May Writing Projects

Since I managed to write a few decent poems last month, and since I also found some even more decent poems that I’d written previously, I’m going to submit those to the Annual Writer’s Digest Contest. I don’t expect anything to come of it, but I’m in the mood to waste some entry fees.

In addition to this questionable decision, I’m going to go back to the Outskirts Universe and do another revision on The End of the (Werewolf) Curse. In theory, I would like to be done with all three of the Outskirts novels one day and the only way I can do that is if I actually revise them. To Tell The (Conjurer’s) Truth needs a heavy rewrite and I should do it first, but quite frankly, I’m procrastinating on it because I know the amount of work it needs and I don’t feel like it. So, I’ll do this one first and then see how I feel.

I’m also ruminating over what to do with my Patreon after Murderville ends. Do I want to do anything with it? It’s kind of nice having a dedicated project that I get paid for, but at this point in my existence, I’m not sure what I’d want that new project to be. Another writing project? Something more in line with podcasting? I don’t have the answers to any of these questions at this point. But I’m thinking about them.

I’m also thinking about Episode 5 of So Long, Neighbor, which goes live on May 11th. Become a patron now just in time to bid farewell to Murderville. $1 an episode lets you read, $2 an episode lets you read and gets you a sweet bonus every other month. It’s not too late to see how it all ends.

Episode 24 of Book ’em, Danno will go live at the end of the month, but you can pass the time by listening to an extra long Episode 23. Dan Budnik joined me to talk about “Cry, Lie” and “Most Likely to Murder” and I can assure you that there’s enough fashion discussion and facial hair talk for everyone. Give it a listen and then go give Dan a listen over at Eventually Supertrain, which contains all of his wonderful podcasts.

April Writing Projects

Last month I managed to finish the sixth (?) revision of (Vampires) Made in America. In a perfect world, I’ll be done with this manuscript and I’ll be able to send it out to agents. But I don’t reside in perfection, so. It’s entirely possible that I am done with it. I just don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I should probably try researching agents again, but that’s another struggle. One I’m not in the mood for at present.

Instead, since it’s April, I’m going to be working on some poetry. Not a poem a day, like I’ve done before, but there are some poems that I’ve been wanting to work on and I’ve been putting them off because I’ve had other things to do.

I like writing poetry even though I’m not good at it (as my poor $2 patrons well know). It’s a nice creative exercise for me, using words in a different way. I don’t know that it’s helped my prose, but it’s a nice break from it.

The big Writer’s Digest Writing Competition is looming again. I’ve placed tenth in genre fiction and fifth in scripts. I’m really thinking about entering something again. Maybe a couple of poems. I’m always seeking to recapture my second place in state glory. Maybe something else. I know there’s not a lot of time before the deadline, but I’ve done that before. Granted, I’ve never done it while completely lethargic and lacking motivation, but hey, what’s a little challenge, right?

And how about the challenge of the last season of Murderville? Episode four of So Long, Neighbor goes live on April 13th, so become a patron now. $1 an episode lets you read. $2 an episode gets you a sweet bonus every other month, like the one going live on April 27th. Yeah, it’ll probably be a poem. Sorry.

Episode 22 of Book ’em, Danno just went live at the end of March and Episode 23 will happen at the end of this month. A special guest will be joining me. So, while you wait in trembling anticipation, give a listen and then do all the things -like, subscribe, rate, review, share, follow, whatever- to show a little love.

March Writing Projects

Last month I decided to do a couple of minor fixes on a few projects. I fixed my issues with the Ivy Russell novellas. And I sort of did the minor revision on (Vampires) Made in America, which I suspected I had already done, and I kind of had, but this just clarified it further. I think. I hope.

But since I’ve already done the minor fix on the manuscript, I might as well give it another once over, just to see if there’s anything else that needs tweaking. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be lucky enough to call it the final revision.

After that…who knows?

Speaking of an uncertain future, I have no idea what’s going to happen to my Patreon after the final season of Murderville, but I do know that right now, it is the place to be. Episode 3 of So Long, Neighbor goes live on March 9th. Become a patron just in time for the send off. $1 an episode lets you read; $2 an episode let’s read and gets you a sweet bonus.

The latest ep of Book ’em, Danno just went live and the next ep is due at the end of the month. Episode 21 features three season 2 episodes of Hawaii Five-O. What three? Is that a trick? Yeah, it kind of is. But you’ll only understand the magic if you listen. Also like, subscribe, favorite, share, and otherwise show a little love. My ego needs the boost.

 

Fixing Ivy

I wrote the first Ivy Russell novella, Cheaters and Chupacabras, back in the early 2010s. I self-published it and then ended up writing three sequels, The Timeless Man, The Odd Section of Town, and Firebugs and Other Insects. Instead of publishing those three individually, I just put all four Ivy Russell novellas together in a big omnibus and published them together. And like most of the things I write and then publish, I moved on to the next project and didn’t give it much more thought.

Until I did.

There’s a character in the novellas named Riley who’s a trans man. I tried to be as mindful as possible when writing this character, but as hard as I tried, some of the language and character bits just didn’t age well. They didn’t completely molder into unintentional transphobia, but they definitely wilted into failed ally intentions.

I’ve been debating for a while about whether or not to update those parts. Part of it is my own laziness, but the bigger part was the idea of leaving it as is as part of the bigger overarching display of how my writing in general has grown. That yes, even I make mistakes despite my good intentions of including the character.

In the end, my own discomfort with leaving it as it was knowing I could -and should- do better won out and I did some mild rewrites of those parts. To ensure that everything flowed together okay, I ended up rereading all four novellas in the course of a week.

Which challenged me in a different way. In addition to my laziness telling me it would be a lot of work to fix the Riley parts (it took less than an hour), I was worried that once I started looking, I’d be fixing all sorts of things. This wording, that little comma that no one else would notice, tweak that bit of description, etc. And though I did end up fixing some egregious mistakes that I missed during my initial proofing (it’s tough being a one-person show) and made another minor change to more accurately reflect the culture of a different character (a Hawaiian man nicknamed Sweet Pea), I left the rest of it alone, despite my overwhelming urge to fix it all.

Because even with the Riley issue (and to a smaller extent, the Sweet Pea issue) fixed, the novellas still illustrate how I’ve grown as a writer.

Even if some of that growth is kind of embarrassing and awkward and painful to read.

February Writing Projects

I spent a day or two in the month of January staring at the list of writing projects I have that are in various stages, from ideas to drafts to revisions to finished. The purpose of this is to touch base with all of the shit I have that needs to be worked on because I have a tendency to get both distracted by new ideas as well as hyper-focused on certain projects and either way, I end up forgetting that I have half-finished projects that need attention.

Once again I have to remind you to never do anything the way I do. I am terrible.

Anyway, as I glance at my own personal project hell, I’ve come up with a loose idea of what I’d like to work on during the year.

This month, I’m going to do what I hope to be a couple of little things.

First of all, I’m going to fix a couple of issues that have cropped up with the Ivy Russell novellas. While I love the stories, there’s something about a couple of them that hasn’t aged well. The character of Riley is transgender and even though I had the best of intentions when creating the character, certain aspects haven’t aged well and it’s been nagging at me for a while to fix them. Since they’re self-published, I have total control of fixing and uploading new manuscripts. And since they haven’t sold too many copies, I don’t have to worry about the change affecting too many people.

Second of all, I’ve been working on (Vampires) Made in America for years. I recently had an epiphany about a revision that needs to be made, so I’m going to work on that. The thing is, though, is that there is a possibility that I’ve already done this revision and what I really experienced is a flashback and not an epiphany. So, we’ll see! At any rate, I’ll be revisiting that manuscript yet again and hopefully, it will be for the last time.

But probably not.

However, we are hanging out in Murderville for the last time and the second episode of So Long, Neighbor goes live on February 9th. Not a patron? Now is the time to get in on the action. $1 an episode lets you read. $2 an episode you lets you read and you get a sweet bonus every other month, like the one going live on February 23rd.

Episode 20 of Book ’em, Danno just went live a few days ago and episode 22 should go live at the end of the month. I’m cruising through season 2 and have a blast doing it. Do check it out and then show some love. I shouldn’t be the only one having a good time, so subscribe and share and like and heart and telegraph. It’s all very much appreciated.

Everything Is Terrible

Between the pandemic, the politicalization of the pandemic, a corrupt and cruel government that continues to fail the people -Hell, there was a failed coup attempt just this past week which will probably see no punishments and will be normalized- and the constant daily stresses of it all, it’s easy to ask “How do you create in a time like this?”

Counterpoint: How do you do ANYTHING during a time like this?

There is this foolish notion that circumstances like this somehow lead to great and productive creativity. That art is like a diamond and it’s brilliance can only be created through intense pressures. Well, I’m no artist and I don’t create anything that would qualify as art, but let me tell you, this is wrong, especially for a hack like myself.

It’s no secret that I was struggling before all of this shit came crashing down on our heads. My productivity was down, hampered by self-doubt, depression, and stress. I actually felt, though, at the beginning of 2020 that I might be coming out of that. I thought what I needed was a shift in direction to get my productivity jump started.

And then came the ‘rona.

This past year has just been miserable. Writing has been relegated to an afterthought for the most part. I had several projects planned for 2020. I always plan more than I know I can do in a given year just because it gives me a big picture view of what I need to do and helps me pick my priorities. I did two of the writing projects on the list (I did finish Book ’em, Danno Season 1, but that isn’t really a writing project) and one of those was NaNo. That’s it. For most of the year, I didn’t even have the energy to think about writing. Hell, I couldn’t even blog on a weekly basis like before.

And that really bums me out.

I feel like a failure on a daily basis. Not just with the writing, but really, with everything. And that feeling doesn’t contribute to a lot of productivity in any area of my life. There’s a list of things that I’m going to spend my vacation week doing because I just haven’t had the energy to get them done. They aren’t difficult things. Maybe a little time consuming, but nothing that requires a lot of effort. And yet, I don’t feel like I have the energy to do any of it.

I’m just scraping by, day to day, bit by bit. It’s overwhelming, it’s too much. I’m constantly exhausted. I cherish the days that feel almost normal, that I feel almost normal. I try to be as productive as possible then because I know that it won’t last. It’s a drag.

I know that I’m not the only one that feels like this. It’s a collective trauma that we’re dealing with here. We’re all tired, pushed to the brink, doing our best to get through.

I guess that’s what this post is.

Acknowledging that we’re all doing our best while everything is terrible.

January Writing Projects

So, it’s no secret that 2020 was kind of less than and let’s just say that for me, it went out with a whimper. I know I was supposed to work on a couple of short stories, one with a deadline for the end of December. Neither of those stories came to fruition. It turns out that December ended up being more stressful than anticipated and that ruins my creativity and motivation. Who knew?

I did. But I never listen to me.

This month I plan on doing an inventory of my writing projects. I’ve always got several different things going and they’re all in different stages of completion. I need to get a handle on what I’m doing because I need 2021 to be the year that I get some things done.

Yeah, I know. I learned nothing from 2020.

But hey, there is one thing we can all look forward to this year and that’s the final season of Murderville. The first episode of So Long, Neighbor goes live on January 12th. Not a patron? Join now. It’s $1 an episode to read. $2 an episode lets you read and gets you a sweet bonus every other month. Treat yourself to Murderville‘s send off.

Episode 20 of Book ’em, Danno should go live at the end of the month, but in the meantime you can listen to Episode 19, which went live on Christmas. Ho ho ho. So, give a listen and then share this present with everyone you know and a few people you don’t know. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Wrapping up 2020

I normally don’t do posts like this, but given the nature of 2020, I felt that it was warranted. After all, I haven’t really posted about much beyond writing projects, Book ’em Danno, and Murderville.

So, what about 2020?

Well, first of all it should be noted that I achieved all but one of my half-assed resolutions (which I won’t be making for 2021; if 2020 taught me anything, not getting dead and having a good time is enough of a challenge). Not getting dead and having a good time is difficult during a pandemic, but I managed. I also did a better job of reading consistently by using a habit tracker and I did better with the whole self-care thing. I did not clean out my sewing drawer. Honestly, I don’t even want to think about it.

There’s a lot of things I don’t want to think about. 2020 was exhausting and I’m grateful for the things I was able to accomplish.

I managed to cross off two items from my Big To Do List. The Big To Do List is a short list of things that are in some fashion daunting for me to do, either they’re cost prohibitive (because I am usually money-less) or time consuming/labor intensive or in some cases, virtually impossible. But even before this year went weird, I’d decided that I was going to buy new glasses (my other pair is only 13 years old) and get the tattoo cover-up I’ve been thinking about for years. The pandemic added another degree of difficulty, but I can’t deny that I feel pretty proud of myself getting them done.

I also finally went to the doctor about my persistent knee pain. Turns out I have severe tendonitis in both knees and ended up doing physical therapy for six weeks. It’s better, but I’m still not back to normal yet.

This doctor’s visit also informed me that I’d lost the battle with my blood pressure and needed to be put on meds for it. Looks like I can’t handle the stress of a pandemic too well. Who knew?

In other disappointing news, my writing really suffered this year. It took four months for me to revise The Support Group Meets on Wednesday and two months to write the novella Early Snow. Along with two entries for a 100 word contest and NaNo, that’s all she wrote. Literally. It’s a very good thing that I had Murderville done a couple of years ago. This soul sucking year just exacerbated the writing malaise that’s been plaguing me the last couple of years.

On the other hand, I kept up with Book ’em, Danno. When I first started it, I wasn’t sure I’d make it through the first season. Now I’m half-way through the second. The last couple of months have been a bit of a struggle, but I’ve been getting it done and it’s been getting a decent number of plays. That’s always encouraging.

So, yeah. 2020 has been a thing on all sorts of levels. Personally, I managed a few victories to prevent it from being a total loss.

And as foolhardy as it sounds, I’m going to try to build on that for 2021.

December Writing Projects

Now that the joy that is NaNoWriMo is over, I’m going to switch my focus to some shorter pieces.

I’m going to attempt to write something for that anthology that I saw a couple of months ago and researched. The deadline is at the end of the month and in the olden days, that was totally doable for me, short story-wise.

I’m not exactly confident of my chances should I actually finish something suitable, but it won’t be a waste of time to give it a try.

In similar news, I’ve come across another anthology with a deadline in February that looks interesting. I may also start plotting a story suitable for that this month as well.

I think that between the holidays and being understaffed at the library for most of the month, this will be enough to keep me feeling productive while not overwhelming or stressing me out.

Because I’m tired of being overwhelmed and stressed out this year.

You know what’s not stressful? Book ’em, Danno. Episode 18 is available for you listening pleasure. Two fun episodes with lots of hired killers and fabulous guest stars. It’s the perfect way to chase away the holiday blues. Speaking of holidays, episode 19 should go live right around Christmas. And I’m sure it will be a gift! Please like, share, subscribe, force upon your friends and family, and otherwise show your love and devotion. It is so very appreciated.

Season 5 of Murderville is right around the corner and the promo is live for everyone now. So, if you’re not a patron, now is the perfect time to treat yourself and get in on the final season. $1 an episode lets you read. $2 an episode lets you read and gets you a sweet bonus every other month, like this month, which will go live on December 15th.

NaNo 2020 Winner!

This year’s NaNo was interesting.

I went in with only a rough overall idea of what I was doing so I ended up outlining as I went. I did my usual pattern of 2,000 words on work days and 4,000 words on my days off, though I did end up spending one Sunday writing pretty much all day for a gain of over 7,000 words so I could hit 50,000 before I had to record podcasts later that week. It worked. I hit 50,000 words on November 18th.

However, I didn’t finish the first draft of The Supervillains Will Save You until November 29th. It’s the latest I’ve finished a first draft in a NaNo in quite some time. It’s also the most I’ve written for a NaNo first draft in quite a while, finishing up with 64,222 words.

This NaNo was stressful, to be sure. In addition to outlining as I went, which has its own kind of stress, my non-writing life had its own challenges as well.

I thought I’d be doing three podcasts this month, but ended up only doing two, which was a break in my favor. However, the library went back to curbside service in the middle of the month and the stress of that definitely put a cramp in my writing style. It eventually smoothed out and I was able to actually get some writing done at the library, which helped a lot.

In conclusion, I once again found a way to make it work and ended up with a first draft of something that I kind of like and will only need some minor work because of course I realized important things that should have been put into place early in the story when I’m half-way through with it.

Whatever. I’ll take the win.