ll probably have bad days, but I hear you.

I’m listening.

 

BZ

Book Review- A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish

Hi Blogland!

I’m here ahead of schedule! After the few weeks I’ve had I can’t tell you how good this feels. There’s a weight that’s dissolving off my chest. I can breathe again. I’m just so relieved.

So, let’s talk about A Dance of Cloaks.a-dance-of-cloaks

This is the first of a six book series. I wish I could use that as an excuse for not enjoying it, but I can’t. Sometimes, the first book of a large series suffers because it’s busy setting up characters, plots, and settings for the remainder of the series. A Dance of Cloaks does all of this, but it definitely does some better than others.

I will say that the world-building, while generic, was thorough. I understood how the world functioned and what it looked like. But, it wasn’t very interesting. Generic fantasy city with medieval-esque technology. There wasn’t anything that really made Veldaren stand out in my memory.

The plotting was probably the strongest element of this book, which is what kept me reading. There are a lot of moving parts, with a multitude of characters all with their own goals. These intertwine nicely, and kept me just interested enough to see how it played out.

But, and this is a big but, the characters were flat. There are three major female protagonists, and really, they’re interchangeable. Kayla, a dagger throwing snitch for hire, has no personality qualities that separate her from Veliana, a cutthroat thief that’s the right hand woman for a local guildmaster. And, until the end of the book, Alyssa, daughter and heir of the Gemcroft estate, doesn’t really stand out either. How could this be? These three people are different in description, birth, and life choices, and yet nothing about their voices and interactions are different than the others.

It was boring.

All the while, the actual main character, Aaron, has no personality of his own. Which is acceptable because he’s a 13 year old who’s been groomed to be his father’s heir. He’s set to inherit the Spider Guild, the most powerful thieves guild in Veldaren. He’s had no childhood, very little affection, and has been cold and brutal since he murdered his own brother at 8 years old.

As the story goes on, Aaron’s infatuation with Kayla inspires him to create a new persona, Haern. Haern can have feelings. Haern can pray. Haern has individual thoughts not imprinted on him by his father. Haern can love.

Except, Haern still has no discernible personality traits that separate him from Aaron, other than the occasional flare up of rage.

Ugh.

a-dance-of-cloaks-zusa

Alternate Cover

The only characters that stood out were Thren (Aaron’s father), Senke (Thren’s right hand man), and Zusa. Zusa is a Faceless, which is a banished priestess that must forever cover herself in robes for her crimes against her god. There’s an interesting warring dynamic between the gods in this series that is promising, but doesn’t come to fruition in this first installment.

Anyway, all these characters have goals and ambitions, none of them terribly clear, and by the end of the book some of them achieve them. Others fail miserably, vowing to get their vengeance. And still others are dead by the end. The ending promises more to come, which a first book in the series should do. And I suppose, had I been remotely interested in the characters, I would have found the promise of more satisfactory.

As it was, I was just happy to close the book and turn it in. I have other things that need reading. Maybe, if I find myself with a lull, and someone convinces me that the subsequent books get better, I might pick up the second book. Maybe.

I feel I should be clear. I didn’t hate this book. But I didn’t like it. I have zero feelings about the book, and that’s bad. It’s a grey space in my head. No anger. No excitement. Nothing.

Let that be the endorsement I give, a mental shrug.

In other news, the second issue of The Audient Void is out now! Purchase your copy here. We’re having a release party on the 22nd, in case any of you readers are in the Salem area. Find more details at the link.

Also, I finally got around to hanging my degrees in the office!degrees

I felt good today. Some easy steps to success this week may really help me. I brought the goals way down, and I joined a new local writing group on Facebook. I engaged some NaNos on our chapter page, and had really great interactions. I’ll be signing up for this year’s NaNo after I finish this post. And I finished reading this boring book.

Small steps that really helped me feel good about today. Here’s looking forward to the rest of the week!

See you all soon, Blogland!

 

BZ

Book Review- Savage Season by Joe R. Lansdale

Hey Blogland,

I’m writing through a migraine, albeit a mild one, but bear with me.

I first met Hap and Leonard, Lansdale’s protagonists, in the novella Bent Twig, which is featured in Rogues Anthology, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Maybe not the best place to meet characters, but it was a hilarious romp through the American South.

I enjoyed the tale so much that I immediately added Savage Season, the first Hap and Leonard book, to my TBR list on Goodreads.

savageseasonI have to say that I wasn’t as impressed with this first installment. It was appealing for it’s short length (under 200 pages), but it was still sort of slow. Once the action picked up it was really good though.

I chalk this lull up to the fact that a lot of the book is spent introducing the characters and affirming their relationships to one another. That’s to be expected from a first book in a series, but I already knew the two characters who really mattered, so it was a bit slow.

That being said, I did enjoy this book, and still plan on reading the next one. Eventually. It seems that the books may be fairly episodic, which is perfect. I’ve got a lot of lingering series that are demanding my attention, and I really want to catch up on them. Once that’s done, I can read more Lansdale stories as the urge strikes me.
hap and leonard.jpg
Also, it turns out that Hap and Leonard have become a television series, which aired for the first time in March of this year and has since been renewed for a second season. Huh, I sure have a funny habit of getting into things right as they become popular, without even knowing it. I’ll have to add it to my list of things to watch.

Anyway, I gave it four stars on Goodreads, mainly because it deserved more than just three. It is funny and entertaining, but it’s very straightforward. Few surprises lurked in the pages, and the real highlights are Leonard’s biting and angry lines and Hap’s reactions to them.

Overall, Savage Season is a solid start to a crime/mystery series. I’ll definitely read more of them, but I don’t feel any pressing need to do so.

I finished The Martian over the weekend, and can’t wait to talk about it with all of you. I’ll also be watching the film adaptation for the first time this week, so expect a compare and contrast feel to the book review.

Next for the car audio is Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I’ve also taken up listening to digital audio while doing household chores, so for that I’ve got Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock cued up. So far it’s good, but weird. We’ll have to see how it turns out.

And of course, I’m still working my way through The Obelisk Gate. I’m just over halfway through, so early next week should have it completed.

The Audient Void has accepted all its submissions for issue #2, and the stories are trickling in for editing. Otherwise I’m working on getting Since the Fire into a solid third draft, and writing chapter 8 of Jordinn’s Story.

Those are the goals for this week, at least, that’s what my whiteboard tells me. And while I’m trying to reestablish a routine, the whiteboard is king.

desk

Note: image captured last week, so goals are not accurate.

Also, beyond this, I’m in the process of revitalizing the book club. I’ve got all the new members added, so now it’s just a matter of solidifying when we want to me and getting the book lists in.

I guess I’ve filled in all my free time pretty quickly. Getting right back to all those things I’ve been dying to do for two years. Thanks for staying with me through those dark ages. I look forward to talking to you all much more frequently.

Talk at you soon!

 

BZ