naomi_jay: (angel fire)

Today is the deadline for Serve in Heaven, Reign in Hell. I've got three more stories to read through, and then I'm calling the anthology full and closed, and going into the editing phase. I'm really proud of the stories in this one, and of how Wicked Witchery is shaping up, but I'm going to take a break before starting any more. For one thing, Static Movement has dozens of open anthologies right now, and I think there is such a thing as too much choice; for another I really need to cut some stuff out of my schedule for my own wellbeing. I know that sounds melodramatic, but I'm exhausted and verging on being a nervous wreck, and something has to go.

I think I have to take that approach to all my other writing stuff too. My main focus at the moment is Night Breed, the third Urban Wolf book. I don't want to get all distracted and delayed with that like I did last year with DARK HUNT because of DEMONISED, so I'm attempting to be strict with myself. Things being as they are, it hasn't worked very well so far, but I'm optimistic that once Serve in Heaven... is edited and outn of my hands, that will change.

I'm musing a lot right now about where my focus should be next, and what sort of writer I want to be. I'm getting disillusioned with the indie route, but the traditional route kinda scares me right now. Epubs and small presses are great, and I'm very loyal to QueeredFiction and Damnation Books, but I'm feeling torn right now between being two types of writer: one who writes a ton of different stuff and gets it all published one way or the other and is known for having a lot of work out there, or one who has a couple of different series (in my case, Urban Wolf and Shoregrave) and sees those through to completion before moving onto the next. I see benefits and disadvantages to both routes. I'm not sure where I'll end up, but one of the reasons I'm getting disillusioned with the indie scene is that so much of the focus seems to be on getting your next book published, not writing the best book you can.

See, the temptation for me is to just pump out whatever story strikes me and see if I can get it published, which is fine, but it means I'm never disciplined in my writing. I'd planned to have the sequel to NIGHT AND CHAOS ready by now. I'd planned to be halfway through Halflife before starting Night Breed. Neither thing happened because I got distracted by THE NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE. I don't want to keep putting out series' starters and then not finishing the series because some other shiny new idea gets in the way. I'd rather be known for producing a few quality novels than dozens of novellas and novels that promise more but never deliver. And that's the trap I could easily fall into.

This is possibly why I did something (I feel is) a bit crazy this morning. I queried an agent about WILD. I know! This will be the first and last query I make, and if nothing comes of it, I will still go ahead and self-publish WILD but it will be the last thing I self-publish for the time being. I want to focus on the Urban Wolf and Shoregrave series, as well as the Ethan novellas. I want to build a consistent name for myself as a writer, and the scatter-gun approach isn't working. I won't be pulling NIGHT AND CHAOS just yet (there's a new cover in the works, and I want to see what effect, if any, that has on sales), but by the end of the year, if nothing has changed in that area, I will. It all kind of feels like I'm moving backwards instead of forwards, but like I said, I need to cut some stuff out of my schedule and make time for things other than writing and panicking about writing.


naomi_jay: (halo girl)
 ... It's to know when I'm beaten. And as far as BAD DOGS goes, I'm beaten. I thought I'd figured out my problems with this book, but it turns out I haven't. Simply put, my heart is just not in it. So I'm scrapping it completely and moving onto the idea my heart is in. The plot I was originally saving for a potential fourth book in the Urban Wolf series will now be book two. BAD DOGS is dead, and BLOOD HUNT lives in it's place. Ta da!



 
1791 / 70000 words. 3% done!

I'm annoyed at how much time I've wasted, and I hope that I will be able to write BAD DOGS eventually, because there are elements to the plot I love. But right now I just can't do it. I don't know why and I don't want to waste more time examining the matter. Luckily for me, writing BLOOD HUNT now instead of later in the series won't affect any of the overarcing plots, and writing BAD DOGS later won't either. So Ayla and Shannon are going to Paris and I get to write about sewer monsters (OR ARE THEY???) instead of court cases, which frankly appeals to me a lot more right now.

On the plus side, I wrapped up all the loose ends with Demonised, and it's now out on submission. So that's at least one thing achieved this weekend. And my boss is back at work tomorrow so I can beg her for some time off asap before I go stark raving mad.
naomi_jay: (ginger snaps)

So a couple of Salon Rouge's ago, Kyle bought me a hand-made garter with a mini ace of spades card attached. It was gorgeous! And I promptly lost it. Didn't realise until the next morning when I was trying to find it to show [livejournal.com profile] chaostheory . Sigh. I moved on. At last night's Salon Rouge, the woman selling the garters (along with some other really lovely vintage wear that I want and need) came running up to me yelling "Ace of spades!" and I was all, "yeah, I lost it."

She offered to make me another one and hold onto it for next time, and I thanked her and wandered off to watch some burlesque. Then later in the night she found me again and told me she'd seen another girl wearing the garter. She'd confronted the girl, who said she got it off eBay. eBay! I call foul! The woman told her she knew that wasn't true because it was custom-made, etc, etc... Anyway, the girl denied it and went off. I sighed and shrugged and said I'd come by the woman's shop at some point for another. And then this girl comes up to us and hands me the garter. She was all, "I'm sorry, I did find it here. I guess you should have it back." Yay! Let's hear it for honesty! I got my awesome, sexy ace of spades garter back!

Anyway, that's apropos of nothing and mentioned merely because, yay! Sexy garter!

In real news, I'm going through the final proofs for AFTERLIFE. It's so cool seeing the book looking like a proper book. With only, what? Nine days until the release, I'm also starting to get nervous about other people reading AFTERLIFE and how they'll react to it. I mean, I love this book. The past week or so working on edits has only reinforced for me that I love it. I love the world and the characters, and am having new ideas for sequels every day. Originally I thought I'd wrap up Yasmin's story in two books; now I think it'll be three. I really hope I get the chance to write and share all of it. But yeah, there are nerves.

So to distract myself from Debut Author Nerves, I'm throwing Wild onto the Query-Go-Round. Oh yes I am. I've got a synopsis and a query ready to go (both much easier to write, having spent so much time on the ones for AFTERLIFE), and I've got a list of agents and publishers to query. I ... hmm ... I am very nervous about sending WIld out into the big bad world. It is, after all, the book that broke my brain. The book that's like an abusive boyfriend who only hits you because he loves you. I'm worried it might go get all up in peoples' faces and offend them and stuff.

naomi_jay: (halo girl)
Progress as of this evening:

 
60005 / 60000 words. 100% done!

I'm not done though, I reckon another 5 - 10k to go. I'm going to lay some serious smackdown on this book over the weekend; I want to get it done before I go away to stay with [livejournal.com profile] madlee276  [Bad username or site: madlee276" @ livejournal.com]next Wednesday. Here's hoping!

Ooh, and in Death for the Born Afterlife news, I just had a request for a full, after months of tumbleweedy silence. Should hear back by Sunday/Monday so... here's more hoping!
naomi_jay: (whale)
So I've recovered enough from watching Mega-Shark v Giant Octopus (except I dreamed about it all last night and haven't stopped thinking about it all morning) and now I've realised that I need to add a new subplot into Death for the Born. This is highly inconvenient given that it's out on submission and I'm still waiting to hear back from two agents with partials.

I guess if everyone rejects it, I can add in the new subplot and start over, but if everyone rejects it, is there any point? And I've learned from the epic mess of an ongoing rewrite that is Wild that adding in new subplots drives me mad. Grr. This is why I need to be working part-time. If I had more writing time, messy rewrites wouldn't annoy me so much because I wouldn't feel like I was cramming everything in around my damnable day job. I'd feel like I was cramming the day job in around my writing. Which would be much nicer.


naomi_jay: (cat)
It's been roughly two months since I left Ex Agent and started anew, and I've observed some things both about myself and the publishing industry that I thought I'd share. Hey, it beats doing the stack of data entry on my desk, right?

1. In a funny way, I feel liberated - Yes, I did the whole "OMG my life is over!" schtick when I first jumped ship, because melodrama is my thing and I need to indulge every now and then. I convinced myself no other agent would ever be interested again. But once I'd thrown my tantrum, yeah, I felt free. Free to write whatever I wanted without thinking "this has to be the one! This has to be the novel that sells!" And as a result, I think, my writing is better.

2. In a not-so-funny way, I feel anxious all the freaking time - I opened up a new email account just to deal with querying. So I know if there's a message in there when I sign in, it's either a request for more or a rejection. My nerves are shredded.

3. There are a lot more agents out there than you think - Seriously. I seem to find someone new to query every day. And it's usually the agents I thought would laugh me out of cyberspace who have requested a partial.

4. People are awesome - Let's face it; my writing is important to me, but it's hardly earth-shattering if I don't sign with a new agent. And yet people are perfectly prepared to listen to me bitch and moan and rant, and still offer support, encouragement, and advice. Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] chaostheory , [livejournal.com profile] preyforhuntress , [livejournal.com profile] kazdreamer , and[profile] j_rah 

5. Sometimes it's all about the journey - This ties into 1. I suppose, as the last couple of years I'd been tearing myself to pieces trying to finish up books and fire them off to my agent, praying this time, this novel would be The One. Now I'm not doing that, I've remembered why I started writing in the first place - I love it and it's fun.

5 (and a half). Sometimes it's all about the journey again - Even if Death for the Born isn't the novel that wins me a new agent, I've learned a hell of a lot from being back on the query-go-round, things I didn't know this time three years ago. How to write a truly kick-ass query letter, how to be organised and sensible about querying, and how to keep up that candyfloss mentality when you get a rejection. So should I be doing this all over again with another novel in a year's time, I'll be well-prepared.*

*But of course, some smart, sophistocated agent will fall in love with my crazy novel any day now. It's inevitable, surely?
naomi_jay: (clock)
I've just about recovered from seeing Matt Berry on Wednesday. Other things achieved this weekend (in no particular order):

1. Posted the full manuscript of Death for the Born to the agent.
2. Found Pip a man.
3. Got incredibly drunk on cocktails (one Polish Bullet, one Russian Bride, two Strawberry Woo Woos, one Electric Lemonade and three different flavoured vodka shots for those keeping track).
4. Went on an expletive-filled rant against Stephen Hawking in the taxi home after said cocktails. The taxi driver found me hysterical, but probably quite scary.
5. Got amazing birthday presents from Pip and [profile] j_rah , Rupert, and Kizzy.

Things not achieved:

1. Finding myself a man (here's to next weekend and the Four Man Plan!)
2. Spring-cleaned the house (here's to next weekend and a packet of Flash Wipes!)
naomi_jay: (whale)

I resolved that every time I got a rejection on Death for the Born, I would immediately find another agent to query with to stop myself dwelling in angst over the rejection. So today - one pass on a partial + one new query promptly sent out = one more request for a partial. It's all karma, baby. Or something.

So as well as frantically going over the rest of the manuscript over the weekend for the requested full, I'll be checking over the first three chapters again, just to make sure they're as polished and shiny as can be.
naomi_jay: (glittery)

My strange sense of not-pessimism yesterday was clearly rooted in something cosmic. This morning I had a request from an agent I emailed last night (not sure if he wants a partial or the whole she-bang, waiting to hear back) AND an email from the editor of Midnight Times ezine accepting a short story I sent him almost a year ago. Now, I love Midnight Times. They've published two of my shorts in the past, and interviewed me a couple of years back. I'd completely forgotten I'd sent them this story and had assumed they weren't interested. I'm so pleased they took this story. It's one I wrote at uni at the height (or maybe depth?) of my depression, and it means a lot to me. I'd given up on finding a home for it. So. Kick-ass!

Also kick-ass is that I aced the HTML course I was sent on yesterday afternoon. Okay, it was HTML for beginners, but still. I raced ahead, finished the test before the instructor had even explained half of it, and got sent home early as a reward. Meaning I was able to enjoy leisurely afternoon full of Mars ice cream bars and hot water. Huzzahs all round!

ETA: It's a request for a full! Extra huzzahs! *throws confetti, eats cake* 
naomi_jay: (stewie)

That's the lesson I picked up from my writers' group last night, anyway. Apparently chapter twelve of Death for the Born is so creepy, one person couldn't concentrate enough to comment on it, lol. Or maybe they secretly hated it and didn't want to say, I don't know. Still, lots of good feedback, all of which will go to making the book shiny and exciting.

I've had three requests for partials now, all of which have been sent off, and in the mean time I'm trying not to obsess too much. Difficult for me, as obsessing over things I have no control over is practically one of my hobbies. Luckily I'll be nicely distracted for the next few days as the clever and fabulous [livejournal.com profile] madlee276  will be here. Yay! Time for a reunion of epic proportions as she, I and [livejournal.com profile] chaostheory  will be together for the first time since university. Yes, I get all the girls!

March books

Apr. 1st, 2009 07:50 am
naomi_jay: (Festival)

Happy April 1st everyone! Please keep your practical jokes to a safe level of humiliating. Just a quick list of books I read last month, mainly because some of them were awesome and I want to spread the goodness.

Second Skin - Caitlin Kittredge - the third, and best so far, book in the Nocturne City series. Luna! Dmitri! Wendigos! Muscle cars!

Happy Hour of the Damned - Mark Henry - zombies and cocktails. This book was written for me.

Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham - having read this book, I'm now even more suspicious of the weird plant on my desk at work. I'm sure it moves.

Acid Row - Minette Walters - this was a really surprising book; considering the subject matter I enjoyed it immensely. Definitely worth a look.

The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance - I'm actually about half way through this at the moment. Some of the stories are fabulous - I've just bought Jenna Maclaine's Wages of Sin on the basis of her short here.

Right, off to work to post that partial! Squee!

naomi_jay: (philosoraptor)
So once again Naomi must do something about her weight. I've been comforting eating since January when I realised how thoroughly miserable I was with certain aspects of my life, and I haven't quite stopped yet. The result being that my weight has slowly crept up again and now I'm miserable with that too.

I've started keeping a food diary, rather than going for counting calories and weighing myself, because I'm exactly the kind of person who would get obsessed with calorie counting and then feel shit when she went over her daily limit and stuff an enormous pizza down her face to make herself feel better and... well, you get it. A food diary seems much friendlier anyway. I don't think I need to lose much; I'm aiming to go from a size 14 to a size 12. I don't want to be one of those lollipop models, but I do want to be able to fit into my jeans comfortably.

Give my propensity for comfort eating, I think I also need to address some of those my-life-is-shit aspects. Some of them are out of my control. I had a huge dip in confidence when I left the Ex Agent, managed to convince myself that signing with her in the first place was a massive fluke and that nobody will ever want to take me on ever again because my writing is hackneyed and crap. The only reasonable thing I can do about that is keep querying other literary agents and keep writing.

The other big thing has been work. I can so do something about that - I found a job I really like the sound of (even though it involves manual lifting, which is forbidden by Laura the Physio, and children, which is just ... scary). It's at the Fitzwilliam Museum, where I would love to work, and it's a couple of grand more than I'm currently on, which would be nice. Must get application form in this week.

There are other issues too, but I think some of them I'm just going to have to learn to live with for the time being. So, I'm giving it a go. My bag is full of grapes and cereal bars, and I'm pretty confident I can shift the weight as I have in the past. Wish me luck!
naomi_jay: (cliff red woman)

Three days back at work after a week off, and my arm is killing me and I've wrenched my left shoulder - again. I don't know when I became so fragile. Laura the Physio says I'm too tense, a lot of which I put down to work/money-related unhappiness. So watch this space while Nome moves to New Zealand and becomes a shepherd.

In writing news, I've sent a few queries out for Death for the Born, one of which has turned into a partial request from a great agent, so yay! Night and Chaos is trying to turn into a novel, and Wonderland, which is actually a novel, is threatening to turn into a sprawling epic of staggering proportions. I know this because, even though I'm still writing chapter one, I've already got titles and plots for two sequels.

Of course whether or not I get round to writing them depends entirely on how soon I get out of this job and into the sheep-herding business.

naomi_jay: (looks like lizzie)
I've polished the first seven chapters of Death for the Born. Will do more tomorrow, but my brain is starting to shut down for the day now. I need to do some research on writing kick-ass query letters, since self-promotion is something I utterly suck at. I know this is/will be a good novel, but putting that goodness across to a total stranger will be difficult. I can't find the query letter I wrote to my first agent for Fire and Moonlight, but I suspect it was crap.

I'm still excited about the awesome idea I had yesterday, but I'm going to let it stew for a bit before I start writing it. It's not like I have nothing else to be doing.
naomi_jay: (cliff red woman)
Well, it's done. I sent my agent the goodbye email a few minutes ago, and will be popping a back-up letter in the post later. I'm trying very hard not to think of this as a step backwards. I've already made a shortlist of new agents to query with Death for the Born once it's ready to go. I'm trying UK and US agents, although not many UK-based agencies will look at fantasy of any kind.  Most say they'll look at "commercial" fiction, but I know from querying Fire and Moonlight three years ago that fantasy doesn't seem to count.

Oh well. In all honesty, it's a relief to know I've cut my ties, and now I won't be constantly waiting to hear from her. So, here I go back onto the query-go-round. Wish me luck!

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