NaNoWriMo Poll 2017

It’s that time again, folks! As every year, I’m running a poll to decide what book I’m going to be writing for NaNoWriMo this year. I ended up writing a couple of the options for last year over the course of 2017, so there’s a few new options for this year to check out.

You may choose up to two book options. Poll closes midnight on October 24th, so get voting!

Looking Glass Saga: Beauty Sleep
With the end of middle school approaching, Alice is getting ready to deal with her bet with the Bandersnatch. She’s done everything she can, but when her roommate, Adrianna, falls into a deep sleep and no one can wake her up, Alice has to put the bet aside. She hopes the answer to waking her up lies somewhere in Wonderland, but time is running out and if she doesn’t find it Adrianna may never wake up.

Cloned Evil: First Steps
Fredrika and Beatrice know their mother is in prison and they need to get her out, but Auntie Jezebel insists that they are too young. They haven’t even been alive a year yet, and there is still too much they have to learn. If they are very good and finish all their studies, however, she might let them join her in the breakout. Unfortunately, Auntie Jezebel is hearing nothing but trouble from the one daycare she could find that would take them.

Thornbrooke 
It seemed like perfect timing. Bree was accepted into an accelerated program to accomplish her dreams of becoming a doctor, and her mother took a long standing offer to relocate to Iverson. Though they are both hoping for the best, the city is a hotspot for superhero activity, and it’s very hard not to get caught up in it all. Making it even harder for Bree is the parting gift from her friends: A secret identity of her own.

Genetically Impaired
They were looking for a test subject. It was fortunate that one drove right in and died on their floor. Seeing this as an opportunity, they took it upon themselves to see if they could reanimate the corpse. The young man didn’t have a name, so they called him Damon and decided to keep him, whether he wanted to stay or not. After all, they had many more things they wanted to try with their newly reanimated cadaver.

NaNoWriMo 2017

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So about that publishing schedule…

I am not publishing as much this year.

In previous years, I’ve boasted four and five releases in a year, but that time has come to an abrupt end. I’ve been very burnt out, more so than I realized. I’ve had a lot of major life changes, been dealing with some shifts in my career, started to actually deal with my anxiety, gotten myself to a much better place, and generally learned to give myself more of a break. But this has come at the cost of a rigorous publishing schedule that, honestly, I knew I couldn’t really keep up with.

Which means this year, it’s just going to be the one book. And I’m okay with that.

I’m starting to focus on some of those ideas that I’ve had for smaller, more manageable projects. I’ve been wanting to put out bonus content for the books, and to start putting out samples of some unreleased stuff that I’ve worked on and decided not to put out. And I’ve been thinking about all the interactive fiction projects I want to do and how to do them without burning myself out. I’m going to be releasing most of this stuff to Patreon, along with early copies of books as I finish them.1

As for the books, in an effort to make sure I don’t overload myself and burn myself out again, I’m going to be doing something a little different. Going forward, I’m going to be trying to release the ebook at the same time as the print copy.

For right now, you can preorder City Without Heroes, coming out on October 25th. The print book should also be ready for then!

  1. And then I can maybe afford some of the other stuff I want to make []

Updates Galore!

Wow it’s been a while. A whole six months without even a new book out. It’s like I’m trying to take it easy this year or something.1 But, since it’s been so long, some updates are due. Let’s get into them!

Wattpad!

I’ve been working on the rewrite of City Without Heroes over on Wattpad. I put out a chapter a week on Sundays2 of the rewritten version. It has not been edited yet, so some changes may still be made between this version and the eventual published version, so check it out!

Smashwords!

Since apparently Smashwords changed how they do taxes3 I am starting to put my books up on Smashwords as well! If you had issues with Amazon, now is your chance to get a copy of anything I’ve ever written! Or it will be, just as soon as I get all these books in there.

Going wider!

I’m looking at possibly distributing a little differently though not Smashwords as well4 but have hit a bit of a snag. I signed up for Pronoun, but have yet to receive a confirmation email from them.5 And apparently Draft2Digital has all the ISBNs still stored in the system from back in the day, so I’m having trouble relisting books. Stay tuned we will see what happens!

Print books!

Return to Wonderland is in print! I currently also have a stack of proof copies for the rest of the series sitting on my desk and they will be ready soon. Jabberwocky’s Book and Borrowed, Not Lost will be out in the next couple months.

Upcoming books!

City Without Heroes and Hero Complex will be out by the end of the summer. The rewrite for both books is complete and they are both in editing, so I’m hoping to have the ebooks and the print versions of them out by the end of August. The print books may be a bit ambitious, though.6

The Game!

I’m going to be working on the game again soon as well! I have plans to completely rewrite the little I’ve already done, and then build it out so that it will hopefully be playable in a year. Or, at the very least, I’ll have a couple playable stories to show you guys while I work on the programming.

And that’s just about everything in terms of updates. I want to try and keep a better record of my progress of all of this stuff moving forward, though if there’s anything else you’d like to see from me, let me know!

  1. I am trying. It may not be as successful as I like to think it is… []
  2. Tomorrow! []
  3. As did everyone else, when did this happen? []
  4. Smashwords requires a note saying specifically that it is from Smashwords, which I am not a fan of having in other stores []
  5. I’ve also tried a password reset and checked my spam mail. They just will not email me. []
  6. There’s bonus shorts in the print books, and I do not know how to format bonus content yet. We’ll see. []

Adventures in Travel

I just got back from a pretty amazing trip,1 but as much fun as I had getting away from the snow, I’m not going to go into the vacation stories. No, see, something you should probably know is that I have interesting2 travel luck. And this trip had something very specific that caused a lot of trouble.

United Airlines.

Some of you have heard the story of my getting stranded on the East Coast a few years ago because of them. I was never going to fly with them again, but the folks I was traveling with insisted it would be fine this time around. And there was a plan! I would head down to Portland, meet up with one of my friends, and we’d meet up with another one at the layover in Chicago. It should be fine.

Except the flight was delayed by an hour. And the layover was an hour. But we were assured that we would make that connecting flight and got our seats bumped up so that we could get off the plane quicker and make that transfer. United said everything would be all good. We figured it would be fine.

We touched down in Chicago and immediately got in touch with our friend on the other plane. As we were taxi-ing around before stopping so we could get off, we found out that they had already given our seats away. We finally stopped and tried to get off as quickly as we could. Us and about four other people ran to the next gate to try and still make the flight.

We watched the plane leave.

Customer service was pretty miserable. While we were landing, there were customers with another flight with a short transfer who had been assured that the plane was waiting for them3 and we were told when we were ushered to the long line of United customers now stranded in Chicago from other flights that they never held flights.  I realize customer service front line folks have no control over anything, but it would certainly help if they weren’t all so damn smug about us getting stranded and missing flights after we’d been assured we would make them. Or if they didn’t all go for their breaks at the same damn time which meant that all of us who could have been put on other flights to make our trips missed those options.

And so we were routed through Houston. Three hours of flight, followed by three hours of sleep4 and we eventually made it onto a flight to Orlando. A day late, a day of parks missed, United unwilling to do a damn thing about the trouble. They offered food vouchers that don’t even work on their planes.

It’s a better ending than the last time, but I’m hoping this is the absolute last time ever with United. They may not have stranded me this time, but it’s clear that they are still absolutely terrible.

  1. DISNEY WORLD AND UNIVERSAL []
  2. terrible []
  3. I think they were heading to Denver? []
  4. With another couple hours somewhere in there of trying to figure out where our luggage was []

Looking Back, Looking Forward

So long, 2016! It was a less than wonderful year by all accounts, though some good did come of it. I did manage to finish off Tales from the Twisted Eden Sector, my first series! And I got a place, which is also exciting. On the less awesome side, I also burned right the hell out and did not accomplish even half of the things I wanted to in the name of actually taking it easy for once.

But with the old year done, it’s time to make a lot of new promises for the new year and come up with a ridiculous list of things I want to do that will completely negate the lack of things I feel I did last year. So here’s a quick rundown of what I’m planning for this year.

New Drafts

Aside from the two books for NaNoWriMo this year,1 I’ve already started working on the White Noise sequels. There will be two more in the series as far as I’ve planned, and you’ll get a chance to see your favourite dumbasses continuing to make excellent life decisions.

Publishing!

I have a two part series coming out at some point this year: City Without Heroes and Hero Complex. There will also be the next installment of the Looking Glass Saga, the title of which I cannot settle on at the moment.

Wattpad

I have a couple things I want to try out, but I’m not sure how they’ll work out. As such, I’m going to start using Wattpad to test the waters with a few story ideas and concepts I’ve been toying with, just to see how they end up doing. Follow me now and check them out as they come out!

Oh, and I may put out the first pass rewrite of City Without Heroes on there too.

Print Books

I’m going to be working on getting a lot of my books formatted for print in the new year, since it seems that people really like having a physical copy. I’ll be announcing those as I get them done, so keep an eye out!

Games

You know all the stuff I’d done so far on the game project? I’m scrapping it and starting from scratch. Watch that Facebook page for updates on how that’s going, though the goal for the year is to get the basics of it done. It shouldn’t be playable until next year at some point.

Taking it Easy

One thing 2016 taught me is that I’ve been working too hard to do everything, so I am going to try not to overexert myself so much this year and learn to give myself a break sometimes. Read more. Work less. Maybe get a cat. We’ll see how this goes.
Here’s hoping that the new year brings some good things for us all. Happy new year!

  1. Definitely going back to two books this year []

Syndicate: You Will be Mine

Have another deleted scene, this time from Syndicate. One of those things that I never found a place to put in is an explanation of just where Mark got those powers from. Because he did get them from somewhere.


Jason just wanted to make a little quick cash and his prayers were very easily answered. This guy at the bar had already been abandoned by his friends one by one as he continued to obsess over a woman that had dumped him. From the sounds of it, she’d dumped him months ago, if not even longer.

He took a seat next to the drunk, looking far too young to be in here. Luckily, so long as he paid, no one cared. Better, he knew the man working the bar and knew that he’d look the other way. “Hey,” Jason said. “Mark, right?”

“Who’s asking?” Mark looked Jason over. “Aren’t you kinda young? I’m not buying you anything.”

“I get that a lot,” Jason said. “And I don’t need you to.”

Jason put his finger down on the bar and the shadows pooled under Mark’s drink. Mark turned back to it and watched as it fell into the wood of the bar, then looked at Jason as the drink resurfaced in front of him. Jason smiled and nodded, tipping the glass in his direction in thanks before taking a drink.

“How’d you do that?”

Surprise was good. Surprise meant that he’d never seen anything like it before. Even as wasted as he was, if he would know exactly what Jason was the instant he saw that trick.

“Trade secret,” Jason said. “But I might let you in on it if you really want.”

“Can you do anything else?”

“Plenty,” Jason said, letting the drink sink back down into the bar and returning it to Mark. “It’s not something you generally go around showing people, but I get a good feeling from you.” A feeling like you’re willing to blow a lot of cash to get back a girl who doesn’t give a shit about you. 

Mark said nothing staring down at his glass. He picked it up and felt the table, making sure there wasn’t a hole or dent, but there was nothing but smooth wood under his hands. He glanced around, but no one so much as glanced in their direction. This was going a little too well.

“How?” Mark asked.

Jason pooled a collection of shadows in front of him and reached down into the bar, pulling out a single purple pill before the shadows dispersed.

“It’s not cheap,” Jason warned him, the shadows pooling around Mark’s glass again and flickering up like a dark flame to lick the cool glass. “This shit comes at a price. But between you and me, it’s worth every cent.”

“And it’ll make me do this?”

“It’s a bit different for everyone. Some people get mine. Some people blow shit up. Sometimes you can control everyone around you. It all depends on you. No matter what you get, though, it makes you more powerful than you ever imagined.”

“How much?”

“Five thousand gets you one. That’ll get you some temporary skills. The second makes it permanent.”

Mark looked long and hard at the glass, now covered in thin black tendrils from Jason’s shadows. “You know a bank near here?” he asked.

syndicate

Timmy and the Fridges: A NaNoWriMo Story

Apparently a lot of people in my own region don’t even know this story, so it’s time to gather round to answer one of the questions of NaNoWriMo. What is with Timmy and those fridges?

The short version: It’s my fault.

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo has many avenues to connect with people during the month, and one of those is via the IRC Chat rooms. In these chat rooms, there is a bot named Timmy1 and the bot was originally created right here in the Vancouver region by a user who… I don’t know if they want to be named.2

I believe the year was 2012, and I wanted to be ambitious and decided that writing two books in a month was a good idea. I may have gone a touch loopy. It all started at a New West write in about mid-month during a lot of people’s two week slumps. I was just starting book number two and someone was having problems with their book, and I, being the helpful genius that I am, asked if they had tried throwing a fridge at it. This suggestion went over very well and we all ran with it. But I wasn’t done with it.

Two things you should know about me: I am very annoying when I get an idea in my head and I don’t know how to let a joke die. Ever.

This advice continued for the month, to the point where it is now if one of my own books as a recurring plot point throughout the series.3 For the month4 it was sort of an in joke within Vancouver, and it was added to Timmy so we could continue to throw fridges at each other.

And that is how I ended up making my mark on NaNoWriMo. You’re welcome.

  1. His full name is There Are Some Who Call Me Tim, if I’m remembering right []
  2. If you’re reading this, let me know []
  3. Different coloured fridges and everything. That’s how you know if a fridge is ripe! []
  4. What was left of it []

Poll closed and a book released!

Thank you everyone for voting! It looks like we have a book for the year to write, and that book is…

I've been playing around with the cover a little. Let me know what you think!
I’ve been playing around with the cover a little. Let me know what you think!

Arcleo! It’s been a long time coming and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with the story. Stay tuned for some excerpts.

But we’re not done yet, because I also have to mention that I have a book out today as well! I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for it1 and now the fourth part of the Looking Glass Saga is finally out!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00002]

Looking Glass Saga: Wandering Hearts

After an unsettling Christmas with Adrianna’s family, Alice returns to school and a much more normal problem than she’d ever had to deal with before. Adrianna likes a boy and needs a date for his friend if she wants to spend more time with him. Alice agrees, but soon finds she’s not ready for what that means.

The other side of the mirror and searching for Adrianna’s brothers becomes an escape from the life she’d dreamed of, even as she gains a new shadow while exploring Wonderland. She gains a shadow in a boy named Peter who has taken an interest in her and the things she can do. He is definitely not from around here and learns that where Wonderland ends, another world begins.

Check it out now on Amazon!

And now I’m going to go drown in Facebook notifications…

  1. Because I’m just that good at marketing and scheduling… []

Who Do You Publish For?

As I finish the last pass of edits on Wandering Hearts1 I have been watching a debate happening on one of the Facebook groups for YA authors. It looks like a few people took it very personally and it spiraled into a few different issues, so I’ve opted to stay out of it. On Facebook, at least.

The issue is one that will always come up in groups centered around writing and marketing. Do you write for the market or do you write what you want to write, regardless of the market? There were other things mentioned, such as quality and formula and repeated tropes and saturated markets, but this was the core of what I’ve been gathering from it.

To me, it all depends what you’re publishing for. Not writing, but we’ll get to that. If you want to make money off of your writing, then of course you write for the market. You use the same tropes and formulas that are popular at the moment and you churn out that thing that your audience is going to love. You figure out a large audience you can tap into and cater to them so that you will get the best chance, you make your covers look just like that thing they love and you write as many books as you can while you can ride that trend until they’re sick of it.

For some people, there is no conflict. They are already writing in popular genres, they love the tropes, they have the voice that their target audience is familiar with, all is well. For others, that is not the case as much. There were some saying they had been writing for the market and hadn’t written anything they enjoyed in a while.

Personally, I’m in that group that publishes the stories that don’t cater very well to the current broad audience. I like a reluctant hero that didn’t want to do it in the first place and by the end really doesn’t want to be here but still gets the job done. They have none of the romantic triangles and are very rarely saving the world so much as themselves and the people they’ve fallen in with. Alice is the closest I’ve come to a chosen one of any sort, but that’s not following the formula at all.2

But my goal has never been to make a lot of money publishing, or to make much of a name for myself. It was to prove to myself I could and to finally tell these stories and get them out there. And in the end, that’s what it all comes down to. Whatever you get into publishing for, pursue that to the best of your abilities and don’t worry so much about what everyone else is doing it for.

Although, if you’re looking to make a quick buck, I hear werewalruses are going to be hot next year.

  1. Out October 25th! []
  2. Why did I decide a 12 book series was a good idea? []

Backstreets: Mail

I did a lot of thinking about the other stuff that happened in that one arc of stories in Backstreets. So here’s more of what happened with Carrie.


When Carrie dropped her stuff off in her room, she saw the envelope on her bed. Those earrings she ordered online had come in fast. She grabbed it and headed back downstairs and to Don waiting for her in the living room. He turned when she appeared. “Got something?”

“Yeah, I ordered this a week ago,” Carrie told him, handing him the envelope. “I thought it would take longer to get here.”

Don muttered a couple words and ran his finger along the top of the envelope, a neat slice appearing through the tape and paper. She smiled as he handed it back to her. A magic boyfriend was useful sometimes. So long as they kept it low key, she might be able to keep him without getting caught.

She opened the envelope and tipped it into her hand, a slip of paper falling between the two of them before a plastic bag with a single purple pill. Don went as still as her at the sight of it and Carrie’s back tingled, remembering full well what happened the last time she took one of these things. She almost wanted to throw it across the room, but she wanted an explanation more.

She shoved the bag at Don, looking for a return address on the envelope. It was blank and there wasn’t even any postage on it to let her know where it came from. The only other clue was the note.

“This has to be a joke,” Don said quietly as he handed her the note, his eyes darting to the door to make sure they weren’t being overheard. He held the pill awkwardly, like it was about to bite him. “Who the hell would send this to you? Who else knows?”

Carrie read the note.

For the future when the choice arises.

Dawn

Taking a deep breath, Carrie took the pill back and shoved it in her pocket, gathering the remaining evidence together and giving it back to Don. “Burn it. Jin never finds out.”

“You can’t-”

“Just in case,” she said, not quite meeting his eyes.

backstreets