So I appeared on an online panel for JordanCon this week. To FTL or not to FTL. I let my science geek self fly, and I also cursed *several times.* You have been warned.
If you have already read my books and want me to write the next Mindspace w/ That Amazing Idea instead of *checks notes* ghostwriting a business book for an expert this summer, I need you to do a thing.
Sign up for my list here: https://bit.ly/39gsKfv & check the box.
Will I write the next Mindspace even if you don’t? Sure, eventually. Or I might write that space opera romance that’s been niggling at me.
But if you want me to write Mindspace *instead of* a business book *this year,* check the box. If I get enough people on that list, I’ll schedule Mindspace instead of a business book this summer. I wrote a little over 4 business books last year, and the new idea for Mindspace Five is singing. My writer’s group loves it.
First crime scene is already written and is creepy as SHIT, btw. And the twist!!
I’m getting a little excited about it as we speak. *looks over at pile of bill-paying client work* Maybe I’ll find some time end of the week.
I just had another lovely fan reach out to me on Facebook wanting to know when the next book is coming out, so I thought I’d check in publicly.
As of February 17 2019, with the fallout from November’s fourth round of Major Life Shit still dogging me, I’ve stopped promising a release date. I’m about 2/3rds done with a rough draft at this point, and have been stuck there since November. Financial circumstances have meant that I’ve been leaning heavy on freelancing, ghostwriting, and editing, so I wrote 3.5 books last year for other people, which is great. My stuff, for some reason, is just… hard when I’m crying already.
(I’ve had four rounds of Major Life Shit, unfortunately, none of which is public yet, so let’s just say I’ve dug in, I’m not giving up, and we shouldn’t have this big a delay again, God willing. I’m due some quiet.)
If I haven’t said so recently, I’ll say so now – thank you. Thank you to all of you who have reached out, who have encouraged, who have believed in me despite the long hiatus. The fact that you guys continue to read and to care means the world to me. I cherish every email, every message, and every recommendation.
As I’m sure you guys have figured out, blogging is largely not happening with my current writing and freelance load. The good news is that I’m writing again! I’m working on lots of fun and amazing freelance projects as well.
And I’m spending a lot of time chasing toddler too. 🙂
Blogging and social media are falling pretty far down the list. I’ll let you guys know when the next stories come out! Otherwise, all the hugs.
Hi all, so I wrote a cool videogame story a couple of months ago – the project is called Clockwork Heart, and you play it like one of the old “Choose Your Own Adventure Books,” picking your favorite option out of several to advance the story in whatever direction you prefer.
Clockwork Heart is a steampunk story where “you” get involved in a heist to save your brother’s life. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m incredibly proud of it. I’m also finally ready to share it with the world, and have finally figured out how.
Download the .zip file from the link below, unzip, and open the html file by right clicking and loading it into your favorite browser program. (Hopefully totally works–if not we’ll see what we can figure out 🙂 )
Hope you love it!
(Note: the story’s a tad bit more violent than my usual. And there are swear words and blood and such. Also, feel free to share with everybody, for free! But don’t alter, charge for it, or use in a commercial project without talking to me first. Thanks 🙂 )
So it’s been kind of a hard week. Beginning on Thursday, the baby got sick with bad congestion – which turned into vomiting, lots and lots of vomiting. Fun. There was a trip to the doctor somewhere in there, some good intentions and lots of scrubbing vomit from the floor, but mostly it was comforting the baby who found all the vomiting traumatic. I don’t blame her at all, but screaming was no fun for me. Then, Sam started vomiting – even more vomiting than the baby had, epic epic vomiting. He was eventually so bad that if he had thrown up one more time, we would’ve gone to the ER. In the end, he was able to keep enough water down to get through the night and started turning around–far too slow.
Then, as the baby was starting to feel better, baby vomit turned to baby diarrhea – easier for her, and less scrubbing of the furniture for me, but still very demanding. Especially since I hurt my back a few weeks ago. Fortunately, my mom responded to the SOS and swooped in to help. Just in time. Even with a back brace, things were getting far too difficult. Sam was weak as a kitten, sleeping nearly all day. I was starting to feel sick, and of course, the baby started to feel better – and then start teething with her front molars. The most painful teeth of all. My kid who won’t snuggle to save her life wanted to be held every hour of every day. And I couldn’t lift her without pain. Let’s just say, my mom earned all the thanks by taking care of babies so I could go lay down and sleep.
My mom made me sleep, and eat, and I managed to limp through my work deadline, and put another one off until next week. And finally – finally – take a minute to think.
This parenting thing is hard.
Tell me about your worst parenting week so I feel a little better, k?
I am sitting here staring at a pile of envelopes addressed to me. They arrived while I was in Italy, and each is from a different city–one even from New Zealand. Each is handwritten in a different hand, on different cards and handmade drawings and happy stationary. And none is signed except with the name (or symbol) for something called the Carp and Bee Society.
I have opened up these cards, one at a time over the last week or so, a time when my spirits were very low since I hurt my back coming back from Venice and can’t take care of the baby quite yet. I have opened up the cards and read line after line of kind words–and even a poem!–from incredible people telling me to hang in there, to keep writing, to hope and write and create even in dark times. Every line has meant the world to me.
To the fans–to Carp and Bee, whomever you are–thank you.
I am touched beyond words.
I will be teaching a class on Publishing 101 and one on Worldbuilding March 11th and March 18th, respectively, at the Neighborhood Studio in Norcross, GA.
For all the info, check it out at their website here: https://www.neighborhoodstudioatlanta.com/creative-writing.
So I’ve told you that I’ve come to Venice with writer friends. Inevitably, the writer friends and I sit down and teach each other writing, work on projects, and do writing exercises as a group.
This time my good friend Ann brought a series of perfume oils for us each to smell. Smell is one of the most powerful senses, she said, and one that people all-too-frequently neglect in their work. I’ve always loved smell–I love the emotions it evokes even in description. I love the universality of it. I love its impossibility to really describe except in terms of food or known smells.
In any case, when Ann had us smell each of the oils, we had to write down what came to mind. An image or images. An emotion. A character. A memory.
I thought you might find my results interesting. Obviously I can’t transport the starting smell across the internet, sadly! But perhaps you’ll get an idea of what they were to start with from the descriptions.
Here we go:
Vanilla shortbread roasting in the oven while a doughy woman with large arms beats a bowl of rich orange frosting with almond liquor. You walk into the bakery and the smell hits you in the face. A small poodle sits on a royal purple pillow on a table next to the door, a chair set next to it so it can get down whatever it likes. It barks at you, and you pet it. You pet its wiry curls, and breathe in the roasting shortbread smell. The cookies are almost burned, you think.
The doughy woman looks up.
A sea anemone unfurls its spiraled arms as the last dying ember of sun disappears from the ocean. A passing squid squirts its ink and the darkening water turns black and thick. The anemone tenses up, pulling in.
A diver ambles by, small and steady, a stranger in the void. He is looking for experience, for treasure. He is sad.
Dark violet wood shaves under the round tool of the alien artisan. Back and forth he lathes, shavings scattering like silken spores, rich dark oily scent of mahogony pooling in the air, redolent of summer days and calloused hands, a bend that will one day be a throne fit for a queen, set and still, strong and forever.
Castle lighter than air, spun of floating pastel dreams and quiet bow-string sighs. The scent of a violin, playing in the wind, a thin woman with a pale face and long fingers pouring her soul into the strings. Cotton candy, the suggestion of sweet nothing, the air of flat kindness, the memory of pale days long gone.
You board the ferry, a pastel world around, reaching for clouds and lesser things, looking at the impossible living behemouth in front of you, lighter than air and fragile. You look into its eye, larger than the floating ship that holds you, and wonder at the spun half-gone wonder of the universe.
Blackberries and German chocolate cake on an afternoon after school. A Spanish shawl, lace doilies, the loom of a child’s plaything, the browns of a small house, a large fireplace, the textured nothing of eighties interiors, a small white dog sniffs my hand while my mother asks how my day was. I reach out and touch the dirty slate of the fireplace and feel its coolness on my hand, the powdery smell of the fireplace, the brisk marsh behind the doors outside.
Christmas in the desert, orange gingerbread Christmas ornaments delivered by the Gibsons next door. You go out to watch the rain, while endless rounds of bridge go on behind you, a cheerful Golden Retriever in and out, in and out, while your grandmother complains about the mailman.
The big climbing tree sits above the rocks in front of the house, its branches bouncing in the windy rain, and you wonder if you are too old to climb it. There are books upon books inside, and you see a small lizard dart under a rock to get out of the wetness. Ahead, the luminarios across the street sputter and go out as the evening turns to dusk and the rain soaks the paper and extinguishes the candles. You hear sounds of Christmas music behind you, a choir of children.
So it turns out that my multi-tasking brain was trying to tell me something! And I have finally figured it out. As I’ve told my students in the Productivity for Writers webinar and class (both through the Odyssey Writing Workshop), when you get stuck, it’s always because there’s something wrong. I assumed there was something wrong with my emotions or time-management, or something, but no. It’s far simpler than that. There was something wrong with the PLOT for the book.
The thing is, since my brain rewired in pregnancy, *how* I get stuck feels different. I end up multi-tasking like nuts instead of despairing and wanting to do housework. BUT it’s the same trigger, the same unconscious feeling that something is wrong with the book. I just had to learn the new feeling.
I had a good writer friend visit last weekend, and we were working on writing and plotting and such (I have a new novella idea coming). I explained the plot of Book Five to her, and the subplots were all shiny and beautiful and lovely. There was one problem, though. It became quickly apparently after explaining that I was trying to write a murder mystery without a murderer. Wait, what? Duh, that was stupid. No wonder my subconscious was freaking out about it. This is a problem! But a very fixable problem now that I know what it is.
My brain settled down within an hour of me figuring this out and I was able to write (and focus) after that, even without a full solution to the murder. So. Lesson learned. I am working with new software but the same subconscious. And when in doubt, *figure it out.*
Now to go off and figure out a nice twisty murder plot (rubs hands together in glee). Oh, and be warned 🙂 – the subplots to this one are fantastic!
(Mutters in a sing-song to self:) Words, words, words…