It’s time

Because there’s nothing like adding an extra activity into an already full schedule, I’m trying to dedicate myself to blogging again. I miss you guys! So here it is. Hi, folks. I’m back.

Let’s start off with the most pertinent information…!

I finally got my new tattoo, because The Damning Moths will be released on November 13th, and this ink is to commemorate my first full novel length publication! If you’re not already following along on Facebook or the mailing list and want to keep abreast of book-related announcements, head on over to the fancy updated official website for The Damning Moths. We’ve got a stunning photo-realistic portrait of the main character, Lacilegwen, as our background image, painted by the incredible Ty Scheuerman. A countdown timer (which never fails to give me butterflies when I see it – gasp) and some other information here and there, but the website will continue to grow as more media is completed and other goodies become available.

Here’s a photo from the day after I got tattooed. I’ve talked a little bit before about the significance of tattoos in my life, and this one is rich and meaningful in more ways than one. It’s been five days since, and it’s progressing through the natural peel part of healing, complete with otherwise frightening amounts of ink-blackened skin falling off. Itching comes on in manageable increments. I’m still very enamoured.

Now other pre-release planning for The Damning Moths is becoming concrete. I’m in the middle of contacting various printers and manufacturers for pricing on giveaway treasures, and gleefully cackling while obtaining the best possible offers. This reiterates why I run my own business. I rock at this stuff.

Other short fiction I am writing to use in the month of pre-release excitement is working out better than I anticipated, simply because I struggle with shorter work, yet must be getting better with all this practice. First impressions from a couple of readers have been positive, but I still have a lot of work to cover in an ever-shortening amount of time.

And in case you’re wondering, the weather forecast is stupidhot tomorrow, followed by a return to normal, cool, with rain. October, don’t freak out on me

I hope all you lovely people have been happy and healthy. Say hi, tell me your best news from the last few months. I need to catch up!

~A

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And we have a cover!

I am overwhelmingly pleased to be able to share with you all the final cover art for The Damning Moths!

Please head on over to the official website and bask in the pretties! Wait, that’s what I’m doing. You may join me in basking if you like, or just take a quick little look. Either way, I’m so excited!

The Damning Moths – Proudly announcing the cover art

This beautiful piece of illustration and design was done by Ty Scheuerman, my very talented husband. I could not ask for a more wonderful cover.

~A

Surviving the End is here!

My first ever fiction publication, the neat little story of “Harvest”. It’s a little surreal to be holding the book, reading the other pieces (which are AWESOME, by the way!) with mine wedged in between. The editor and Story Keeper has pulled everything together tightly with the interludes keeping momentum going from one tale to the next, even when they are as vastly different as the people telling them.

One of the best parts of being in this anthology has most certainly been the other contributors. Meeting these writers has been great fun, they’re awesome to interact with, and it’s always brilliant to be introduced to other great stories.

Those of you who have pre-ordered Surviving the End should see your copy very soon! If you didn’t pre-order and are interested in these stories of post apocalyptica, I direct you to the publishers website: Dark Prints Press – Surviving the End.

And of course, thank you all for your support and encouragement. Means the world to me!

~A

One Hundred

According to my WordPress statistics, this is my 100th post! Hooray, happy one hundred!

I’ll admit, I’m pretty impressed with myself. Blogging and journaling really never struck me as something to do, but that was before I met so many awesome blogging buddies. No, really. It’s people like YOU who have convinced me to go ahead with this all the way back in May 2011. Wow, that also means I’m only three months away from a full year at this.

Thinking back over these hundred posts, I’ve shared with you my first publication acceptance, the death of my cat, Chichiri. Insights into writing and the industry surrounding it, as well as my own take on being an author. I’ve met amazing people and participated in their own blogs, sharing the ups and downs of their life-path. I’ve shown you my yarn crafts and new books from other writers. I’ve written a couple of guest blog posts for others, and followed links to fantastic new places around the internets. Truly, I wouldn’t take back my time blogging; I recognise all too clearly the amazing opportunities it’s presented and the people I’ve come into contact with who mean so much to me.

I know plenty of people blog solely for themselves; as some kind of expression or outlet. For me, this wouldn’t be the same without having people to share it with. I talk to myself enough over the course of writing books (they are character conversations! Honest!), so the part which makes this special is knowing that you’re here, you’re taking part in the journey.

Which is to say, of course, we’re moving forward! And what better blog to announce this than my 100th?

My debut novel, The Damning Moths will be published soon! Oh, yes. It’s happening. My giddiness is barely contained.

I’ve still got a ways to go with finalising the project, so I’m still on the journey. I don’t think you really get off this train unless you either quit writing or move onto the afterlife, so the statement is defeated by the sheer knowledge of work stretching ever onward. This book. Next book. The ones after. Nevertheless, you might recognise the title acronym, TDM, as something I’ve been working on (slaving over!) kind of obsessively. For this single project, there’s the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel to lure me through the final stretch. I’m on the right track. We’re coming up to the next stop. Other such railroad-related metaphors!

Thank you for sharing everything to this point. Thanks for reading, and commenting, and lurking. More than anything, thank you for your friendship and support.

~A

Oops

I guess it’s been a while since I updated. I have a perfectly valid excuse! No, I really do.

I spent the final four days of 2011 editing. Almost non-stop. Thursday and Sunday both came and went in a flurry of words. Reading, cutting, adding, cutting, changing, reading reading reading. For me, editing fiction is a very particular activity. I have come to terms with the fact that it will never be a tidy process.

On New Years Eve, I ran around outside with some sparklers at approximately 9pm, Perth time. I have more of a tradition of celebrating New Years with Sydney, who are three hours ahead of us at this time of year, than anything else. This is simply because I would normally be asleep for any celebration here! This year, I greeted the turn of midnight in my hometown still editing. Approximately twenty minutes later, I touched the last line and declared it a success! I’d reached my goal!

I woke to the first day of 2012 with my mind buzzing; I knew something I needed to go back and modify more. I often wake up with story ideas, since my subconscious is very well trained in making adjustments and working through problems in my writing. My sleeping mind was totally right, and I spent all of yesterday editing even more.

Last night, I provided my beta readers with their copy of the story. I hope to hear back from them pretty quickly about their initial impression, and just hope I haven’t overlooked some kind of atrocious error! But honestly, I am confident in the place my story has come to, and I am really looking forward to getting right back into drafting book two.

At the end of the second draft, traditional means of word count estimation puts TDM at 54,500 words. Yes, that breaks free of being a novella by 14,500 words. I knew when I began editing that this story would stretch to become a short novel, and I simply had to accept the fact. It changes what I will do with the series, slightly. I haven’t made any firm commitment to how I want to publish TDM, and won’t until the final edit is complete!

In the meantime, I have a sequel to write.

~A

The Versatile Blogger Award

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award state that I must:
Thank the person who gave it to me and link back to them in my blog.
Share seven things about myself.
Pass this award on to 5 other recently discovered blogs and let them know.

Look at that! One of those blog award dealies!

My thanks:
I was unexpectedly awarded the Versatile Blogger by my awesome friend, Natasha McNeely. We’ve been in contact for just a few months, but she is a super lady with some excellent ideas and perspective. It’s always great to talk to you, Natasha. Thank you for the award!

Seven things:
How do I decide the seven interesting tidbits to share? I don’t know. Let’s babble and see what comes out?
1. All my life, I’ve found I get along better with men in general. Yet by a vast majority, my blogging buddies and writer friends are women. In this fascinating instance, I relate incredibly well with these select ladies who share their thoughts and experiences.
2. I don’t like tomatoes, capsicum, or celery. I enjoy eating most vegetables, and if pressed, I will still eat those three in other dishes, but I don’t choose them for myself.
3. I own four Tarot decks (and a Goddess Oracle card set). They are a generic Rider-Waite clone which was my introductory Tarot deck many years ago, the Morgan-Greer deck, a Manga deck, and the gorgeous Shadowscapes Tarot made by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. I have my eye on several other decks, for both appreciation and collection purposes.
4. Getting my tattoo didn’t hurt much at all. It felt mostly like being mauled by an angry cat for a while, and I’ve been subject to that experience plenty of times before. Nevertheless, just when the needle went directly over my veins (on the inside of my wrist), that pain shot up my arm and made me cringe.
5. I was a figure ice skater for seven years, and a ballet dancer for four years. These activities helped make me as self-confident as I am today, but caused me joint problems (especially in my knees), which I will have for the rest of my life.
6. At its longest, my hair was around three foot long. I got it all chopped off in one go, and still have the plait of hair. I’m going to donate the whole thing to Locks of Love.
7. I really like calendars, and usually have at least one in every room of my house. I have a lot of difficulty with judging the passage of time, so having calendars readily available enables me to be aware of the date, and day of the week.

Five blogs:
Woohoo, the fun part! I chose these lovely people because I enjoy their blogs a lot, and because there’s a good possibility they haven’t already received this award! Sharing the love, people.
Write Your Own Story from Nina Martinez
Written Not With Ink from Barb Reily
Spiritual Strudel from Shelby Eaton
Stuff from Sherry Stanfa-Stanley
And because I’m a rebel (or can’t count), Katy-Rose Hötker AND Joseph D’Lacey

Awesome!

~A

The results are in!

On this fantastic December first, I will take the time to reflect back on the month of editing I (sort of) accomplished! I have technically been editing for five weeks, but during that period, I missed enough days to constitute an entire week. November has never been the best month for me to work…

I haven’t made it all the way through the story. Indeed, these past ten days have been editing the same chapter, over and over. It’s kind of an important part of the story, you know? I think I found my rhythm, hit my stride, and whatever other clichéd expressions you’d like. The only problem there, is, my style is repetitive and mildly obsessive. Read, edit, pick at each word, add detail, cut everything remotely superfluous, keep only the sharp and essential and the very carefully written. Do it all again tomorrow. Stories, I’m finding, are a very special kind of compulsion.

Every pass I take, it gets better. I can assure you of that much. But I’ve also discovered editing this closely means I often need to go further back, re-read, make sure the connections are all there, the references all make sense. So it takes a very, very long time to make even minor progress. Naturally, every time I do go back, I find something small to change. A little edit to make. Something which might not make quite enough impact gets altered.

Right now, I am still three chapters from the end of the book. My word count total has gone up by almost five thousand words, on top of everything I’ve cut and re-written into concise, clear sentences. I suspect, with the amount of changes I’ve made, the full amount of words I’ve actually written is well over double that number.

I can’t tell how much longer this will take to finish. I like to imagine the last three chapters will zoom by, but instinct tells me they are the ones I will be prying at the most. I can get a lot done with a good chunk of free time at my hands. I will be setting aside some extra writing time, specifically so I can guarantee this edit is finished before Christmas. Things get way too crazy in this household for the holidays, and I’ve honestly started to feel really inspired about working on book two of the series.

And that means, in a few months, I’ll be doing this all over again. Oh lord. Writing really is glorious, delirious madness.

~A