28 Jun

Light, Fluffy Romance

Today’s search history:

  • how long does it take a murder to go to trial
  • states with shortest sentence for second-degree murder
  • how soon can you be paroled
  • on what date do you discuss heavy subjects

Yesterday’s search history:

  • best vibrators
  • using a vibrator as a couple

Same book. Writing is a trip.

Personal favorite line of the week: “Do you get paid extra to talk like a SpongeBob villain when there are no cameras around?”

Currently still right on schedule with 34,000 rough-draft words. I foresee needing a day or two soon to reevaluate what I have and get a better grip on where I’m going, but better to make no progress for a couple of days now than have to toss half the draft and rewrite from scratch because I forged ahead with a bad idea for the sake of “progress.”

24 Jun

Reading Challenge: May/June 2018

I set my 2018 Goodreads Challenge for 24 books because 2 books a month seemed achievable even in a disaster situation. Since they count every type of “finished,” including “I’m not reading another page of this dreck,” I was done for the year in April, according to them!  🎉 🎇 ✨ 💪 💃 🐙 🎆 🎊 🌟 But if you’re going to do that, you might as well count samples I looked at and decided not to continue, so I’ve imposed my own criterion of all-the-way finished. Going by books I’ve actually read all the way through, I’m at 23, so the official victory parade will have to wait just a teeny bit longer.

Links go to Amazon and are affiliate-coded. I buy all my books and have no involvement, professional or personal, with any party named below.

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16 Jun

Someone Asked: ETA on the next book

Q: You said [alarming thing], and now I’m worried there might not even be a next book. Will there be, and if so, when can we expect it?

A: I’m currently 23,000 words into the rough draft of another contemporary. Judging by the position of the Act I/II break, I guesstimate the full rough draft will run about 56,000 words, so I’m pretty well into it and committed. (Full sentences are a rare sight in my rough drafts, so 56,000 will easily become a standard 100,000-word novel after revision.) If the guesstimate is close and if I maintain current production speed (either of which might not be the case), I might be finished with the rough draft before the end of July. If revisions went fabulously well after that (which they might not), a late 2018 release might be doable in November or December. That’s a lot of ifs and mights, but there is definitely one more book coming.

After that? Depends. I’m sick about how badly Silent Song tanked on release. 1/12 the preorders of 10KH and 2% of the month-one revenue and downhill from there is… not sustainable as a business. If only the people who gave 10KH a 5-star rating on Goodreads had bought it during the first two weeks at the discount price, it wouldn’t have been a good release, but I wouldn’t be thinking about pulling the plug right now. Sadly for me, the interest just isn’t there, even among readers who have historically liked my writing. If something doesn’t change dramatically by the end of the year, I’m done with contemporary romance and probably self-publishing in general. Despite the scar tissue from the last time traditional publishing burned me, it’s looking like the best bad option at this point. I’ve already reached out to a former agent to see if he or anyone at his agency might be interested in a side project that as of now is only in the outline stage, and if anyone wants to nibble, I’ll be devoting myself to that. Since trad pub deadlines are bruising, I won’t have time to dick around with no-reward contemporary romance as a hobby, even in the unlikely event I felt masochistic.

So… good news/bad news. I’m going to finish this current book regardless of whether anyone wants to read it, but after that, I’m not going to continue sinking time and money into books only a handful of people want to read. The market has spoken, it’s currently telling me to fuck off, and I’m not betting the few pennies left in my self-publishing account that the market’s affections toward me will improve in the next six months. It is welcome to make me eat those words, but I’m planning for the future like that’s an impossibility.

This isn’t a “poor me, save me” whine. I’m well aware that there are things I could do to improve the situation but won’t for various reasons. I’ve known for 20 years publishing is not a kind, supportive mother, and every year she punches a little harder, so this is not a devastating surprise to me. I’m going to be just fine because I duck and weave like I’ve been dodging hits since birth. I’m just making it known, as a courtesy, what can probably be expected from the future, based on current unfavorable data.

09 Jun

PSA: Mental Health Crises

TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE

This post is directed toward folks not themselves experiencing a mental health crisis, in hopes of increasing understanding of those who are. I’m putting all of it under the fold. If you’re fragile, don’t click it.

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08 Jun

Cleaning off the camera

The vines are looking kind of rough this year, but they’re making baby green tomatoes.

The season's first dozen baby green tomatoes on the vine

Despite the deer stripping every single leaf off the blueberry bushes in the spring, followed by mid-April snow, they recovered to produce some berries.

Cluster of young blueberries in a bush

I put up the hummingbird feeder and had a couple serene days of little girls buzzing around, and then some ruby-throated asshole started perching on the chain from dawn until dark, chasing everyone else away. I never thought I’d spend so much time cussing at a bird. I badly want to organize the ladies. “Babs, you do a flyby and make him chase you into the woods. Lola, there’s your chance to get in there. When he comes back to chase you away, Babs can have her turn.” I MADE THAT NECTAR FOR EVERYBODY TO SHARE, CHAD. THIS IS WHY NO ONE LIKES YOU.

Territorial jerk ruby-throated hummingbird waiting to ambush invaders

The feeder is right outside the window where the cat tree is, but the cat, who went berserk about a swarm of goldfinches (and one indigo bunting) half an acre away a few weeks ago, can’t even be bothered to chitter at this little bastard—no doubt sensing a kindred evil spirit.

Goblin communing with nature from the safe side of the window
The deer, bunnies, and foxes aren’t cooperative, but the turkeys sometimes stand still long enough to pose.

Wild turkey that passes through the yard from time to time

Also, flying turkeys are… terrifying. They’re huge. We have no shortage of vultures and the occasional bald eagle sighting, and they’re all dainty little flowers compared to an airborne turkey. If they got some kind of aggro virus and started dive-bombing people like avenging Furies, we’d be goners.

I’m acutely conscious that if something happens to my 16-year-old car while dwelling this far from civilization, my child and I are completely fucked, but I do enjoy the glimpses of nature I’ve never gotten while living in town. (That being said, I’d trade nature in a heartbeat to be back within walking distance of a grocery store because I do not need an additional source of anxiety, thank you very much.)

ETA: I found some deer in last year’s archives. Blurry, but if you squint, you can see the baby near the middle.

Blurry photo of two white-tailed deer and a fawn

The herd was bigger this year (sightings up to six), but I haven’t seen them parade any new additions through the yard.

MID-JULY BABY UPDATE: A couple of twins big enough to have outgrown their spots were playing tag in the back yard under mama’s exasperated eye, so we can all stop worrying.

BONUS: The physical manifestation of despair.

Goblin cat slumped against the wall in a boneless heap

No, she does not have any bones. I think my spinal problems are 95% sympathy pains secondary to goblin posture.