naomi_jay: (unicorn and snow)
I made a list last week of "definite projects" and "maybe projects" to work on next year and since I'm still not sleeping properly omg the sleeping pills did NOTHING why would you coat sleeping pills in sugar ffs?, I thought I'd share it with you all instead of putting together an actual post. So!

Definite

Finish Undertow (currently at 13856 words, projected total 40-60k)
Finish Halflife (currently at 18036 words, projected total 70-80k)
Write Urban Wolf book four
Write sequel to NIGHT AND CHAOS (currently at 7105 words, projected total 40k)

Maybe

Write two more gothic romances (provided I can get Shadow Cursed published)
Write Ethan Banning three (tentatively titled Descent)
Write third part of the NIGHT AND CHAOS trilogy
Write second Vargulf novel

I'm also toying with a third Yasmin Stoker/Shoregrave novel. I kinda have an idea for it, but it will depend on how Halflife ends and what state Shoregrave is in afterwards. Either way, I would like to wrap up the first part of the Shoregrave series in 2012, as I have plans for a second series (a trilogy) I'd like to get to work on. I will also have heavy revisions for Night Breed, the third Urban Wolf book, as well as the release at some point! 

I'll be carrying on with editing projects too, but I'm planning to cut back on short story-writing next year. I want to be a focused, lean, mean writing machine next year and see how much I can get done. I've been a very distracted writer this year, and I haven't been anywhere near as productive as I planned. Having spent much of the year experimenting with self-publishing and promo stuff, I've been able to figure out what I want as a writer, and in 2012 what I want is to do more actual writing.

 
naomi_jay: (Matteo)
So yeah, I've been having sleep troubles lately, which is why I didn't post yesterday. I was too busy at work all day fixing a massive grant proposal, which somehow the person who was supposed to be an expert in such matters cocked up completely, leaving me (who's never done this before) to sort it out. What? I don't know. It was horrible. I had to calculate inflation rates for PCR machines and I don't even know what that means.

Anyway. I came home and was all, "Friday night! Yeah! Let's watch Dr Who from the 80s and eat fish and chips and then I'll totally write loads!" And what actually happened was that I ate fish and chips and fell asleep on the sofa. This is turning into a habit. For the past two or so months, my sleep has been utterly unrefreshing. I go to bed exhausted and wake up equally tired. I'm tired all day and work and then in the evenings too. At the weekends I dream of sleeping all day and then get up around 8-9am because I wake up and can't get back to sleep. I wake up once or twice each night too, and it takes me forever to get back to sleep again. It's driving me crazy because I'm starting to get too tired to do things I want to do, like write or watch films or go out in the evenings. 

So, because I'm a bit like this, I spent about an hour last night (after I woke up from my surprise!nap) looking up sleep disorders online. I'm sure what I actually have is plain old insomnia and a bit of stress, but it doesn't hurt to rule out advanced sleep phase syndrome, right?

And that's when I found out Exploding Head Syndrome is a Real Thing.

You guys.

How much do I love the human brain right now?

Actually, I'm fairly sure I did used to suffer from this - I can distinctly recall dozens of occasions where I woke up panicked in the night because I'd heard a loud, inexplicable noise. I always heard it as a scream.

Anyway. I don't know. I'm tempted to start trying sleeping pills, but when I used them as a student, I just ended up foggy and grumpy for hours the next day. I don't know if I'm suffering from lack of sunlight - my desk at work is more or less in a black hole and I see no natural light all day. So...Anyone got an good natural insomnia remedies?
naomi_jay: (Epilepsysaurus)
So! It's the last day of November, which means Anti-Nano ends tonight *sob* But Winter-Write-a-Thon is here to pick up the slack! Like Anti-Nano, WWAT is now housed over at [livejournal.com profile] squidathon, and everyone is welcome to join in. We check in on Mondays and Fridays and post writing snippets on Wednesdays. If you're working on something and would like some company over the cold, dark, lonely winter weeks, come and say hello!

My goal for Anti-Nano was to work on Undertow and Halflife. I was half-successful, in that I worked on Undertow. I'd like to have the first draft done by the end of December now, which is perfectly do-able if it works out at the same length as DEMONIZED (about 40k). I have a feeling it might be longer, but I'm planning to try out this technique to see if I can increase my wordage output. I'm not usually a planner when it comes to writing, but I toyed with this a little last week, and although I was a long way off 10k, I was definitely more productive with notes to work from. So we'll see.

I'm also planning to write an Ethan Christmas Special. It'll be one of the Ethan Banning Files - a short, self-published story, but festive! So there's a slim chance something nice might happen to Ethan. Look, it might, that's all. Hopefully I can get to work on that over the weekend (I have a novel to finish editing for Damnation Books, and a house party to avoid going to).
naomi_jay: (Black dog?)
Strictly speaking, I'm not a fan of wacky sidekicks. They're usually intended to be comic relief, but they rarely work that way for me. I loathed the talking dog in The Accidental Demon Slayer and the wise-cracking demon/cat in Redheaded Stepchild. I don't know what it is, but a comedy sidekick character is usually a kiss of death in a book for me.

Which brings me to Ethan's sidekick, Mutt. Yeah, I know! But Mutt isn't a comedy sidekick. He doesn't talk or have supercanine powers. He's just a dog that happens to love Ethan because Ethan gave him a candy bar that one time. I've been very careful not to humanise Mutt. I don't want him to be anything other than a dog. Ethan might treat him as more-than-animal clever, but I don't want to turn Mutt into something he's not. 

Anyway! That aside, Mutt is a big part of the Ethan novellas since he's the closest Ethan has to a friend, and for that reason alone I spent a lot of time today looking at pictures of Labrador mixes online trying to find one that looked like Mutt. And I did!



Look at that face! He's not quite the right colour (Mutt is more grey-black) but expression-wise, this is how I always picture Mutt looking at Ethan. Like, "you're the bestest human I know and I'm sorry there's bird poop on the carpet! Let's do something fun!" And Ethan's all, "here's a chewy bone, you adorable bastard."

So as I'm working on Undertow now, having finished the gothic romance short story, Mutt and Ethan have plenty of adventures ahead. I think Ethan needs a happy dog to help balance out the angry demon. And Mutt is like the happiest dog because his daddy takes him on adventures all the time. Like this one:

Undertow snippet ahoy! )
naomi_jay: (pale girl)
So Kyle is working stupid late shifts this week (2pm-11pm), meaning A) we won't really see each other except in passing whilst one of us is asleep and B) I'm going to have to cook for myself this week. I know! I've become really spoilt over the past two years. Kyle is an excellent cook, and whilst I'm not awful, I'm nowhere near as competant. And frankly, the idea of getting home and slaving over the oven when I could just get home and start writing doesn't really appeal. I don't like things that interfere with all that glorious writing time, like cooking and cleaning and working.

This is my amazing solution:


I'm going to make the world's biggest batch of chili tonight and live off it for the rest of the week. And since I've been obsessing over Tesco's butternut squash, honey, and sage soup this weekend, I'm going to make a butternut squash chili. I found a pretty straightfoward recipe. I'll need to change it up a bit since I hate onions and refuse to cook with them. They're weird, okay? I think they're weird. And I'm substituting beef broth for stock in order to make the recipe Harcombe-diet friendly. I also don't have a Dutch oven, but I assume cooking it on the hob will achieve the same end result. I'll probably also swap corn for courgettes because I love courgettes more, and it's my chili, dammit.

Anyway. I always get ridiculously excited when I decided I'm going to be all homely and stuff, despite the part of me that's all like "cooking? Are you mad? Have some cheese and get writing!" so I'm quite looking forward to making this. I've never cooked with butternut squash before though, so who knows, it could all go horribly wrong. But finding out will be an adventure!

naomi_jay: (write this down)
I signed and posted the contracts last week, so I can officially announce it now:

NIGHT AND CHAOS will be republished by Damnation Books in June 2012! Huzzahs! I'm very excited and looking forward to seeing some awesome new cover art. My aim is to have part two of the trilogy (currently titled Blood and Bones but probably to be renamed) ready for submission in Spring 2012.

In other news, Anti-Nano is officially go (check out [livejournal.com profile] squidathon for details), which means Halflife is back on my to-write list and the new Ethan novella/novel, Undertow is going to be started this very night. In honour of this, I've been putting together an Ethan Banning playlist. It will probably grow as the month continues but at the moment it looks like this:

When the Night Comes Down - Tiger Army
Twenty Flight Rock - Tiger Army
Under Saturn's Shadow - Tiger Army
I Turned Into A Martian - The Misfits
Ain't No Rest for the Wicked - Cage the Elephant
Wolf Like Me - TV On The Radio (who am I kidding, this song goes on all my playlists)
Monster - Skillet (Ethan's official theme song)
Stained Glass Cross - DOWN
The Man That Follows Hell - DOWN
Down With The Sickness - Disturbed
Divide - Disturbed
Shout 2000 - Disturbed
I Love To Say Fuck - The Murderdolls
People Hate Me - The Murderdolls

Hmm. No AFI yet...That must be rectified.
naomi_jay: (sparklethulhu)
October is nearly over and November is just a few days away, so it's your last chance to sign-up for Anti-Nano!

If you're new to the Anti-Nano family, here's the gist of it:

If you love the idea of Nanowrimo but know 50k is an impractical target for you, never fear! Join the cult, and dedicate November to writing as much (or as little) as you want in the company of like-minded writers. We'll be doing bi-weekly check-ins throughout November (Mondays and Fridays), and once a week there'll be excerpt postings (Wednesdays).

(I'd like to add that if you're doing Nanowrimo but still want to stop by the Anti-Nano community and share your progress, you're very welcome!).

If you want to participate, head over to [livejournal.com profile] squidathon and join up. This is now HQ for Anti-Nano, so go and make yourselves at home, read this post to see what we're all about, and I'll see you in November for hardcore (but self-governed) writing action.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!


naomi_jay: (dragon girl)
The release of THE NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE is sneaking up on me fast, so I thought this week's Writerly Wednesday could be best used for some pimpage. So here you go! The opening paragraph in all it's opening glory:



"Evanthe shivered as the icy wind ripped through the graveyard, tossing dead leaves and grave dirt against her, whipping her hair into her eyes. The half moon was hidden by storm clouds, casting the graveyard in near perfect darkness, so Evanthe was forced to grope her way blindly from one crumbling, mossy headstone to the next. Her torch battery had died almost as soon as she flicked it on, leaving her feeling lost and faintly ridiculous."
naomi_jay: (pen and paper)

This picture is a pretty accurate representation of how I felt on Sunday when I finished Night Breed's first draft. It clocked in at just over 72k, which means between September 1st and October 2nd I wrote just over 60k. Oh man. I don't want to do that again. I mean, it's nice to know I can, but forget that. I want to be able to sleep and watch Thundercats too.

I've sent the draft to my editor at QueeredFiction and am looking forwards to not thinking about it for a while. I'm not sure how well I've pulled off what I wanted, and I already know the emotional intensity needs amping up, especially towards the end. But it's a book, dammit, and it wasn't a book a month ago, so that's something.

(By the way, I do need beta readers, so if anyone's up for reading through, drop me a line. No pressure, no hurry).

So! What's next? Well, Anti-Nano sign-up has begun. If you're interested, go take a look and join the cult fun. I loved doing this last year and it spawned a year-round write-a-thon which has been awesome to be part of. In a change from last year, when I ran Anti-Nano from my LJ, I'm going to start a master community this year, which will incorporate Anti-Nano, Winter-Write-a-Thon, and Springathon. So if you want to join in one or any of those things, stay tuned!

In other news, Fictional Candy has reviewed AFTERLIFE and given Nicomedes some love. He needs the most love. I decided last week that since I'll be working on Halflife for Anti-Nano, I'd try to garner some fresh reviews for AFTERLIFE. You know, so people know what I'm talking about and stuff. And maybe buy AFTERLIFE and get excited about Halflife. So hopefully there'll be some more nice reviews coming soon!

In other other news, it's a little over a month until THE NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE is released! Eep. I'm working on some promo ideas for this. I'm a bit worried it'll be an odd one to work with. It's a short novella (just over 20k), it's a sweet romance (kissing but nothing more), and I haven't found many review sites that will look at sweet romances, especially sweet paranormals. I did find quite a mighty list of review sites here, though, so I'll plough through and see what comes up. I'd like to do some giveaways and prizes and fun stuff, too, possibly involving Bud Ducks. I just like Bud Ducks, okay? And you should like them too. Look at them!

naomi_jay: (hello cthulhu)


I think most people who read my journal know the rules, but for any newcomers, here they are again:

If you love the idea of Nanowrimo but know 50k is an impractical target for you, never fear! Join the cult, and dedicate November to writing as much (or as little) as you want in the company of like-minded writers.

Just leave a comment here stating your goal and what you'll be working on. I'll be doing bi-weekly check-ins throughout November (Mondays and Fridays), and once a week there'll be excerpt postings here (Wednesdays). You can sign-up any time throughout October.

I'll be working on Halflife, the next Shoregrave book, in November, and if progress goes well I'd also like to start on Undertow, the next Ethan Banning story.

Who's with me?
naomi_jay: (ZP - Shuggoth)
But I like to express my thoughts in blog form.

So I've been mulling over the idea of having a blogging schedule, but I've struggled to come up with anything other than Wednesday = Writerly stuff because I enjoy alliteration. Then I panicked over not being able to think of cool alliterative things for the rest of the week. Then I decided I was overthinking it and that normal people probably don't worry about whether things fit rhetorical arrangements.

Anyway. So I think I'm going to experiment with this in October and see if I like it. So here's what I came up with:

Random Monday. Sometimes I find things, like Lovecraft ambigrams or pictures of wrestlers elbow-dropping Jesus and I just feel like everyone else needs to see them too. Mondays are going to be those days. So for those of you who keep finding things to do with The Human Centipede to show me, you will now have a dedicated day for those things.

Writerly Wednesday. Sometimes this is going to be snippets of work, reviews for my books if I have any, sometimes just general writerly updates on what I'm doing and how it's going, and sometimes I might get off my ass and write some intellectual stuff. Who knows?

Friday Miscellany. Don't be fooled! It's not like Random Monday. It happens on Fridays. Basically this'll be a catch-up blog for the week and will cover anything I feel is important, like hilarious things the snakes have done (like fall out of their tanks) or whatever. 

I didn't think of anything satisfactory or worthwhile for Tuesday and Thursdays. If I'm doing blog tours, guest posts, etc, I might post them as and when they arise, but otherwise I'm going to try this scheduling business for a while.
naomi_jay: (3-hund)
I worked out this morning that I've written roughly 32k this month just on Night Breed. I hit 44k in total last night, and since I'm estimating the rough draft will clock in at about 70k+, that leaves me roughly 26k to write before October 1st. Eep! That's nine days.

I can do it. I think I can do it. Technically that's about 2900 words a day. I am desperate to finish by the end of September so I can spend October doing (among other things) promo for DARK HUNT and editing projects.

So...I kinda feel like this right now:

Tune in again on October 1st to see if I feel like this:


naomi_jay: (fault lines)
So I'm revisiting the whole decision to self-publish at the moment, for a number of reasons previously discussed. Since June, my indie sales have plummeted and this month I've sold two books so far. That's pretty dismal. Reading about the Kindle Boards, it seems like a lot of people are seeing the same slump, but I don't really find that reassuring so much as depressing.

I already pulled NIGHT AND CHAOS and found a new home for it (I haven't signed the contracts yet, so I won't say much else because... well, there's not much else to say). WILD is probably next. I was determined to stick with self-publishing for the Vargulf Trilogy because WILD has been a tough book to categorise and that's made it a tough sell. It's not quite YA, it's not quite adult, it's not quite a romance but it's not a straight UF. I'd hoped it would find a niche through self-publishing, but I think I lack the marketing muscle to find readers who will love it.

It's currently on submission at two places, and a third has invited me to submit it to one of their lines when they open it for submissions in October. The third place is actually my first choice, so now I'm eagerly counting down to October 1st so I can be all, "hey, remember me?"

I'm glad I tried indie publishing this year but I don't plan to publish any more novels that way for the foreseeable future. Shorter pieces, yes - people are still buying UNGRATEFUL DEAD even though they could have it for free, so that's gratifying. But for me, for now, the future is not indie. I haven't achieved what I wanted to with it, and although I could stick with it and see if the theory of "ebooks are forever so readers will find you" holds true, that's not going to help my career right now.

Instead I want to focus on building on the works I already have out there. I've been pretty unfocused this year writing-wise, because I've spent a lot of time worrying about marketing, promotion, sales figures, and other stuff. Once Night Breed is finished, I'm going back to Shoregrave. I want to finish Halflife by the end of the year and make a start on the next Ethan project, Undertow. I also have plans for a trilogy set in Shoregrave featuring all-new characters.

I'm contracted for two more Urban Wolf books and I'd hope to sign on for more if possible. I want Shoregrave and Urban Wolf to be the focus for the immediate future and since both series already have publishers I'm very happy with, I see no reason not to continue working with them and really building a name for myself. I think I tried to spread myself too thinly this year and I don't need to. 2011 was the year of trying new things. I'd like 2012 to just be the year of Nome.
naomi_jay: (underwater scarf)

 
So I'm diving deep into writing/editing/OMFG what next? territory and disappearing for a while. I'll still be answering emails, but that's about it. See you on the other side!

naomi_jay: (mike)

Hellnotes have reviewed DEMONISED, and I have to say, they've been very nice about it too! Ethan is " one of the most engaging first person narrators I’ve encountered" and the story is "a great supernatural yarn," comparable to the Dresden Files, apparently, which is pretty damn cool. I'm sure Ethan would love to share a drink with Harry Dresden some time.

This is just adds to my desperate desire to work on Undertow, the next Ethan novella (or possibly novel), but I realistically just cannot fit it into the schedule right now. I don't know why, but people seem to have taken to Ethan more than any of my other characters (is it the porn? It must be the porn, right?), and since I love him a whole lot too, I just want to get back into his seedy adventures as soon as possible.


naomi_jay: (skeleton kiss)

It's been a while since we had some Daily Lovecraft, so here's ten ways you know you're reading too much...

In other news... there is no other news, really. I'm feverishly counting down to holiday time! Oh my God. I'm going to write until my fingers fall off next week. You don't even know.

Oh wait, there is some news! The WILD July summer sale is over, because it's now August, so WILD is back up to full price, but that's still pretty damn cheap. On that note, Monster Librarian has reviewed WILD here and they think it's a "fantastic book, dark in ways that are somewhat uncomfortable, but ultimately hopeful."

I've also had a short story about sea monsters accepted into Static Movement's Evolutionary Blueprint anthology. So I guess there is more news than I realised. I think that's it though.

I'm considering giving the blog a bit more structure, incidentially, maybe having like themes days? You know, Writely Wednesday, Random Friday, whatever? I don't know how people feel about that as opposed to blogs that are just always random (as mine tends to be). Thoughts?
naomi_jay: (fault lines)

So I have done virtually no writing this week due to being all social and whatnot, and it's making me kinda grumpy. I need to spend tonight working on Night Breed and the weekend on editing/proofreading committments.

What I do not need, brain, is an idea for a spin-off trilogy from the Shoregrave books when I haven't even finished Halflife yet, and when the next Ethan novella is obviously going to be insanely fun to write. No, no, no! Shut up! Stop making me make notes. *sticks fingers in ears* La la la la la.

 


naomi_jay: (Fiery Raziel)
So JA Konrath notes on his blog today that Amazon will soon be launching the Kindle in India, which is interesting. I guess it's another potential income stream for indie writers, and Konrath raises the issue of translation in order to make books more accessible world-wide, which makes sense of course, but here's the thing for me (and possibly others like me): Dude. That costs money and I don't have any. Konrath himself points out that translators are expensive, and there's more discussion about that in the comments. Frankly, rather than making me want to push harder at self-publishing, this development makes me want to shy away.

Unless you're lucky, it's near impossible to self-publish for free, well. My covers are home-made and they're ... not great. They're not terrible, but they're not professional, because I can't afford to pay for art. I can do the formatting for myself now, but I find it pretty time-consuming and tedious, and I'm not a fan of time-consuming, tedious things. And clearly, if I can't afford cover art, I can't afford to pay someone to do formatting for me. Obviously having your books translated isn't compulsory, but the very idea of it makes me knackered.

I decided to try self-publishing for two reasons: 1, I hoped it would bring in some extra cash. It hasn't, although the mantra is of course "ebooks last forever, therefore eventually you'll make money." 2, I'd just parted ways with my second literary agent and I felt like I didn't have the strength to start on that route again, so self-publishing was worth a try.

Well, I haven't made any money, and I don't feel quite so negative about my career as I did at the start of the year. So those reasons are kinda less relevant now than they were back in January. Because here's what I've found (and this is purely for me; I'm not even pretending to speak for other indie authors, as many have found success and I'm really happy they have) - I don't want to be in charge of my own cover art, formatting, or translation. Some people talk about creative control; I'd gladly surrender the business side of writing to focus more on actually writing. And now that I've taken on some editorial responsibilites, I'm even more reluctant to spent time on formatting, art, translation, or whatever.

I do believe you can succeed at indie writing, because the evidence is out there. But I don't believe anyone can succeed at it, and as with most things in life, not everyone who does win actually deserves to (Anderson Silva, I'm looking at you). I've talked recently about re-evaluating what success at writing means for me, and as the year moves on and I get closer to my promise to myself of trying indie publishing for twelve months, the one thing I keep coming back to is that, for me, the benefits haven't outweighed the downsides.
naomi_jay: (sparklethulhu)
Where have you been all my life? I had stuff to talk about and now it's all irrelevant because it's two days later and new stuff has happened! Well, here's some link stew to summarise all the things I wanted desperately to blog about and couldn't:

Charlie Brooker and Tabloid Watch are on fine form discussing the media coverage the Norwegian tragedy. Basically the media wanted everyone to think it was Muslims, until it became clear it wasn't, then they decided we should still talk about Muslims anyway.

Stacia Kane talks about Amy Winehouse and double standards. I love Amy Winehouse's music. In My Bed is one of my favourite songs, and the whole Back to Black album is amazing. I've been really saddened by the amount of negative commentary on her passing - that basically she doesn't deserve any sympathy because she was a drug addict. Well, maybe if drug addiction was treated as a disease instead of a crime, she'd still be alive.

Anyway. What else is going on? I went to a wedding in London on Saturday and they had chocolate tasting and cocktail making, which was awesome. I've decided my wedding should definitely involve these things. And maybe be on a farm with peacocks.

We'd been really worried about Remic for the past fortnight or so. He's usually very active and nosy, but over the last couple of weeks he'd grown withdrawn and got quite sluggish. I assumed he was getting ready to shed, but shedding generally takes about a week to ten days, and he still hadn't bloody done it. Nor had he eaten last week, so on Sunday we had a bit of a panic and decided he had either mites, a respiratory infection, mouth rot, or some previously unidentified snake disease, and stayed up with him until midnight looking for signs of any of these conditions, and which point he decided he was going to shed his skin after all. So that was okay.

In writing news, I've kinda been slacking off a lot, and this week doesn't look much better, as I'm either out or have people round every evening until Friday. But the good news is that it's only two weeks until my week off, during which I will write like a crazy person. Huzzahs!

ETA - Jennifer Armintrout thinks I'm cool. BRB, fangirling
naomi_jay: (wayward son)

I finally managed to book a week off work! Come on, 8th August. *waits*

I was just checking over my writing to-do list ahead of this and came to the following conclusions based on the last time I updated the do-to list:

 

Stuff! And things! )

So my hope for the week off is that I'll have cleared enough of the editing stuff to be able to just write and watch copious amounts of Come Dine With Me. I'm making a start on the critiquing this Sunday (we have to go to a wedding tomorrow. I know!), and I'm trying to avoid social engagements for the next couple of weeks anyway because frankly, I think I've seen enough people this summer already. Yay! Pure, unadulterated writing time is just a few weeks away!

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