Why The Timeless Man Got Postponed and Other Life Lessons

Cheaters and ChupacabrasI was supposed to self-publish The Timeless Man last month and the reason why I didn’t publish it is because it didn’t have a cover.

It’s like this.

A friend did the cover for the first Ivy Russell novella, Cheaters and Chupacabras. I decided that I wanted the other three novellas to use the same background, but a different symbol for each novella (for Cheaters it was the wedding rings). I asked this friend if they could do the symbols for the other three novellas earlier this year and they agreed.

But between illness and humidity (because that affects art when you’re working with water colors, kids) and communication issues, it’s now July and the cover still isn’t done. I’m not sure when it’s going to get done or what I’m going to do when it gets done since this has sort of jacked up my entire self-publishing timeline, not to mention it’s not just this cover that needs to not be plagued by humidity, but the next two as well and I don’t feel like it would be a good idea for me to try to publish anything until I have every cover done. And so, we limbo.

The last time I inquired about the covers, which was Tuesday night, in the course of our conversation, my friend said to me, “I thought you got mad and just did it yourself anyway.”

See, that’s the life lesson I’ve taken away from every interaction I’ve had like this and there have been a lot in my existence. People I work with or ask for help from or ask favors of don’t come through for me often, so I just end up doing it myself, if I’m able to do it at all. It’s now such a common occurrence that people just expect it to end this way.

And it’s all my fault.

When you come out of the birth canal (or in my case, c-section incision) as a preordained responsible, independent human, then that’s your label for life. People go to you for help and you help them because you can and that’s what the world tells responsible, independent humans to do.

But when the script gets flipped and the responsible, independent human needs help, nobody knows their lines anymore. They don’t know how to react. Because the responsible, independent humans have a tendency to attract and surround themselves with somewhat flaky, dependent humans that just aren’t up to the task of helping. They want to, but they just can’t. Because reasons. Or they will, but it’s on their timeline, which is completely out-of-sync with your timeline, and that’s just too damn bad because you should just be grateful that they’re helping you at all.

So, I don’t ask for favors very often because I know the likelihood of being blown off or disappointed is pretty high and when I do ask for a favor hoping that maybe this time will be that one time things are different and they end up being the same, yeah, I tend to stop asking and keep on slogging through life on my own, doing everything the hard way because it’s been made pretty obvious that I’m a responsible, independent human and therefore shouldn’t not require much in the way of help. So, yeah, I either get pissed and do it myself, or I find myself in limbo, at the mercy of someone else’s timeline.

Which sucks.

‘Cause it makes my books late.

 

Disclaimer: I love my friends, I really do! Even though some of them aren’t the greatest at helping me out when I need it, they still have other qualities that are absolutely marvelous. All of my friends have their faults, as do I (and I have more than most), but they’re all really good people.

I wouldn’t be friends with them if they weren’t.

Give me some credit here.

July Writing Projects

FireworksThings don’t always go the way we plan, sometimes for good, sometimes for not so good. For me, this happens more than I’d like to admit.

For the two of you that were probably anticipating it, no, you didn’t miss it. The Timeless Man wasn’t published last month due to technical difficulties (which will get their own post). Because it wasn’t published last month, it sort of mucks up everything else planned to be published for the rest of the year and I’m still working out how it’s all going to get done. We’ll see, we’ll see.

In much brighter, less aggravating news, the novella I started working on at the end of May which I continued to work on in June is most definitely not a novella now. I’m at 44,000 words and still going, so. Yes. Definitely not a novella. Definitely a novel. Still doesn’t have a title. I’m only doing about 1,000 words a day on it and since I’m doing this without an outline, just seeing where the story goes, and I only have a vague idea of how it all ends, I could get it done this month, but I’m not going to carve that into stone.

In addition to this, I’m going to write a couple of other things. One is a short story called “Darling”, which will mostly be posted as a freebie here on the blog because it’s been ages since I’ve given away free, fictional words. The other is a novella called Voice, which will go in the next anthology. I will also be revising “A Ride in the Country”, also slated for the same anthology.

So, aside from the non-publishing debacle, things are chugging right along and I’m getting my To Do List of Doom wiped out.

Thank goodness for that.

Writing–There’s Going to Be A Lot of Self-Publishing This Year

flame box elder penAs you most likely know, I published my first title of 2015 back in February (Hatchets and Hearts, in case you missed it) with the idea that I was going to use the same self-publishing schedule for 2015 that I used in 2014 (February, June, October).

Yeah, well, I’ve changed my mind as of now. I say as of now because we all know that I can, may, and most likely will change my mind another dozen times between now and next week.

However, the plan as of this hour will be to publish one of the anthologies next month (April) and then publish the last three Ivy Russell novellas in June, August, and October, and most likely putting the whole collection of novellas together for December.

Why?

Well, two reasons. One: This is all part of my goal to get stuff off of my To Do List. There’s no reason for me not to, especially since it’s not like if I publish these titles I’ll have nothing left. I still have another anthology I’m working on plus a several more novellas. I’m sure one of these things will be ready to publish by next year.

Two: There’s really no reason to mete out the Ivy Russell novellas over an extended period of time. Cheaters and Chupacabras sold a grand total of 12 copies so far.  May as well get them all out and be done with them.

(Not that I don’t like them or anything. I adore Ivy Russell and her friends. The four novellas ended up making an nice closed circle in my mind, ending any thought about whether or not I should write any more. This is just a business sort of decision.)

I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I should release The Timeless Man, The Odd Section of Town, and Firebugs and Other Insects individually or just put them together with Cheaters and call it good, but I figure I may as well give them a go on their own. Who knows? Maybe one of those stories will actually take off.

The anthology I’ll be publishing next month is called People Are Terrible and Other Stories. For the five people that bought Rejected, you’ll recognize six of the stories from that no-longer-available anthology (the other three will end up in the other anthology). But there’s six new stories and a novella, too. Fun for the whole family.

Provided the family can do PG-13 to R level stuff and likes horror.

Writing–February Projects

roseThere is no love here.

Well, maybe a little.

The (Vampires) Made in America saga continues. I will continue to assess this disaster area and attempt to rebuild.

However, in decidedly more productive ambitions, I’m going to put The Odd Section of Town and Firebugs and Other Insects through their first revisions. I’ve already given The Timeless Man it’s final polish (see, some good things did come out of that (Vampires) debacle last month), so working on the other two Ivy Russell novellas makes sense. I’m fairly optimistic that these revisions will not cause me any eye twitches, but I don’t want to get my hopes too high. I’ve got a great ability to jinx myself.

I’m also planning on writing a new short story called “A Ride in the Country”. Don’t panic! This story will be for one of the in-progress anthologies, so it totally counts towards my objective of getting all of the old projects completed.

And, of course, I’ll be publishing something this month.

Look for it around Valentine’s Day.

Writing–November Projects aka NaNoWriMo 2014

nanowrimoNovember means NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo means that I write like a madwoman.

My NaNo this year is similar to last year’s in that I’m going to do two 25,000 word novellas instead of one 50,000 word novel. I am once again breaking rules, baby. But I couldn’t think of a good novel idea and decided NaNo would work just fine to clear two more items off of the To Do List.

This year’s NaNoWriMo project is The Odd Section of Town and Firebugs and Other Insects, the next two Ivy Russell novellas. Possibly the last two, I don’t know. I don’t have any ideas for this character beyond these last two novellas, so I suppose we’ll see. You know me. I’m not good with commitment.

The Odd Section of Town involves our intrepid private investigator Ivy dealing with several cases in  the Odd Section of Buddington, an area of own that seems to be plagued by a rash of bad luck that seemed to start around the same time an old friend came for a visit.

Firebugs and Other Insects finds Ivy looking for a mentally ill man during a rash of fires that are certainly the work of one weird arsonist.

I felt like it was a good idea to get these two written since I already had the ideas and the only thing holding me back was The Timeless Man wasn’t fixed yet. But with that scratched off the To Do List, I actually switched two different novellas out to write these two and finish up the Ivy series, at least for the time being.

I’m already off to a good start and anticipate being done by no later than the 16th (yes, I realize I’ve probably just jinxed the hell out of myself). Which poses an interesting question.

What am I going to do with the rest of the month?

The answer: I don’t know, but nothing heavy. Between Thanksgiving, working Black Friday, and going to my first con in about six years, the end of the month will be no time to start anything serious. I’ll probably end up doing some revisions on projects that will only take me a day or two to accomplish. I’ll figure it out when the time comes.

My brain is kind of crowded right now.

Writing–October Projects

pumpkinsJust because I’m experiencing a writing crisis of sorts doesn’t mean the party stops. While I’m  seeking validation by submitting to agents, I also have a different plan on the board that I’m executing, one that is sort of independent of that whole writer-validation thing that I talked about doing last week. Basically, it’s Operation: Get Some of This Shit Off Your To Do List, Woman!

So, last month involved me doing a round of revisions on the Zak novella (no, it still doesn’t have a title), writing a couple of short stories (“The Seaweed Man” is a lot longer than I thought it’d be and I’ll need another week or so to finish it; I also ended up writing another short story called “People Are Terrible”), and getting the pre-order of Spirited in Spite set up. All of the was done even while I was having my “Why am I here?” troubles.

This month, since it is of course October, I will have NaNo prep, which will basically just be me going over my outlines for the next two Ivy Russell novellas to make sure I know what I’m doing. Yes, I’m doing two novellas again for this NaNo and I will talk more about them in another post.

Speaking of Ivy Russell, to help me get in tune with that world, I’m going to finish the rewrites on The Timeless Man, which means finally figuring out and writing the new ending. It will be smooth sailing on further revisions once that is done.

I also need to do another revision of Hatchets and Hearts. I’m changing the time period. I think that will be the final big change that will really tie the whole thing together. It seems like everything I wrote during a certain few months of last year/this year was nothing but a struggle. It will be a victory when I get that all sorted.

And so there won’t be any dull moments, I’ve got a couple of new short stories I could write if I need to: “The House Down the Road” and “Nadie Has a Dog”.

Slowly, but surely, I’m going to get this To Do List whipped.

Writing–And, Lo, Here Is the Fix You’re Looking For

Rainbow paperI’m not going to lie to you. The revisions/rewrites on The Timeless Man have been a slog, a real downer. I like the story, but I don’t. I like the character of Arthur Meadows, I like what Ivy is doing for him, I like the Blackout Wednesday parallel I worked, but the story is damn boring. I realize that I don’t need a mythological creature trying to kill people to make a story interesting, but dammit, something needs to be happening. And I have struggled all month long with that.

Until, like a beam of light straight from the Heavens coming down, washing me over with its brilliance, I think I found a way to make this story interesting.

Of course, it couldn’t come at a better time (she said sarcastically). After all, I’ve only slogged through this first round of revisions/rewrites and I’m almost to the finish line and I was so looking forward to putting this masterpiece away for a little while before I tried tackling it again. And for me to put in this fix, I’ll have to go back to the middle of the story and write in the new stuff, the new scenes and characters, which means I’ll probably end up changing part of the last third of what I wrote and probably the ending as well. So, here, when I thought I was almost finished (at least for now)…I’m not.

I am excited about the idea and I think the changes will improve the story greatly. I think it might actually save the whole mess from being a snooze-fest. This is a great, great thing.

However, I’m not thrilled with the amount of backtracking this change will require.

This is what I’m talking about when I keep thinking the more I write, the more fluid and less time-consuming the process will end up being. I keep thinking the more I do this in general, the less I will end up doing THIS, i.e. rewrites because I should have thought of this in the damn first place.

Oh, well.

All part of the gig.

Writing–June Projects

roseAfter a month of doing a lot of revisions and polishing…I’m going to be doing more of that.

I’ve decided to go ahead and tackle The Timeless Man. I still haven’t worked out all of the kinks I think need to be worked out, but I’ve got several of them figured out and I might as well get them down on paper (or laptop computer files, as the case may be). It’s quite possible that the act of making those changes will lead to me figuring out the solutions to my other problems (or deciding that they’re not problems at all; that’s always possible).

I’m also going to prep (Vampire) Made in America for revising. This mostly involves re-reading the manuscript, putting everything together in one file, and making notes on what needs to be changed. I hated this manuscript when I finished it for a NaNo win a few years ago but after finishing The World (Saving) Series, it occurred to me what I could do to fix (Vampires). So I’m going into this reading with an idea of what needs to be done, which should make the read easier.

This should be enough to keep me good and busy for the month, but I’m aware of a growing itch to write something new. It’s been a while.

Also, it’s time to publish my latest masterpiece. It should happen in the next couple of weeks. Which will it be? Novel or novella?

I guess you’ll have to stay tuned.

Writing–The Grand Writing To Do List

Rainbow paperI’ve mentioned before that I’m working on clearing off the bulk of my Writing To Do List. I thought that maybe some of you would like to see this mythological creature, as I’m frequently mentioning it, but not very good about getting too specific about all of the projects I have going on.

It’s not in any sort of special order and all of it is writing related even if it’s not actual writing.

  • Revise Hatchets and Hearts
  • Polish Hatchets and Hearts
  • Revise “She’s Not Here Anymore”
  • Polish “She’s Not Here Anymore”
  • Revise The Timeless Man
  • Revise The Rainmakers 1
  • Revise The Rainmakers 2
  • Revise (Vampires) Made in America
  • Write Fairliza
  • Write Parlor Tricks
  • Publish A Tale of Two Lady Killers
  • Publish Spirited in Spite

Hatchets and Hearts is, obviously, the novella I’m currently revising. “She’s Not Here Anymore” is a novella that I revised down to a short story. The Timeless Man, as you should know by now, is the next novella in the Ivy Russell series. The Rainmakers 1 and 2 are the two novellas I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year. (Vampires) Made in America is a Stanley Ivanov novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo a few years ago. Fairliza (which isn’t a title, but the name of the character) is an idea for either a long short story or a short novella that will more than likely be written this summer. Parlor Tricks is an idea for a what will probably be my NaNo project this year (or one of two projects if it looks like it’ll be a novella).

How the To Do List works: Projects that are/will be getting my attention are on the To Do List. I don’t put polishing any project on the To Do List until it’s had at least one round of revisions/rewrites.

That’s the Writing To Do List.

A living thing.

Writing– The (Self-) Publishing Schedule

Rainbow paperAt the beginning of the year, I established a sort of publishing schedule for myself. I knew that I’d be putting out Yearly in February, but I decided that I should set a couple more dates for the year to keep myself motivated and producing with the end game in mind.

After some thought, I settled on June and October (dates not specified, of course), already having some idea of what would be going out when. I thought the time span was reasonable enough for me to finish what I wanted to publish while publishing often enough to attract potential readers while keeping others interested with the new content.

I have a great way of overestimating myself.

The good news is that, provided I can come up with covers, I will be publishing according to my little schedule. The sort-of-bad-but-not-really news is that I’m not publishing what I thought I’d be publishing.

In January, I thought it’s be The Timeless Man and probably Hatchets and Hearts, even though one wasn’t even written at the time. Now, in May it’ll be A Tale of Two Lady Killers and Spirited in Spite, though I haven’t made the final decision on what will be happening when.

Turns out that Hatchets and Hearts and The Timeless Man have ended up being a lot harder than I anticipated.  Surprise, surprise.

This is why I end up working on so many different projects in different phases. I may think I know what I’m doing, but in reality, I’m a moron in need of plans A-Z.

Thank goodness for my need to always be working on something.