Plans for 2020

New year, new goals: here’s what I have planned:

Continue reading “Plans for 2020”

Love and War among the Ancestors of Jaiya

When I sat down to write the books in my upcoming Ancestors of Jaiya series, I was mostly interested in tracing a particular family through several generations of the country’s history, before their descendants appear in the main Jaiya series, and I wasn’t thinking too hard about the themes of the books. I knew love and romance would be major themes, because all the Jaiya books are clean paranormal/fantasy romances at heart.

Continue reading “Love and War among the Ancestors of Jaiya”

Retrospection and NaNoWriMo

It’s getting to be that time of year, with National Novel Writing Month only a few weeks away. Last year’s NaNo project turned out to be one of those experimental attempts that don’t produce a complete story, or even something I managed to turn into one.

This isn’t that unusual for me. To give you some numbers here, I have completed NaNoWriMo 13 times, Continue reading “Retrospection and NaNoWriMo”

Getting Closer and Closer Everyday

Well, finally starting to see some progress here. I have the first two books in the Ancestors of Jaiya series available for preorder, with a release date of October 25, 2019. I am done polishing Book 3 in the series, and am halfway through the process of converting it into a Word document with a linked table of contents. Still to do on Book 3: writing a blurb, creating the print cover, and setting up it up for preorder.

The best case scenario is that I will somehow have all four books ready for release by October 25, 2019, and the first book in the series set to perma-free by October 28, 2019. In a worst case scenario, Book 4 may release later than the others: either early November 2019, assuming I am mostly done with it by the time NaNoWriMo starts, or sometime in December 2019, assuming I don’t manage to get a finalized copy in Word document form assembled by October 31, 2019.

On an unrelated note, I changed my website’s WordPress theme. I am pleased with it, but open to suggestions.

Rough Drafts of Jaiya Prequel Series are Done!

Yesterday, I finally finished the rough draft of Saving a Queen, the second of four books in the Ancestors of Jaiya series and the last one to be written. I was trying to take it slow and save my wrists by dictating it, and of course I’m not nearly as experienced with that as I am with typing. I’ve done some editing on the first book in the prequel series, but I still have quite a bit of work to do, to polish up these four books. I am currently planning to release all of them together sometime in first quarter of 2019, but it would more likely be March or late February than January.

In the meantime, Marrying a Monster, the first book in the main Jaiya series, is free on all major vendors in a number of countries. I’ve been informed that it is not free on some of Amazon’s non-US stores but I haven’t been able to get this sorted out yet. My priority right now is preparing my space opera concept for NaNoWriMo2018.

I hope to draft some posts about the writing process-about dictation, about the NaNoWriMo project-and schedule them to publish, but we’ll see how that turns out.

Writer Milestones

I am slowly but surely making progress on the Ancestors of Jaiya series (prequel to the main Jaiya series). On Memorial Day (US), I finished the rough draft of Scapegoating a Hero, book 3 in this prequel series. I first began work on Hero in January or February of 2017, so this is the longest I’ve ever spent on a book I actually finished.

Hero is like the other books in both series in that it’s about a man and a woman with supernatural powers who fall in love while fighting evil together. But it has more Continue reading “Writer Milestones”

The Shape of Things To Come

Now that you’ve “met” Marrying A Monster, maybe it’s time for me to share a little more about the rest of the Jaiya series.

The main Jaiya series is currently three books long, and is set in “present day” Jaiya, or at least a timeframe where the technology and social developments are similar to our present day. I have some ideas for short stories or novellas about these characters, and if I come up with any more 50K-length stories in this setting, that grab me, I will write them.

Marrying A Monster is of course the first book in the series. The second book is currently titled Waking the Dreamlost, which was my Summer 2017 writing project. Monster‘s hero, Vipin, has an older brother named Marish, who is the hero of Dreamlost. I will probably spend the rest of October revising Dreamlost, along with some time in November if I finish with NaNoWriMo2016 early, and however much time it takes after that. The hope is to have it ready to go by before December 15.

Loving A Deathseer is the third book in the series in internal chronology, but the first one written. (How that happened is a story for another time.) The heroine is a relative of Vipin’s and Marish’s. This one is going to need a lot more reworking than Dreamlost, so there isn’t a timeframe for release yet.

There is also a Jaiya prequel series in the works. At this point, the only thing written is last year’s NaNoWriMo project, a fantasy romance with a gladiator/MMA fighter angle set 200+ years before Marrying A Monster. I am currently outlining a book about Vipin’s parents, which I hope to do for NaNoWriMo this year.

I also have a very rough idea for a book about Vipin’s grandparents, which I will try to write in the first quarter of next year. And there’s an even sketchier concept for a steampunk-y paranormal romance set about 75 years after the gladiator romance, and about 150 yrs before Marrying A Monster. The steampunk romance and the gladiator romance would both deal with Vipin’s ancestors. The series would start releasing sometime in 2017, barring complications.

 

Fixed version of The Pomegranate Lover is now live…and (temporarily) free!

Having gotten the corrected file live, I am celebrating by making the book temporarily free, from today until September 23.

The “Look Inside” seems different from what I remember, but I’d read somewhere that Amazon’s Look Inside had been glitchy lately in general. Anyway, here is the link, as promised:

Embarrassing Mistake Corrected

*Puts on Tia Baden hat*

“The Pomegranate Lover and Other Stories” went out with some embarrassing formatting errors in the final story. I have now corrected them, recompiled the file and re-uploaded to Amazon. My apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced by this. The corrected file should go live sometime tomorrow, and I will try to post again with another link to Pomegranate Lover’s Amazon page.

 

One Step Closer to Publishing a Novel, and Thoughts on Scrivener

*puts on Mel Dunay hat*

Just finished rewriting/editing book 1 in my paranormal romance series. I’m going to let it “rest” for a week or two while I continue writing book 2, then give it another look over and start formatting it for print and kindle. I’ve rough-drafted, I don’t know, maybe seven or eight short novels in my life, but this is only the second time I’ve tried to clean one up for publication, and the first time was ten years ago, using Microsoft Word in conjunction with some kind of early cloud storage, like Google Docs.

I have to say that working with Scrivener took some getting used to. I imported the rough draft of book 1 into a new project, started a folder in the project called “First Draft” and then used the “split at selection” tool to break it apart into scenes. That was all I did for several months; just read through the draft a little bit at a time in the mornings before going to work or coming home from work, split the pieces into scenes and use the synopsis tool under “Information” to create brief descriptions of each scene. I had a separate folder where I put ideas for revision: renaming places or people, adding new supporting characters, tightening up continuity. Basically I would take notes about things I felt like I needed to change and put them in that folder.

Once I was done splitting out the scenes, I left it alone for a while, wrote a few missing scenes to introduce a new supporting character, then created two subfolders for the “First Draft” folder. I had noticed that I got sloppier and more confused towards the end of the novel, and so the “Easy” subfolder collected the ones that needed less work, and the “Hard” subfolder” collected the later scenes that needed more reworking. I also added two more folders: “Second Draft” for the scenes that I had finished reworking, and “Fragments” for odds and ends that I deleted (or partially wrote and discard) in the process of working on the second draft.

Writing book 2 with Scrivener’s help is a lot more straightforward. I outlined book 2 on a scene by scene basis in Microsoft Excel over the course of a week’s worth of break time at work, and emailed it home (my employer is not terribly okay with cloud storage sites or memory sticks, for security reasons). I copied each cell’s worth of information from the spreadsheet into its own scene (piece of text) in a folder called “Outline” in the Scrivener project for book 2. It was a royal pain to set up, and I don’t think my wrists and fingers worked right for a day or two afterwards, but it’s made the actual writing process a lot less painful. I glance at the book 2 project file in the morning to see where I’m at, go to work, write the next scene as I have time (or feel like it), email the rough draft home, copy the latest scene written into the corresponding slot in the Outline folder, make some changes to the tags under “Information” (hero or heroine pov, thriller-oriented scene or romantic) and then move that piece to another folder, “Already Written,” within the Scrivener project for book 2.

Probably none of that makes any sense unless you already use Scrivener, and I’m the wrong person to explain the inner workings. I will say that Scrivener comes with a kind of “workbook” that uses the basic structure of a Scrivener project to walk you through its functions, and I found that once I worked through that workbook/tutorial thingie (which took most of a weekend where I didn’t have any social commitments) I had a much better idea of what the program could do, and more importantly, how I could make it do what I needed it to. It’s not a magic “make novel” toy, but as someone with a disorganized mind that tends to spin off in six different directions at once, I’ve found it really helpful for corralling my thoughts in some kind of format that I can refer back to and find what I need fairly easily.