Saturday, April 2, 2011

Moving On

I've moved over to  Don't ask.  I haven't finished the blogroll yet - I read way too many blogs.

When I finally decide upon and sort out the domain/hosting issues, I'll redirect, but for now I've moved here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ROW80 Round Two Sign Up

Round two of ROW80 begins on April 4th, so don't forget to sign upRead the goals of the participants here.

I have to list my goals and I'm trying to learn my lessons from last time.  I'll set some goals for the whole round and then choose specific goals for April.  I'm sure I'll change my goals along the way but there are certain things I'd like to aim for.  I'm currently editing Taunt so any goals for April will begin on April 4th.  School holidays will start soon after round two ends so I'm going to try and pack in as much as possible into this round before I have to go live outside for a few months.  :)

Round Two - Main Goals:
  • Write (and finish) first draft of Tempt
  • Work on untitled WIP
  • Edit Soul
  • Edit Taunt
  • Outline a project
  • Complete a short story

Round Two - April Goals:
  • Aim for 10,000 words a week
  • Work on first draft of Tempt
  • Edit Soul - a full read through taking notes, then one chapter a day
  • Complete a short story
The first round went well for me; I really enjoyed it, I loved seeing what everyone else was getting up to.  We all have different goals but still have so much in common and it was a really positive experience. This time I'm upping the word count goal because I can do more with the free time I have and I'm hoping I can learn to edit without letting everything else grind to a halt just because editing sucks the life out of me.  :) 

Looking forward to round two, hope to see everyone again as well as some new faces.  :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Pukeworthy

Firstly, sorry to the ROW80ers I haven't visited yet.  I'm moving - slowly - forward.  A plague descended upon my house again; the day after ROW80 ended, I found myself drowning in kid vomit - gave myself the most awful mental image there, that wouldn't be a good way to go.  (BTW, the sickness began after one of the twins locked the entire family into a bedroom - scariest fifteen minutes of my life).  I'm not used to kid vomit, despite having five kids.  Sex education should involve cleaning up kid puke, just saying. 

I've missed lots of news online, apparently.  Much writerly drama about trad and indie and people crossing over and everyone having an opinion and *snore*, sorry.  Then much amusement and cringing and eye-rolling over an indie flipping the lid over a bad review on a blog I subscribe to - except the review itself wasn't even that bad.  It's like the blogging version of the American Idol/X-Factor tryouts up in here sometimes. 

However, as much as I detest writers complaining about reviews (it's like picking a scab, leave it alone people), I felt bad by the end because there are lots of relatively more successful writers who have acted much the same (and worse) on their Amazon reviews yet managed to get away with it without a score of one star reviews popping up.  I keep rewriting and deleting what I was about to say next so I'll leave it there, I think.

After reading a lot of nastiness, I got to the blog of Sean Sweeney/John Fitch V.  He's trying to make a sales goal of 350 copies this month and needs 19 more sales to reach that.  After all of the negative dramaz, the air needs some good karma so if anyone would like to help a writer out, his books are priced from 99c.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

End of Round One Check-In

Last day of ROW80's first round.  Well done to everyone who took part and I hope we all meet again in Round Two.  Say congrats and farewell to all here.

Today is my 28th birthday so it's nice to end the writing challenge in time for a minor celebration.  In the last 80 days I've edited (and rewritten the second half of) Verity, rewritten Taunt and finished the first draft of STS.  I've outlined Tempt and finished a couple of short stories and a novellette.  I've stuck to my weekly word count for the most part and tried to form a writing schedule and plan I can stick to.  I'm happy with the progress but I feel like I didn't push myself.  One of my aims for the next round will be to stretch my limits a bit more.

I'm not sure what my exact goals for the next round will be - I have five novels calling out for edits, I need to get to the first draft of Tempt before I finish editing Taunt and there are five stories waiting to be written that have been shouting a lot louder this year.  Well, they have been waiting for quite a while.  Ideal goal would be to work on a first draft and an edit simultaneously as well as preparing outlines for the stories that can't wait much longer but I keep forgetting about that other important five - my children.  All of the fives feel like a good sign.  ;)

When I was born, Bonnie Tyler was already topping the charts in Ireland and MJ's Billie Jean was number 1 in the US.  Billie Jean is one of my son's favourite songs now - strange!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mrs. Van Winkle

I'm not sure if I've met my goals this week, probably not.  Visit the others here.

Last weekend, I started feeling sick and I ended up sleeping for most of the week.  For example, on Wednesday I slept for 20 hours so I just gave up on the ROW80 thing (and the everything else thing) for this week.  Still sick but feeling better than before so I'll try to put in more of an effort visiting and commenting.  After I've had a nap.  :)

I did get some reading done, and read a book I really enjoyed - One Insular Tahiti by Thea Atkinson.  Really impressed me.  I'd been saving it for when I had some time because I had a feeling I'd like it.  The first couple of chapters didn't grab me at all but I kept reading and found myself unable to put the thing down so, yeah, win.  I'm definitely going to read the rest of Thea's books and I'll just say how annoying it is when this good of a writer isn't selling books by the bucketload.  The product description can't do it justice, it's beautifully written and the characters are really well done.    *Impressed face*

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Brief Check-In

Check-in:  Hit my word count goal on STS.  Support the rest of the gang here.

Writing daily and hitting word count goals.  Thinking about my goals for next round and how I'm going to edit and work on first drafts at the same time.  Managing time will be important.

Finally a Kindle owner - anyone know if it's worth getting some early reader books for the Kindle?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

For Love of Enid

Check-in:  Word count goal met while working on STS.  Soak up the sanity here.

March is my giddy month so I'm trying not to post the blog equivalent of hysterical giggling.  Been working on STS, minding my own business when all of a sudden the MC unleashed a crapton of backstory - now I see why she's been making so many dodgy choices.  Have I mentioned how much I love writing?

I haven't been nabbing as much writing time as usual.  Mostly because bedtime is taking up all of the freaking night.  Right now, I can hear two kids having a show-down upstairs and the twins in the next room doing their best Charlie Bit Me impersonations.  I'm hiding in the dark so they won't see me laughing.  It's my fault for having five kids - babies are so easy, they just eat and sleep and poo and look cute all day long.  Then they start walking and all hell breaks loose.  If I decided to write Mammy Fiction, I'd have decades of material.  :)

I was reading up about Enid Blyton earlier.  She was (despite motherhood) scarily prolific and popular and yet panned by critics as being a mediocre writer.  Her books are still being sold - not bad for a mediocre writer.

When I was a kid, I devoured her books - she made me think I could be a writer.  Roald Dahl taught me that writing could be dark and fun.  I know there's a lot of old-fashioned terms and ideals that people like to censor but I definitely didn't grow up racist or thinking that men should rule the world.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  Although I'm very firm on the cheating is awfully bad stance.  :D

Blyton's books were quite preachy though (which is kind of amusing considering her personal life), and I'm not sure why I loved them so much - maybe the lack of adults was the draw.  Maybe it was the fact I kept waiting for George to smack Julian.  Maybe it was the homeless circus boys who owned friendly monkeys, the circus girls who could ride wild horses or the ordinary girl taken in by the circus who could tame anything.  (I soooo wanted to join the circus).  Let's not get started on the tuckboxes and the snobby posh girl at boarding school.  And the Faraway Tree?  Beat that if you can.  That kind of book is absolutely one of the first stories that drew me to writing.  Think of anything, create it, and there's a ready-made world for you to jump into.  Anything can happen because you make it so.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dirty Little Hoarder

I have a tendency to horde the shinies.  There's a reason my OH bought me an ereader back when I was still a paper-snob, we had just moved house and he didn't want to go through the trauma of moving all of those books ever again.  I'm inclined to hoard other things as well, eyeliner, nail varnish, shoes, handbags, tarot cards, things that tend to be harmed by destructive toddlers, of which I have a few.  :) 

I thought ebooks might sort out my hoarding inclinations but so far, they've just encouraged me.  They take up no physical space, are cheap, easy to access, convenient in every way and I don't even feel like I'm accumulating them.  I'm scared to count how many I have but today I realised I might have gone too far. 

There's a book I've wanted for about a year, it sounds like it was written for me and it's always top of the list come book splurging time, but I've been skipping it because it's too expensive for a writer I haven't tried before.  Anyway, book went on sale, I scurried off to buy it . . . only to be told I already own it.   I checked out the non-Kindle ebooks I have and I've doubled up a good few times.  Seriously, Claire.

That's it now.  No more hoarding.  No more buying until I start getting through the books I already own.  I need to start keeping a spreadsheet of the books I buy. It's only taken a year but I think the one-click novelty might actually be wearing off.  Now I just have to start reading.  :)

I haven't been posting about books I've read because, well, I haven't been reading much. Recently I enjoyed Have Gun, Will Play and Life from Scratch and I think around Christmas or New Year I quite liked Vestal Virgin and Devil's Eye.  Most played song lately is from *surprise, surprise* Adele.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Happy Read an Ebook Week

Check-in:  Worked on outlines for Tempt and STS.  Added to a short story.  Visit the rest of the crew here.

When I say outline, I basically mean I've written what amounts to a synopsis.  Sometimes I'll get an idea and expand upon it but usually, my outlines are pretty high-level and detail-sparse.  I have a rough outline for both Tempt and STS (aka the fae novel, couldn't keep calling it that :/) but that's the easy part and both are very bare.

I think I've settled into a POV in STS now.  I read the part I wrote last April and it was really bad.  Awful.  Embarrassing.  I would have ditched the whole idea except I then found the stuff I wrote last October and it was much better, plus I really like the voice.  I don't remember writing it, I don't remember where I was going with it but I like it so I'll let it stay.  There's a reason why I haven't finished that particular story (aside from snowflaking it until it bored me to tears) but I'll save that for another post.

I'm very excited about Tempt (Ava Delaney #3).  I already knew the major plotline for this one while I was still writing the first book, but the end of Taunt (#2) led me to an even bigger one.  I have a feeling the ending will differ greatly from the outline - I can't wait!  As a sequel to Thirst (#1), Taunt was unexpected and a good chunk of it runs very differently to Thirst but Tempt kind of goes back to where Thirst was headed.  Originally, it was supposed to be a trilogy, (Thirst, Tempt and Taste) but when I first tried to write Tempt, I realised it wasn't the next part of the story.  I'll be taking a step back when this one is done, to figure out the exact order of the other books, there's at least three more.  'Tis all very confusing.  :D

Last night we celebrated my indieversary.  LOL.  I felt like it was a big enough deal to warrant a min-celebration.  And now it's time for Read an Ebook Week.  Go.  Run.  There's a lot of freebies and good deals on ebooks for a week so go find them!  I'm participating on Smashwords and so are many others.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

One Year Indieversary

A year ago today, I plucked up the courage to press publish on Kindle - it didn't take long for Little Girl to go live.  My first-born.  New parent jitters.  It was an experiment, I really didn't think anything would come of it, but I wanted to try it anyway - I like to learn and I like staying off the main road.  People said indies won't sell.  Horror won't sell.  Short stories won't sell.  Flash fiction definitely won't sell, particularly the dark stuff.  I kept hearing things like only hiring a good editor and cover designer will convince people to take you seriously.  *Dun-dun-DUN*

I uploaded a piss poor cover.  There's been four or five covers for that poor little book so far.  This one has stuck.  I had a terrible description, awful promotional skills and an entire lack of media awareness or writerly friends.  I didn't even tell my family I was writing again - they know now but they aren't going to read my work, never mind give me a dodgy review.  ;)  I chose a pen name and for months sweated in case anyone knew it was me.  *Insert eye roll here* 

I sold something like five copies of the book in the first month.  Got into the forum thing, wasn't comfortable with the extreme spamming/bitchiness/negativity, was and still am quite vocal about it, moved on to other places.  Discovered that there are people who are on the side of indies, despite the bad reputation, and got over how bummed I was about the bad atmospheres.  *Takes things to heart*

Took a good few months before I started to get daily sales - thanks to my first reviews.  Decided marketing wasn't a good path for me.  Gave up on the book completely - I actually said those words to my OH.  Tried to fit in online.  Didn't.  Focused on a novel.  Still haven't finished said novel and probably never will.  *Cannot edit to save her life* 

Little Girl got lots of angry reviews.  I took advice from some people way smarter than me, copped on, changed the cover to the present one and came up with something resembling an actual product description.  Learned to dread review numbers increasing but also realised the bad reviews were probably encouraging sales.  Got down about the way people act online sometimes.  Remembered life's too short for that.  Stepped away from forums/facebook/twitter.  *Iz dramatic*

Remembered that the whole point of the indie thing was to forge my own path.  Palm-slapped myself.  Figured out my own plan, the one that had been shouting at me while I was listening to everyone else's plans.  Knuckled down.  Joined ROW80.  Was shocked by the positivity.  Was inspired too.  Heard from some other writers and readers who either said or did things that reassurred me not everyone in the world is a dick.  Again.  Got over myself.  Again.  Wrote my ass off.  Not again.  Realised it's March.  Counted a year's sales.  More than I expected.  More than half in the last two months.  *Is shocked*

Lesson:  Maybe there is no lesson.  I did nothing in the end.  I don't come close to the good 'uns in skill, talent, personality or sales.  And any good that came to me came because of the actions of others, not me so basically the point is I'm not a good example of anything?  Erm.  :D  A year on, I still don't have a novel out, I'm still working alone while the world sleeps and I still have no idea what I'm doing.  Actually, that's not really true.  I know the plan, it just doesn't make sense to anyone else.  ;)

I'm going to keep doing nothing - aside from being myself, writing and trying to become the best writer I can be.  I've learned a lot, about the business, the craft, other people, myself.  I might be a little braver, hopefully I'll work a little harder with a lot less ego, and for now I'll just pat my wee book on the back and say, that'll do book, that'll do.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Nowt On Da Telly

You know when I'm blogging about pointless things that I'm not working.  :)  I'm sick this week so am working the bare minimum and catching up on mindless entertainment.  I don't regularly watch much television; if I like something, I'll watch it online whenever I have time and overdose on an entire season's worth.  I like reality shows that revolve around singing, dancing, cooking, weight-loss, all kinds of crap like that.  They're pretty much never-ending which is great for me because I hate anything to end. 

I still mourn the loss of Buffy and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to handle the end of Supernatural and Big Love.  What the hell am I going to watch next?

By the way, how toe-curlingly delicious was the meta episode of Supernatural?  Loved it.  It was hilarious; for me, it's up there with the silent, musical, and alternate reality episodes of Buffy. I'm so glad Supernatural didn't end last season, purely for the meta episode. 

Big Love has gone a bit apeshit over the last two seasons or so but I will definitely miss it.  It's such a cracking concept, I can't imagine anything replacing it.  It's fascinated me from the very first episode.  It wasn't on telly over here at the time, my OH randomly bought me the season 1 box-set and I watched the next two seasons online that week.  *Is obsessive*

That's the problem though, great series never get replaced by something better. 

Nothing replaced Buffy for me.  Buffy kicked off 14 years ago (um, wow) and there has never been another program that has come close it.  I did everything I could to see every new episode of Buffy every single week - even through the boring Riley bits.  I was a teenager, I grew up on Buffy, but I didn't have control of the remote, put it that way.  When I was 16, I wasn't even living at home so it was pretty hard to get that station on the screen at the right time.  I'm laughing now, but it was sooooo important to me then, there was a weird kind of desperation to make it in front of that screen at 8pm on a Thursday (for some seasons), to get my sweaty little hands on that remote control before my mother and her boyfriend could.  And that's not even getting into the reruns.

I even watched Angel, just in case the Buffy characters showed up.  Which they did on occasion, which made me squeeful.  I quite liked Angel until the Connor/Cordy stuff, although I enjoyed the Doyle episodes the best.

I'm pretty loyal when I like something though; I stuck with Heroes til the incredibly shitty end.  I'm still astonished by how it went from something fun and exciting to dull and ridiculous.  Every episode I would watch and wait for it to get good again.

I watched Buffy, Charmed, anything even vaguely paranormal but they all ended.  Supernatural seemed like the meth option and I ended up loving it too.  I feel like there's never going to be anything I'll love again - suggestions please?  It's the same with books.  Jane Eyre's been my absolute favourite by a few miles for so long that I can't imagine ever loving anything else as much.  That's kind of dreary really, feeling like you'll never find anything better.  I watched Buffy, and read Jane Eyre, in my teens, maybe it's just being an adult that limits an obsessive love for something?  :D

By the way, it's my indieversary tomorrow so expect another boringly bloated blog posting from moi.  ;)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March Madness & A Haunted Ebook

Check-in - word count met, rewrite of Taunt completed.  Give some lovin' to the other participants here.  (Check out the end of this post for contest info).

New month, new goals.  In February, I finished the rewrite of Taunt, wrote the first draft of a novellette, finished a short story - and met my daily writing goals in the second half of the month. 

In March, my goals are:
  • 500 words a day, Monday to Friday (at least)
  • 5,000 words a week (at least)
  • Plot Tempt
  • Work on fae novel
  • Finish a short story
I would like to write the first draft of Tempt before I start editing Taunt in April (hopefully) because I like having the next sequel written before I work on edited the previous one, but I don't know if I'll manage it.  I'll probably work a little on the fae novel and Tempt, if I can. 

It's only three weeks so I don't expect to finish anything apart from the short story and the plot.  The fae novel could require a re-plot, it depends on what happens when I read through the notes and partial draft.  My biggest problem with this one is that I haven't figured out POV yet.  I kept switching between first and third and then thought about having two or even three POVs.  Make a decision, already!

The short story goals are there purely  to give me a regular(ish) achievement.  I struggle so much to perfect a novel that I need the shorter stuff just to feel like I've finished something and am not a complete failure.  I'm trying a lot of new things this year, trying to face up to fear and embarrassment a bit, and to get rid of that special voice in my head that stupidly tries to tell me that I can't possibly force myself to write short stories unless I get inspired by something, like, deep and shit.

The whole family have been struck down with a cold this week - even my never-gets-sick OH is all manfluey.  My older daughter decided to get up out of bed and cut her hair because she wanted boy hair.  She didn't get very far with the safety scissors but it still needs fixin'.  The baby headbutted me yesterday and gave me a lovely trout-pout.  The dogs ripped apart the bins, leaving a great mess on the floor for us to wake up to.  The twins have figured out how to open the front door and run outside in the five seconds it takes for one of us to leggit out after them.  Teamwork, baby.  One. Of. Those. Weeks.

I'm doing this half-asleep`(what's new?) so sorry if I get the info wrong but JL Bryan, author of Jenny Pox and the Haunted Ebook, is on a blog tour (check it out, lots of prizes) and will be giving away free copies of his ebook over at Not-Really-Southern Vamp Chick.  If you tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment with your twitter handle on the blog, you'll be in with a chance to win a copy.  If the book makes it to the top ten in Horror on Amazon, he'll be giving away a Kindle DX on his blog tour.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bye-Bye Greens

Check-in:  Less than 4 weeks to go!  Haven't kept track of word count this time but I've definitely hit my target.  Send some force to the other participants here.

Since last check-in, I've started a short story and gone through Taunt.  I'll admit I've been putting it off out of sheer terror.  I knew the last third in particular was extremely sloppy - which is why it required a rewrite.  I read through it this week, making notes and creating chapter summaries, figuring out what later info was missing from the first half and vice versa.  I completely forgot a huge chunk of the story so it was like reading something someone else had written - always fun!  It's been a lot less painful than I expected although the pacing is a bit off-balance.  I went back to the rewrite, it's going well and should be finished before the next check-in.  I'm aiming for it to be done and dusted tomorrow but now I've said that, I'm going to attract distractions.

I'm a little distracted this weekend anyway because the tallying of the votes are going on.  Not over yet but nearly there.  The Green Party have been wiped out.  Fianna Fáil aren't doing much better than Sinn Féin - that must be killing them.  The least popular government in our history is gone, leaving behind such a mess that I pity anyone taking over.  Looks like Fine Gael will have to invite someone into bed with them.  I keep remembering how, when I was growing up, everyone laughed at Enda Kenny and said he'd never make Taoiseach and yet here he is, on the brink.  This government will likely be harsher on families so I better hurry up and write that bestseller already.  ;)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Check-In Time

Check-in:  I've written 8k since the last check-in post.  Have a goo at the rest of the ROW80ers here.

And while you're at it, check out the cover love my novella sucked up on All of Everything.  I saw this and was happy, the end.

I've written 5k on one WIP - a short one that is now completed - and 3k on another.  Yesterday, I realised I've been writing every day.  Getting back into the habit of writing regularly was the biggest part of this for me so I'm very happy that I'm getting past my biggest obstacle - laziness.  :D  The words came really easy this week, it's like someone whispered the story in my ear, I wrote waaaay faster than usual.  I don't expect it to keep up, especially because we might have a house guest this week.  On the other hand, I haven't been spending as much time online - it's like I don't know what to do online all of a sudden.  Not really a bad thing, I suppose.
On the home front, I'm the worst mother in the world this week - the baby had an ear infection and I didn't even realise until I saw gunk coming out of her ear.  I thought she was teething, poor little bubba.  Five kids before we get an ear infection and I don't even notice - I'm supposed to be the eagle eye worrywart around here. 

My other lady went to the hospital to get her bandage changed and had her first physio session.  Physio went really well, although it was only for her hands.  The skin is a little tight but should be okay as long we do the exercises with her every day.  They cancelled the appointment with the occupational therapist because her stomach hasn't had a chance to heal enough to scar and her hands are fine. 

Her stomach - she was really upset getting her bandage changed and they were close to admitting her again but in the end they sent her home.  It's healing away and we're back in next week for another bandage change but no more physio for a while.  She was upset this morning because her big brother was off to school, I think she's bored without him because the twins are more of the rough and sweet sneaking but less of the fun big kid game playing.  Going to have to break out the arts and crafts a bit more this week.  Yeah, glitter.  Woo.  Hoo.

This week, my family is mourning the loss of our favourite act on Got to Dance.  We love dancing shows, so what?  :D  I feel really bad for these lads because they were separate acts that got forced into being a duo because the judges couldn't choose between them - they have different styles, it must have been hard for them. *Gets attached to people she's seen on the telly for two minutes way too easily*  Dude in the Red was amazingly shit-hot in his solo audition.  Dude in the Blue was great too but DitR got more of an OMFG, how is he doing that kind of reaction.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Best Day Everrrrr

Check-in:  I've written 6k since the last check-in.  Visit the other participants here

Since Wednesday, I've written 3k on one WIP and 3k on another.  Half of that was this morning so I feel like I could have worked a lot harder, but sleep took priority over writing this week.  :)  I wrote a ginormous blog post and deleted it, the gist being how tired I was of working in the same genre for the last few months.  I'm going to try and divide my time and allow myself to work on other things when I get bored.  Problem solved.

By the way, my new 4yr old had the best birthday ever on Friday (judging by the amount of snuggles, I love yous and thanks I got) and I still have star shaped marks all over my skin from where I was decorated with a million tiny stickers that I somehow didn't notice my children sticking to me on Saturday.  Please let them stay fun when they're in their teens - I'll have five teenagers at the same time someday so wish me luck.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Can't sleep.  I've spent a fair chunk of my life not being able to sleep.  The only cure is writing but I haven't been able to do much of that tonight.  My best writing comes during those bouts of insomnia - and also when I'm drunk but we don't need to dwell on that one - but, alas, not tonight.  I needed a firmer hold on the novelette so printed it out and attacked it with a red pen.  I kind of enjoyed it (shush, don't tell anyone).  I only made it through seven pages (but they are absolutely covered in tiny red scrawl) because the baby was unwell and decided she wanted to sleep straight up, in my arms.  Instead of working, I read and now she's settled, it's roughly half six in the morning and the birthday girl will be up in about an hour so not much point even trying to sleep.

I already know I'm going to have serious trouble trying to figure out all of the red scrawl - not to mention the great sprawling arrows flying all over the page.  I learned to write tiny when I was a kid for two reasons.  One, because there was never an abundance of paper (except for that time my mother worked for a paper factory, that rocked) and two, so nobody could read it.  In school, I wrote tinchy in the hopes the teacher wouldn't be able to understand it and toss it aside without reading it.  If they asked me to read stories out loud, I would speak really fast and really low so nobody could hear me.  If you've heard me speaking, you'll know I speak fast anyway so picture turbo speed reading.  That would be my super power.  Sadly.

Back when I started blogging - not this one - I used to panic whenever I received a comment.  My heart would race at the idea someone actually read what I had written.  Or worse - disagreed.  *Gasps of horror* Whenever someone online would say, oh I read your last blog post, I would probably break out into a cold sweat before I read til the end of their sentence.  If I posted something, um, controversial, I wouldn't check my email the next morning - delaying the onslaught of virtual torches and pitchforks for as long as possible.

Funny thing.  Nobody ever disagreed with me.  Nobody ever argued a point.  Nobody ever said anything that wasn't supportive or funny or super-awesomely-cool.  The fear was for nothing.  The temptation to unpublish was for nothing.  I don't know how I scraped through unscathed, by the way, I was particularly vocal on some big issues but despite the huge amount of traffic certain "opinions" got me, nobody told me to feck off.  Despite me cringing at the lack of coherency of my blog, people still came back for me.  Not everyone, but that was okay.  Some blogs just aren't for everyone.

The same weird fears are still there, partly regarding this blog but mostly about writing and publishing.  That notion of who do I think I am, they're all looking at me, pointing and staring, ready to eat me alive still lingers.  Probably always will.  We really put ourselves out there and provide the whips to lash us with, in all honesty.  Brave wee things, really.  Either brash or cringing, we're all waiting for the feedback, the words that let us know how we're doing and if others approve. 

Before I pressed publish on dtp (or kdp or whatever the hell it is now) I nearly threw up.  And why?  First, it was in case someone actually bought it.  Yeah, I know.  I know - and hello, welcome to my life.  Next was the whole what if they don't like it?  I might die, oh, no, wait, actually, I won't.  Sometimes I get paranoid and loseresque and think what if they talk about it behind my back and . . . and laffs at mes.  But, wait, do I really, honestly, care about the opinion of people who act that way?  Um, no, stopped caring about a decade or so ago.  So what am I worried about again?  About what might happen? 

Sooooo, what if the might happens and what ifs turn out to be . . . kinda good?  Nice, even?  I'd be missing out over a little thing like fear.  Huh.  And what if somebody didn't like it, or somebody laughed at me?  Would I really be afraid to try things forever, just in case?  Would I really try to spite myself because I gave some random, hypothetical person power over me? 

It's 7am now so I'll leave it at that.  This is what Claire's brain sounds like when she can't sleep.  Not pretty, is it?  Have a good weekend people.  I'm off to celebrate the fact I have a 4 year old again - 4s rock.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


My ereader is broken.  *Cries*

It broke in the hospital and we still haven't been able to get it working so I'm now trying to accept the loss.  Too many birthdays over the next few months to even think about replacing it.  Editing is going to suck.

I've been trying to read a paperback since the weekend.  No.  Just no.  I would rather read on my laptop than hold an actual book.  It hurts my wrists - anyone else panic when they feel pain in their wrists?  It's kind of worrying when holding a book hurts - doesn't bode well for writing.  Note to self: make OH gain some transcription skills.

Excuse me while I go listen to the song, Bitch, Cry and Moan.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Condensed version:  The novellette draft is up to 11k right now.  Up roughly 9k since the last check-in post so technically my word count goal is achieved this week.  Visit the other participants who are linked here.

Long, rambling version:  I've written 11k since Saturday.  The basic storyline is done, I'm in the process of padding it out with (hopefully real) facts and character development.  I like to work that way on shorter stories.  I've spent way too much time staring at detailed maps of Ireland and figuring out what route the characters will take.  More fun than it sounds.  Stuff like that never makes it into my stories but I like to know which direction people are going in and how long it will take. 

The end story should hit around 20k.  First draft might be finished this week.  I'll probably drop it and get back onto Taunt before the week is out because I want the draft of Taunt to be finished this month.  I can dream.  :)

Family schtuff.  This week, my big girl turns four (and my little girl, seven months).  Her burns aren't healing well as expected and it will be next week before a final decision is made on the skin graft - plus her physiotherapy starts next week too.  This month is looking busy - we have to enrol the big girl in primary school (hello, long arse queues in the birth cert office) and the twins in playschool to secure their places, the baby is due a hearing/development test, we have to go through the (too freaking slow and red-taped) speech therapy assessment crap with our eldest again and all of the animals are overdue on their boosters.  The joys of large familes.  :D

Monday, February 14, 2011

The UnRomantic Writer

Valentine's Day.  Never a card exchanged in my house.  I hate cards and dying flowers, and unless a box of chocolates has the name Ferrero Rocher on the cover, it's going to have yucky leftovers like Turkish Delight and Strawberry Fondants once I'm through with them.  These things are wasted on me.  I'm not romantic, or sweet, or lovey-dovey.  At all.  Which is why it's strange that on the eve of Valentine's Day, I wrote over 4k on a new story that has a strong element of romance.  Strong.  There may even be *gasp* an intimate scene or two.

There are times when my OH asks what I'm working on, I tell him, and his reaction is um, are you sure you want to be writing that?

Thirst, a book in which the word blood is mentioned a lot.  A word that frequently makes me go weak at the knees.  Yep, just hearing the word has been known to make me pass out.  I'm phobic, what can I say?  I carried on with it anyway because if I didn't, the idea itself would have suffocated me.  For the record, I didn't pass out once while writing Thirst - although I sometimes had trouble reading certain scenes during the editing stages.  :P

Short stories because they often provoke. . . strong reactions. My OH enjoys the likes of Saw (sorry, too sick for me and even newspaper headlines make me cry on a regular basis) but when I persuaded him to read some of my flash fiction a year ago, he was . . . traumatised.  Just for a while but still - wuss.  He, rightly so, tried to warn me that some people might get upset but I went ahead with it anyway - gut reaction to being told something might not be a great idea.

And finally, romance.  Anything that revolves around love or romance or romantic cheesiness of any sort.  This is met with sentences like - But, Claire, have you ever even read a romance?  So I'm not romantic. Love poems/songs make me snigger.  I would laugh in my OH's face if he got down on one knee for anything, ever.  However, just because I'm not romantic doesn't mean my characters don't want a little loving every now and then. 

I'll be pushing on with all of the stories I haven't published yet because I'm uncomfortable with the romantic scenes.  I have a lot of unfinished business on my hard drive.  It only really clicked with me today something they all have in common - I cringe when reading the scenes that involve attraction/romance/love.  Sad for me, I can't judge that sort of thing so it reads as cheesy no matter what I do.  That's if I even manage to write those scenes, most of the time I bottle it and change the storyline to suit the complete lack of romanticism in my nature. 

I see lots of romance novel reading in my future.  And daring myself to go for it with the romantic aspects in my own writing.  The only way to get over it is to get on with it, right? 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mammy Hat

Check-in time - support the other participants here.  To summarise, roughly 2k of a draft written, just not the right WIP.

It's been hard to take off the mammy hat lately.  My OH keeps going, why aren't you writing?  I don't know why, but when something major (to me) happens, I don't want to do anything.  Ever again.  The longer I let it go on for, the harder it is to snap out of it.  Himself knows this so didn't let me away with it.  Weirdo.  :P

After much persuading/bribing/tormenting, I got to work.  On something new.  Oops.  Over the weekend, I've written an outline and about 2k of a novellette idea I had a while back - the idea didn't work before but some random research inspired me to take a second look then as I was outlining, I came up with something better.  It's fun and new and experimental and different to everything else I've done - always a plus. 

Haven't touched Taunt but I've been working out the atmosphere a little more.  You know, in my head.  I'm getting back to that during the week, particularly on the organisational crap that I keep putting off.  I'm scared I'm going to mess it up completely.  Sequels scare the shit out of me.  I've, like, four "first in a series/trilogy" written, maybe four more "almost" written.  Can't handle book 2.  It's ridiculous. 

Anyway, we're back in the hospital tomorrow to get my daughter's bandages changed - I can hear the hysterics already - so I'm not expecting next check-in to be full of achievement but I'm feeling good for Sunday's check-in.  Wish me luck!  Also, the baby's bottom teeth cut through this week, explains the sudden sleepless nights.  :D

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Not much for the check-in.  Taunt is up to 16k - barely.  Things will get back on track, I'm just exhausted right now.  Check out the rest of the participants here.

My daughter is home, yay.  Her burns are healing well (so they tell me, they look awful to me) and she didn't pick up a bug in hospital after all.  Little panickers.  She's kind of bored and afraid to use her hands but she's *gasp* using her imagination to entertain herself.  She's still paranoid about anyone touching her wounds.  If the twins even look in her direction, I hear a high-pitched shriek.  Mammy!  They're going to touch my belly!

Her hair is a mass of tangles (for reference, her hair was perfect when we left the hospital.  Fifteen minutes in the car and it was a ball of knots).  It's like her hair goes, ooh, they're not looking, let's screw with their heads and tangle ourselves until we look nice and matted.  That never been brushed look is so in right now.  It looks like she'll be fine by her birthday so that's a relief.  We're just trying to get back to normal right now.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Now Why You Wanna Go And Do That?

Writers are always asked questions like what made you start writing, where did you get your inspiration from, etc.  The question I've been asked most over the years (even before I epublished) is why.  Why flash fiction, why such depressing concepts, why fantasy, why overdone ideas (werewolves, vampires, witches, angels, underwolds, afterlife), why such open-ended conclusions, just why. 

It's hard to answer.  I honestly can't remember what sparks most of the stories that come to me.  First and foremost, I write about the characters in my head.  I don't worry about their story - I just give them a voice.  I know it isn't going to please everyone and I'm fully aware some of the things I write upset people (and there will always be lots of people who think that what I put out there is crap but nowt I can do about that one) but I don't sweep uncomfortable issues under the carpet - that's how people get away with horrific crimes for years and years.  I don't make an attempt to upset people either, shocking people is never my intention. 

Some of what I write comes from real life in ways I can't fully explain here - I know so many families living with secrets, the past can't be acknowledged, the guilty can move on and the victims are expected to cope too.  No.  I hate that.  I hate that new generations of children are unnecessarily put at risk but nobody will talk about, acknowledge, or face up to past horrors. 

I try to stay off the soapbox but people need to speak out and deal with shit.  There's someone in my life who barely understands how much of a victim they are but they are basically ostracised from their family who stick by the guilty party and won't hear a word of what happened because "it was years ago."  Fuck that.

I'm not claiming to be an expert in anything, I can only write what makes sense to me.  In one of my short story collections is a story called A Skeleton in my Closet and another called Childlike Bride.  The victims in these stories are defenseless and abandoned by those who should be there to protect them.  Not everyone gets my intentions with those stories but that's the chance we take when we write anything.  In the story, Justice, most people feel that a young child was harmed but when I first wrote it, the child was the woman's grown-up daughter and the man was the daughter's partner.  That's the beauty of a short story, it's so open to interpretation that it can be a hundred different stories depending on who reads it.

With the other collection, Sixty Seconds, a lot of the stories involve gangland type crimes.  I remember going to school and seeing police beat up schoolfriend's older brothers.  I remember police running away in fear.  I keep seeing old friends and their families in the paper because they've killed people or been shot at.  I know young fathers who were murdered before they could see their unborn children and I know victims who just can't take it anymore.  I know families who are torn apart and can't go home because it's too dangerous.  I've had a seven year old boy threaten to rape me, egged on by older lads (guess what he grew up to be).  An old friend grew up to be a woman beating animal who almost strangled his girlfriend because she miscarried.  Someone close to me held a stranger as the man bled to death after being shot.  A friend's boyfriend threatened to burn down my house and kill my family because his girlfriend wouldn't answer the phone.  I deal with these things by writing stories.  They aren't directly taken from life but it's my way of getting the crap out of my head.

Going back to victims being forced to "forget" about the past and move on for the sake of family, this even applies slightly to Thirst.  Ava's relationship with her grandmother has a similar theme running through it - Ava's unacknowledged trauma hasn't been dealt with and comes through in her OCD.  The OCD aspect is there because there is no other outlet for her anxiety - she's a number counter and it gives her a sense of control.  She's a functioning adult, she went to school, she had a serious boyfriend but she chooses to distance herself from society, thus accentuating her symptoms.  (I have social anxiety, if I avoid people, it gets worse so this was my thinking regarding Ava - however, I can make a show of being normal if I have to, I've been "acting" most of my life). 

Most people have some form of OCD but it isn't all about keeping things in order and it isn't the comic thing that most of us make light of now and then.  There's all sorts of serious forms of OCD regarding numbers - rarely acknowledged fully in media but in the film Camp, one of the characters mentions their number issue that requires medication - and a lot of sufferers don't realise that it is actually OCD and that many other people are going through the same thing.  Yay for the 'net, letting people know they aren't alone. 

It's hard to understand if you haven't dealt with it and it isn't a quirk, it's pretty fucking serious if you can't control it.  There are many forms, counting and multiplying randomly, hearing a word and repeating it using the order of numbers in the alphabet (and using those numbers mathematically to eventually come up with a certain base number) or having good and bad numbers and doing anything possible not to use the bad numbers. 

There is so much more than this that I could never do justice to, I'm just trying to give basic examples but you catch my drift.  In every day life this can be more consuming than hand washing and it's an internal symptom that isn't picked up on by other people all that often.  Imagine being a little kid trying to explain why you're spacing out when you have absolutely no idea what you're doing.

In pretty much all of the longer stories I write, there's forms of racism.  Not based on colour (because I don't have the skills), but more of a species/fantasy race prejudice type thing.  Probably because I find racism impossible to understand.  I suppose I'll keep using it subconsciously until I figure it out in my head.  I'm just thinking about all of the novels I've written and yep, there's always something that boils down to racism - more importantly, fear and ignorance.  I need a new theme.  :)

I'm a selfish writer.  I write for me.  I don't write for fame or fortune (sorry OH), I write to make myself happy.  I write the things I want to read.  I don't know how to write any other way.  I like to know the reasons why people act the way they do and writing helps me understand problems, motivations, disorders.  My answer to why I write is that I need to understand why.  Not knowing, not understanding, this gets in the way of me dealing with anything.  I need the answer to why to move on so I write to find/understand some of the answers.  I live in major fear of someone hurting my kids, it's something I became quite obsessive about until I started letting it go by writing stories - I have trouble dealing with my past, so I write about it (no, I don't publish those stories, LOL).  Basically the answer to every question is writing is my way of letting my warped mind deal with life without me cracking up completely. 

Maybe I'll get into the overused fantasy issue (and the lack of HEAs) some other time, this post is long enough.  :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Just skip to the end for my actual check-in.

On Wednesday I said Taunt was up to 14k.  Later that day, I think, my laptop decided to mess with me and I ended up losing some of Taunt. 

On Thursday, I caught up and brought Taunt back up to 14k.  I despise rewriting lost material.

On Friday, my daughter scalded herself and ended up in A&E.  She spilled a drop of something hot, panicked and managed to knock the rest of it over her.  They bandaged her hands and stomach and she got home late that night.  I went into a weird place, somehow blaming writing on her accident.  I wasn't writing at the time so I suppose I just want to blame something other than myself.  I was two feet away from her and saw it happening but didn't get to her in time to stop it. 

A second quicker and I might have gotten my own arms in the way and taken the worst of it for her.  Just one second and I could have taken some of her pain.  The screams alone broke my heart, I was shaking more than her.  It's hard to keep your own child calm when you're about to fall apart yourself but they tend to bounce back a lot quicker than you.  I couldn't even take her to the hospital because I'm still breastfeeding and we don't have a car (or carseats) so it just made more sense for her Dad to take her in a taxi instead of me taking her and the baby.  The baby was upset all night anyway so maybe I should have gone.  I basically fretted with the phone in my hand until they returned.

On Saturday morning, my OH took our daughter back to the hospital to see the plastic surgeon.  It's a busy hospital and 8am is the only time you're guaranteed to see one.  It was meant to be a ten minute visit but they decided her burns were worse than they thought so she's in there until Tuesday at the very least.  That will be the day they decide if skin grafts are needed. 

I stayed there last night and came home this morning to feed the baby basically.  I'm having something to eat myself then spending time with the other kids before switching places with my OH and spending the night again.  She's using my laptop to watch DVDs and she's being very brave.  It's less than two weeks before her 4th birthday and she hasn't whined at all - even though she has a right too.  She did give me attitude last night though, a sure sign she's doing well.  :)

I wrote a little while she was asleep so Taunt is up to 15k.  I probably won't get a chance to do much visiting this week so check out the other participants here.          

Friday, February 4, 2011

Knock 123

I can't stop listening to this song today.  It's a perfect writing playlist song for a certain WIP. 

I love Imelda May. Most of her stuff is rockabilly and she's from the same area as me - the Liberties is full of untapped talent, just sayin . . . .  I don't know her personally but I'm a big fan and I always like to hear a familiar accent on interviews.  :)  I honestly don't know why she isn't blazing the charts on a regular basis. This needs to be rectified. 

I'm so tired of sexified (to the point of caricature) female singers.  It's not original anymore to keep pushing the limits.  If you have to try that hard . . . :/  Why not try something like, I don't know, a singing voice good enough to stand on its own? 

Another amazing lady is Adele.  Listen.  Watch.  Be blown away. 

My laptop went insane yesterday and lost all of my work from the day before so I spent yesterday catching up and now I'm entirely unmotivated.  Hence this post.  I'm going to watch the Lightning Thief with the family now and maybe later I'll think about forcing myself to do some work.  :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cleopatra, Coming At Ya

This is me procrastinating.  I haven't written a non-ROW80 post in an age. 

I'm on the fence about some stuff . . . again.  Kinda sorta thinking about doing something I haven't considered before.  Two or three things, actually.  They could benefit me in the long term but in the short term, would definitely get in the way of what I'm doing right now.  I hate being a grown-up sometimes.

Other news.  In January (by the way, how awesome was January for ebook sales?  People don't read anymore, really?), my OH challenged me to accomplish a certain something by my birthday in March.  Managed it on the 1st of February so I earned myself a new desk.  Hell to the yeah.  I work well on rewards, I like the pretties.  :)

Speaking of pretties, I gots mah hair did last night.  Four hours of sitting around doing nothing.  I hate getting my hair done which is why it's a rarity.  If I had to actually go to a hairdressers, I'd just stay home and learn how to do it myself.  Anyway, by 11pm, I had a bob, black and (Rihanna) red hair plus my first fringe in about thirteen years.  Bloody hell, that takes some getting used to. 

Interesting post on DWS's blog today - comparing the cash flow of indie and trad publishing.  And while you're at it, here's one from Camille LaGuire.  I meant to link to it before but it's a good one for those who are wondering why all of these "crappy" books are selling so well.  Though not exactly connected, this reminds me, I recently read a review that basically implied the reviewer normally had trouble reading books and that particular book was written so simply that (even) they were able to read and enjoy it.  A lot of writers look down their nose at simplicity, at "lesser" writing, but I think that's an amazing review.

Sometimes we forget that not all readers are the same or have the same reading level/wants/needs.  Maybe one of the reasons why people haven't seemed to read as much over the last few decades is because there hasn't been books for them.  Some of us become writers to write the things we want to read.  We only have to do that if the need isn't being supplied.  For whatever reason, there are those who want simple, uncomplicated styles of writing that allow them to easily enjoy a book - to be entertained in a non-taxing way.  Others want more dense and thought provoking books.  Some want a mixture of both. 

The point is, there's a place for all kinds of literature and certain books become popular for a reason - usually because the writer knows (and finds) their audience.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February Fresh

I love February.  At school, the first of February is the day we would go to the canal to get reeds and make the cross of St Brigid to mark the first day of Spring.  I miss having stupid looking home-made reed crosses around.  :)

First Check-In of February and I figured I needed to take a look at my goals - considering I completely forgot about one of them last month.  So my original (major) goals were:

  • Write 500 words a day, Monday to Friday (at least)
  • Write 2,500 words a week (at least)
  • Edit the y/a novel (without clawing my eyes out)
  • Write one short story a month
  • Replot Taunt
  • Rewrite first draft of Taunt
I didn't always write regularly.  Case in point, I didn't do a thing on Monday and barely got anything done on Tuesday of this week alone.  *Is lazy*

I definitely got my weekly words done but mostly because I banged them all out in the one session.

I edited half of Verity then decided it needed a rewrite so changed my goal to that.  I finished that on Sunday so it now needs some space and then a round of edits.  For real this time.

I completely forgot about the short story. 

I replotted Taunt.  Literally the only thing that went to plan in January.  Although it took longer than I expected.  :)

The first draft of Taunt is now at 14k words.  I'm a little sad I took such a detour from it but I was able to jump straight into it this morning so it's looking like it's not quite as cold as I feared.

Taking all of that into account - here are my new goals for February:

  • Write at least 500 words a day - Monday to Friday.  I'm keeping this because I still need that schedule to kick in for me or I'll waste hours when I should be at least attempting to write.
  • Write at least 5,000 words a week.  I'm upping this because I need to get this draft of Taunt done, hopefully this month but if not at least I'll have a good chunk done.
  • Finish rewriting the first draft of Taunt.  
  • Spend at least a half hour daily working on organisation.  By organisation, I mean keeping my folders and files updated, regarding, in particular, character sheets and world building info - actually, over the weekend, the twins pretty much destroyed everything I had done so far so I've a lot to do here. 

 Good luck in February people!  Check out everyone else's progress here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ooh, My Wicked Heart

First up, ROW80 updates.  It's been a good week for me.  I've gotten a fair bit done on Verity but I'm still stuck on the same problem.  It's at 62k right now and basically needs one or two chapters adjusted and a little bit of rewriting once I figure out how to link the new and old stuff properly.  If/when I figure out that niggling problem, it's done and I'm on to Taunt. 

One of my original ROW80 goals was to edit Verity and, technically, I have so I sort of feel like I've accomplished something in January.  The best bit is that I don't hate the story and I'm enjoying the characters again.  I told my OH earlier that I think I might actually be done with it this year.  So whoop whoop for that.  One month done, lots of up and downs, but I'm a happy camper.  :)  Hope you're all feeling optimistic for February!

ETA:  Okay, been waffling to my OH again.  The poor thing (he's not a reader) has no idea what the book is about or who the characters are but he helped me figure out how to bridge the gap I've been moaning about.  It's just for now so I have an actual complete story to edit but it might work long-term.  We'll see.  It'll bulk up the action, which is good because I'm crap at the romance.  I feel a little guilty for what I'm putting these kids through.  :D

On to other schtuff.  Fellow ROW80er, Vicki Keire, author of Gifts of the Blood, made me cry this week.  Actual tears, people.  She gave Thirst a really generous, thoughtful review on her blog.  See, I'm not used to people talking about stuff I've written.  When Andrew Mocete interviewed me, he did a little intro about Thirst and said what it was about and I swear, I was on a high for days.  Days.  That stuff is addictive.  My stories are in my head, I talk about them to nobody, yet the characters are like family so when somebody else "knows" them, it gets to me.  Sad, I know!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thank You

Last check-in I took the comments on board and decided to take Sunday night off.  On Monday I ran away from work until that evening when I printed out everything.  While that was going, I jotted down a few things I wanted to adjust in the story and came up with a new idea that doesn't solve all my problems but gave me enough of a boost to start enjoying what I'm doing.  Still haven't gotten that big breakthrough but after reading all your comments, I'm happier about it so thank you.  I've stopped tormenting myself about it, it'll happen when I'm ready for it.  *Please don't require a major rewrite*

I'm going through all of the chapters I'm keeping and noting little additions and cuts I need to make for the whole manuscript to make sense then I'll be going through the 40k or so I cut and marking out the things I want/need to keep before I rewrite the end.  I've gotten through seven chapters so far and am feeling good about it.  If I work hard then I'll be finished with it soon - really hard and I'll be finished this round of edits/rewriting by February.  I've also come up with a few ideas for the sequel, not sure if that's a good thing or not.  :D

I would absolutely love to finish Verity this year - it takes up so much of my time, it's ridiculous.  I can't work on anything else for long because it starts bugging me again.  I'm still thinking about Taunt though, so it's not a total loss.  There's a little twist I've been thinking about and wondering is it time for plus I've been getting to know one of my more unpredictable characters, always fun.  The fae novel has been springing up a bit too again - I wish I didn't need to sleep.  :)

So updates are, I kinda plotted and I've edited seven chapters with the new plot in mind. 

I know I keep changing my goals but bloody hell, I didn't expect to change my mind about Verity this many times.  ;)  My mood has improved bucketloads, sorry for the whininess last check-in!  I would have chucked it all in if it wasn't for ROW80 so again, thank ye very much.

New goals:

  • Get latest version of Verity out of the way so I can get back to Taunt. 
  • Stop sitting around doing nothing when things aren't going like I planned.
  • Visit more of my fellow ROW80ers than I did last week.
  • Remember it's still only January - this round isn't nearly over so we've lots of time to crack on.
Check out everyone else's progress here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Let It Be


Mac have a Wonder Woman collection coming out.  Take that Barbie.  I love Wonder Woman, it might not be out over here until March which coincides with not just the end of ROW80 *reward!* but also my birthday.  Hi, Mister Farrell.  ;)  You can tell I really love all things Wonder Woman because I used bold and italics.

My 6 month old keeps making strange with me.  WTF?  Everytime I get out of the bath, she puts on a sad lip and won't feed.  I know I take my time in the bath but I'm not gone that long.

Kids are all okay, thanks for asking.  Except for the boldness, dear god, the boldness.  They're all looking forward to getting away from each other.  Even my sensible kid had a meltdown this week because his sister was singing in her own room and he couldn't concentrate so his lego fell apart.  Um, yeah, roll on school.

Not feeling very social this week so I'll do my blog rounds later.  Serious case of the blahs this week, mostly down to the following paragraph.  Goddamnit.

ROW80 Update:  Since Wednesday, I've basically been trying not to let my head explode.  Need to figure out how new second half of Verity fits in with end of Verity - finding it hard to write while I'm thinking so hard.  I feel like something obvious is just. right. there. but no, can't find it.

I've been plotting and have gotten roughly 5k worth of new chapters written so weekly challenges done.

Rest of the challengers are here:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

So It Goes

What's happened since the last ROW80 check-in?

Six members of my household are sick now so no school.  Again.  Last time I said I was editing Verity in full before I returned to Taunt.  Yeah, well, not really. 

I got to the half way point and felt like there was too much going in the second half but not enough excitement.  I talked it out with my OH - by that I mean I spoke to him in incomplete sentences and he nodded, pretended he understood and thought about Arsenal/World of Warcraft/how many minutes until bedtime. 

I realised the pacing would probably be better if the big fight at the end came in the middle instead as part of the big reveal and I stopped trying to squeeze a series worth of minor story arcs into one book.  After some more rambling in sentences that I never managed to finish I had a better idea, one so awesome it requires an almost total rewrite of the second half of the book and a purge of certain plotlines.  *Screams soundlessly*

So.  Changing my goals.  Instead of editing Verity (I. Was. So. Close.) I will need to rewrite the second half and probably do a bit of an outline to tidy up major and minor plot points.  Part of me can't bear the idea but my dominant half is excited so it all works out.  ;)  Also, I'll need to use the new stuff to fit in with book 2 so I want to jot down the ideas I've been getting for that. 

I should really be concentrating on Taunt - since I'll be epublishing it - but I'm too stubborn to let Verity go.  If I die and that book isn't finished, I'm going to be really pissed.  By the next check-in, I would like to have a clear path to the end of Verity - even if it's just an outline.  I'm not being ambitious considering how much "but it's my turn to sit beside Mammy" is going on.  Oh, and by February all of this mind-changing better be done, okay self?

For more sensible check-in posts, clicky here.

  • I edited like ten chapters but it might not count in the end.
  • I haz a new plan. 
P.S. (Just 'cos these amuse me).

Take the last two digits of the year you were born plus the age you will be this year.

Answer: 111

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Check-In Time

Funny sort of week.  After reading everyone's comments and posts after the last check-in, I started thinking and realised I was looking for the perfect time to write.  Except there is no perfect time so I was wasting reasonably worthwhile chunks of time instead. I'm at a messy stage right now, think laptop and mounds of paper and notes spread all around me in a humongous circle, so I've been waiting until I'm alone to write.  I realised that was silly and sat down with a pen and paper to write down a couple of notes (amongst the battling toddlers) and ended up rewriting the entire outline.  One goal done. 

I deleted chapters and then wrote more than my week's word count in one day so weekly goal done (although I'm not finished yet).

I got a small bit of editing done but I've been mostly hands-free for the last few days because my eldest daughter has been sick (she even missed her belated Christmas party at playschool because she vomited all over the classroom) and my youngest daughter had a bit of a reaction to her injections.  Sometimes only Mammy's cuddles will do.  Add in some visitors yesterday and work has slowed down again.  But, today is mine, sort of, and I'm planning on getting as much editing done as possible because I want Verity out of the way next week so I can concentrate fully on Taunt.  Taunt's exciting me right now so I want to devote all my time to it.

I feel like this week has gone well, blips and all.  I just have to keep remembering to work with what I've got.  Part of it has been the really good, positive atmosphere from the rest of the ROW80 challengers.  There's something very inspiring about it all.  I'm also thinking part of me feeling like I had a good week is down to the fact I've been avoiding the internet as much as possible for the last three or four days - definitely been a good thing for me.  I might try more of the same.

Quick question for anyone in the know.  (I should have stayed offline.  LOL).  A reviewer said they were offended by the little copyright paragraph at the beginning of my book.  I thought we had to have this and that all books have it.  Am I being stupid and knobby by adding it?  I vaguely remember copying it from somewhere, maybe the Smashwords Style Guide.  Anyone have more of a clue than me?  *Confused*

ETA:  Just read this blog post on managing your time and thought it might be useful - or just interesting to read.  Good luck next week everyone!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Signing Off

I had been feeling frustrated with Taunt and yesterday I think I figured out why.  It's supposed to be a novella and I had written a drawn out novel to "win" NaNoWriMo so I had some great chapters that were fun to write but didn't add to or carry along the plot.  I realised I had to cut my favourite chapter (oh, how it hurt) and go in a different, more condensed direction.  I sat down with a pen and paper to scribble down a detail I had forgotten in the first chapter and ended up re-writing the entire outline of the story.  Take that ROW80 goals!

I'm feeling good about it and I think I'm back in business but I've been so tired today that I've spent most of the day fluting about the Internet.  I need to concentrate on fixing Taunt and work some more on editing Verity, which reads like it was written by a 12 year old.  I don't even know where to start on Verity - yes, it's that bad.  I need help.  Lots and lots of help. 

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I'll finish Taunt this round.  (Did I mention I figured it out?  Can you hear the angel choir?)  Although I won't if I keep getting distracted online so I'm taking myself offline for a bit.  Not completely but I'm definitely cutting down - apart from my ROW80 commitments.

So I'm officially taking a step back until I have something to show for it.  For real.  I mean it.  If you happen to see me skulking in forums then send me home.  Kick me off Facebook.  No Twitter.  I shall work hard this week.  If I can't work for some reason then I shall read.  And maybe even finish a book this month.  Yeah, sounds like a plan.  Until Sunday, then I have to read everyone's check ins.  ;)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I think I have a small problem.  :)  Some of the feedback I've gotten regarding Thirst sounds like a lot of people seem to think it's PnR.  Or at least expect it to be.  Erm, whoops.  I'm not a HEA kind of writer and I never intended Thirst to be anything close to romance.  The bigger whoops here is that I'm working on the sequel during ROW80 and I cannot get the romance thing out of my head.  I keep looking at every sentence differently - which is sooooo not productive.  My update is not much to update, basically.  :)

I've been trying not to force the word count so I've put more effort into editing.  Bloody hell.  The kids are like my little shadows this week.  I ended up taking my ereader into the bath to try and edit (touchscreen is the best invention ever) but that didn't last long.  Every two minutes the eldest was knocking on the door to boast about learning another "tricky word" (senior infants homework stylee) and then I could hear the baby giving my OH grief so I gave up.  I fell asleep early last night but then I woke up at around three and got about two hours editing done so I'm happy with that.  The baby is still asleep and the twins are amusing themselves so after this post I'm going to try and get something else done.

So mid-week update - very little in the way of actual word count on Taunt, edited a moderate amount of cringey cheese from Verity but most importantly I made an effort to work each day so overall I'm quite happy.  I've gotten past the forcing myself stage and I'm just getting on with it and trying not to get frustrated when everything else gets in the way.  Hope everyone else is feeling good about their goals.  :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Horse Outside

Quick edit here to say: 

  • So sorry I chose blogger.  I'm really sorry to everyone who struggles to leave a comment, it's ridiculous.  I didn't know the comment thingy had changed so much when I started this blog.  Next time, I'm picking Wordpress.
  • Thanks for the comments on the whole courage to be crap thing.  It's always a little reassuring when people get what you mean.  :)
  • I am currently overwhelmed by new blogs, blog posts and comments.  If the world could stop blogging long enough for me to catch up, that would be ah-may-zang.
  • The kids are back in school, the kids are back in school, the kids are back in schoo-oo-oo-ool.

He finally did it.  My OH has been pestering me with this song for weeks now and it's finally stuck in my head.  I wake up singing it, I fall asleep singing it, I'll go insane singing it. 

This was number 2 in the Irish charts by the way.  *Shakes head*

Unsuitable for work!  All I have to say is - Giddy up now, baby.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

ROW80 - Week One

ROW80 updates today.  I hope everyone feels like they're doing well - if not, no worries, tomorrow is a brand new week.  Make a fresh start next week if you have to and keep making an effort at your goals, doesn't matter if you don't always meet your goals as long as you have a go.

I haven't done a great deal of work this week.  I haven't worked on Verity since my last update, but I'm getting a few hours to myself late tonight so if I'm awake, I'll work on that.  I'm using my ereader to make notes and such, then make the changes in my document when I'm done.  It's slow work but I find I do my best editing this way.  It's something I can do around the kids but not while I'm feeding the baby (or if the kids decide they want to scribble on my ereader too) so I generally have to wait until I've a child-free block of time.

I have around 4k of Taunt written, or rather rewritten.  It sounds okay until I tell you it was the part of the story that needed the least amount of work.  I printed out a hard copy of the document, went at it with a red pen, switched around the sequence of events and typed up the new first three chapters.  I took a quick glance at the entire first draft I had - it's not as awful as I thought but it needs a lot of tightening, better organisation of the time line and one particularly long conversation needs to be destroyed.  :)  I also realised I had forgotten a character or two and need to create some character sheets on them.

I only have the beginning of Taunt replotted but it's much better - I feel more focused on what's happening and yesterday some very important backstory showed itself for the first time.  I've been worrying about a certain storyline and feeling like the motivations weren't portrayed very well so now I have a new dimension to that which helps make it clearer and helps me with the portion of the story I'll be working on next week.  It wouldn't have occurred to me if I hadn't been thinking about the story every day so thank you, ROW80.

I feel like I didn't work very hard this week but tomorrow, the schools are open again so I'll have two less children at home in the mornings and the whole family will be back to a getting up at the same time every day routine which might actually help me with ROW80.  Hopefully, I'll be able to organise my time a bit better next week.  I have made an effort to do something every day so if that becomes a habit, I'll be very pleased.

Week One Update:

  • Taunt - 4k (re)written
  • Verity - 3 chapters edited
  • Plot - First section done.

My reading challenge hasn't gone too well but that's normal for me.  Next week I could read ten books then the week after, nothing at all.  The fifteen minutes a day bit isn't happening.  Maybe next week.  :)

ETA:  Forgot to add the update link.  *And is typo queen today*

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Courage to be Crap and not Compete

I had to link to this blog post about writers not having to compete against each other.  It's about the myth that writers and books have to compete with each other.  Like people only buy one book in their lifetimes.  Really, the opposite is true - at least in my opinion.  People who like to read buy books.  Plural.  And lots of them.  They like a book and look for similar ones.  This is why Amazon's "people also bought" works so well.  One book succeeds and all of those linked to it do a lot better too.  I've talked about this before, I believe we will all ride on the coattails of somebody else's fame - it's a co-operative effort despite our claims of independence. 

On that particular article I linked to, there's the idea that indies are more likely to feel in competition with each other - and with traditionally published books too.  Bingo.  So very true.  Hang out on any writer's forum and this is the kind of atmosphere you'll eventually find.  Some get a tiny bit obsessed with what everyone else is doing and how to emulate it.  Unfortunately, the minority get a little bitter and twisted about how those they perceive as being less talented than them are doing so well with little effort.  (I know for a fact A Little Girl bugs the shit out of one or two people - in a good-natured sort of way - because I've never exactly ran around promoting it but it's a steady (but not great) seller.  It's okay, I'm baffled too). 

Lately, I've been a little saddened by a number of attitudes (by people I've thought were cool/nice/smart enough not to get dragged down by this) towards some who are quite successful even though they aren't the most skilled in the way of editing/grammar/spelling/etc.  I can't respect someone who makes snide remarks about their thoughts on another person's level of talent in a passive-aggressive sort of way.  If you think they aren't doing a good job then help them, why put them down and wait for readers to embarrass them?  To quote the post I linked to earlier:

If your book sucks, your story is dull, your cover bad and unreadable, it isn’t another writer’s fault. That is your fault.

Basically, my attitude is this.  If a writer is successful, they are doing something right - even if you think they are awful, awful writers (I'm sure Stephenie Meyers is very upset by claims of her lack of talent, yet remains well-buffered by her wads of cash).  If you aren't doing as well, maybe you're missing something.  You.  Don't waste time blaming somebody else.  Keep writing, work hard and you will get there when your time comes, there's room for lots of people to do well, chill. 

I read Dean Wesley Smith's blog regularly and get a kick out of it.  He writes those wake up and smell the coffee type posts wherein he sounds incredulous that people would even come up with this shit.  Love it.  If you're ever getting wrapped up in your own ego and what everyone else is doing and achieving, stop comparing rankings and sales long enough to read some of his blog posts and get a quick kick up the arse that will send you back down to earth where you belong. 

He writes posts like Dare to be Bad, which truly resonates with me.  In that one, he talks about being confident enough to send the work out to stand on its own legs before you edit and rewrite it to death.  I'm so not saying people don't need to edit - just, you know, learn to quit while you're ahead.  :)

This post reads as though it were written for me specifically.  Seriously, I edit and tweak the life out of everything.  I thought I hated editing (okay, I do, but not as much as I thought) because I have one manuscript in particular I just can't finish.  I've edited it so much, I've lost the heart of the story.  I've edited out the humour, the originality and everything that made me smile when I reread it.  I'm left with something that is technically better but a lot less fun to read. 

My problem is twofold.  I don't know when something is finished and I'm terrified of disappointing people.  I got over it a little when I published A Little Girl and One Night.  I disappointed enough people that I wasn't scared of it anymore.  :)  I'm fine with people not liking something but I have a problem with feeling like I took money from someone and disappointed them.  Negative comments don't actually hurt me though.

I learned things I would apply to other stories so I was happy with the feedback, good and bad.  Then I went back to work on a novel and lost my confidence (or courage) again.  I forced myself to publish something else before 2010 finished because it was a now or never sort of thing.  I hadn't finished anything all year and was holding myself back.  If I didn't publish Thirst when I did, I would have tweaked it for the next three years and probably ended up giving up on it.  I sent it out, listened to feedback and now believe it's not as good as I thought but not as bad as I panic-nightmared.  :)  Some people liked it, some people thought it was just okay and nobody's opinion killed me. 

Actually declaring a finishing point made me appreciate editing a little more and despise it a little less.  It will never be my friend but I think the whole arch-nemesis thing has calmed down a tad.  My new thing for this year is to stop being scared, to have the courage to be crap and to learn from said crapness for the next book.  We can't learn without making a few mistakes and breaking a few rules along the way - we can't move forward without risking failure too.  (Some of the most successful and not-so-successful indies this year took chances and risked failure while a lot of us hmmed and hawwed and were too scared to put our babies out there in case they weren't ready).  So I'm going to risk failing this year - it's better than not ever knowing.  /Epic post

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Regrets: Comes with Bonus Lecture

I pride myself on going through life with as few regrets as possible.  I speak my mind, I do what I believe is the right thing, I write the stories I want regardless of the market, I make my own decisions (and take responsibility for them) and I'm happier for it.  The truth only offends the guilty, that's my kind of thinking.  I've done plenty of stupid things but most of them led me down the right path in the end so they worked out.

However, I have one regret.  It's kind of a biggie.  It's something I can't change and will always make me shake my fist at my younger self.  I'm in a happy place right now, I love my family and I get to write.  Bigtime loving going on.  Writing keeps my mind clear and (as long as I don't get suckered in to self-doubt and lack of sales depression lol) it makes me a happier person.  Writing regularly stops me from turning into a grumpy she-witch from hell.

It hasn't always been like that - hence the big regret.  I've taken this more seriously and have learned more in the past year than I could have dreamed possible.  But why couldn't I have learned all of this years ago, I would be awesome by now.  Or not, but try not to kill my dream.

When I began the Kindle thing, I had maybe four novels written and a whole pile of short stories.  The fact that none of those novels have been published tells you everything you need to know.  :)  I didn't write regularly, even before I had my children (when I really had no excuse) because I always gave up.  At various points in my life, certain major events pretty much killed me inside a little and the writing always stopped.  Once or twice, I ignored the words for years at a time.  I always thought it was because I was too worried/down to concentrate but (after writing through a relatively recent horrible event) I now see, I just gave up. 

That's my regret.  Giving up, not making the most of the time I had, not making more of an effort to learn, allowing the ego to grow large enough to occupy a country of its own when people (who didn't know better) praised instead of balancing their comments, trying to adjust stories to fit a certain length and never fully allowing real emotion.  It bugs me on a daily basis how much I've held myself back.  I can't blame anyone else or any of the things that happened.  I'm the one who made the decision to stop, to give up - I chose not to work through it.  I should have worked harder.  I'm the one who wasted time.  If I hadn't, I would have reached this stage a long time ago.

Which leads me on to a new pet peeve.  People undermining the success of young writers.  If they worked hard for years, they deserve their success.  Books don't fall out of your arse, you have to put time and effort into them.  I can't try to diminish the success of writers my age just because I was a lazy git while they worked hard, you know?

Leave genres out of it too.  Genre doesn't guarantee sales or success.  Trust me - my weird flash fiction sells a hell of a lot better than my urban fantasy (which contains a few vampires).  There has to be some talent there, some story that people connect with, some skill, a tiny bit of luck and most importantly, a market.  The amount of work, skill, talent and effort put into a book has no connection with age or genre. 

Someone who picks up a pen for the first time at 40 is not automatically "better" than a 30 year old who has been writing constantly since their teens (and in some cases, vice-versa).  And hot genres change, what does it matter anyway?  PnR writers aren't somehow stealing readers from Thriller writers.  (And yes, even though I am none of these things, the insinuations bother me greatly).  So, you know, stop.  Or I'll . . . have a moan on my blog.  ;)