They call me Chainsaw, for short

I recently got an interesting question about the writing process. What’s, this? A real writing post?!!? Nothing about dolls?!?! I know. Bear with me.

When I posted an update to Facebook that I was still cutting my manuscript, someone asked, why so much cutting? She wondered if maybe I didn’t like what I’d written.

Oh, I love what I’ve written. It’s all precious little snowflakes made of gold to me. And I will keep on cutting. I’ve compared writing to lots of things: puzzles, fruit, rivers, doll adventures. I think this time I’ll go with clay…or meat. You picture whichever you like.

The first draft is like acquiring my meat clay. It’s brand new, just unwrapped and it has lots and lots of problems. It doesn’t look like anything, and it’s raw. It’s just the materials I have to work with. My second draft is about creating a basic shape and making sure character arcs and plot points are flowing smoothly. I guess this is molding the clay into a rough shape of what you want it to be, or alternatively, doing something to meat that conveys the same image. (Can you tell that I don’t sculpt or grill?)

My third round of edits, ah, that’s where the detail work begins. One of my writing group partners called me the Chainsaw of Loving Kindness, and that still makes me laugh. Though I don’t recommend using a chainsaw on clay or your dinner. I think the nickname is apt because if anything is unnecessary to the plot or to character development, it’s cut. Doesn’t matter if I think it’s the cutest scene on creation, it’s cut. Repetitious words are cut. A hefty amount of dialogue tags are cut. Lengthy conversations are cut down, and similar conversations are cut altogether. Adverbs are cut down as are many participles and their phrases.

Now my clay really likes look a horsey, and my meat has no more fat, and is probably cooking at this point. Part of the art of cutting is trying to hit your word count. More often, it’s about trimming and tightening, making every word work, or trying to. I’m looking to shave 6K or so off my current manuscript, and so far, it’s going well. On my first two drafts, I leave a lot of extras to remind myself what’s going on as I’m writing, where a reader wouldn’t have any trouble keeping track. Where I am right now, many “wounded hands” are getting cut. Yeah, that sounds like the image to end on.

If you write, do you often have to cut like the wind or add words to make your manuscript better? And if you read, do you often find yourself thinking that whole scenes could be cut? Do you use clay or meat in your work?

Advertisements

Yeah, I keep I forgetting

I only blog once a week and half the time I forget to do that. The other half, I complain about blogging once a week.

Meh.

In news, I’m still working away on book 4 in Star and Katya’s saga. If you’ve been reading along with us, you already know that 3 is with the publisher and should release early next year.

In other other news, I have a new short story coming out in the BSB anthology: Amor and More: Love Everafter. It’s a Katya/Star story set between The Pyramid Waltz and For Want of a Fiend. I hope it’ll tide you over. 😉

Next place to find me in person is at LoneStar Con, also known as WorldCon (August 29th – September 1st) this year. I’ll be at a table in the Dealer’s Room with the Broad Universe crew and also doing a reading with the broads from 10-11 am on Sunday, September 1st. Hope to see you there!

Until then, here’s a dog wearing socks:

IMG00049-20111003-1315

Missin’ you

Sorry I’ve been away, campers. Things are getting crazy around her as I’m preparing for the release of For Want of a Fiend and trying to finish its sequel! I had to stop in and ask you to celebrate with me because…

You can get For Want of a Fiend today! If you order it from the BSB website as a paperback, it’ll ship today, and if you want an ebook, you can have it in your hot little hands right now!

BSB sells formats compatible with every tablet, smartphone, and eReader. For more information, check out their FAQ. Also, they offer a 10% discount on purchases over $25! So look around a bit! You can get a handful of ebooks for cheaper than from Amazon.

Here’s the skinny on FWoaF, just in case you missed it:

For Want of a Fiend 300 DPI

Princess Katya Nar Umbriel’s uncle Roland rose from the grave, kidnapped her cousin, and stripped her of her greatest weapon—her Fiendish power. Without her Fiend, Katya doubts her ability to weather the storm her uncle is brewing. When she lacks what even the children in her family possess, can she even call herself an Umbriel?

In only a short time, Starbride has become the princess consort, a pyradisté, and a member of a secret order in charge of protecting the crown. Even steeped in responsibility, she’s still an outsider. While wading through court intrigue and resisting schemes to break her bond with Katya, Starbride must prepare for a covert war. Roland is waiting, watching, ready for any chink in their armor, and he doesn’t care who knows their secrets.

If you haven’t read The Pyramid Waltz, you should definitely start there or you’ll be lost. Good thing is, you can get that from the BSB site too, both in paperback and ebook. That 10% discount is really calling to you now, isn’t it…

I hope everyone enjoys. I’ll keep you posted on where I’m going to be in the future!

Blog Hop!

I’ve been tagged by that cool kat, Melissa Brayden in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop! If you’ve never heard of this, it’s where people stalk you over the internets, weaving a web of blogs until they can find all your personal info and steal your credit card.

…um, okay, it’s not that.

It is a good way to find new blogs and read about awesome people, though, so I’m gonna give it a whirl.

Name of the book:
The Pyramid Waltz and For Want of a Fiend. Yeah, I’m doing two. I live to pimp.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

I’d say both came from the fact that I wanted to write a lesbian romance and that NaNoWriMo was coming. I knew that if I was going to be strong enough to write my dream book, I needed the support of the great Nano and all my fellow writers. Then I just sort of put my head down and went for it, running for the finish line.

What genre does your book fall under?
Several. Mostly fantasy. Then fantasy romance. And then lesbian fantasy romance. If asked what kind of fantasy, I usually say traditional as there are swords and magic and a made up kingdom.

Which actors would choose to play your characters in the movie rendition?
I’m gonna have to go with an assortment of Barbies and Kens.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
The Pyramid Waltz: Princess Katya Nar Umbriel wants a perfect romance, but her Fiendish nature and duties to the crown mean she can never tell the truth – until she meets Starbride, a woman who gets to the heart of every secret, even if it’ll be the death of her.

(SPOILER ALERT!) IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST BOOK, THE SYNOPSIS FOR THE SECOND CONTAINS SPOILERAGE.

For Want of a Fiend: Without her Fiendish power, can Princess Katya and her consort Starbride stop a magic-wielding madman from sparking an uprising in the kingdom of Farraday?

(END SPOILER)

What is the longer synopsis of your book?
The Pyramid Waltz: To most, Princess Katya Nar Umbriel is a rogue and a layabout; she parties, she hunts and she breaks women’s hearts. But when the festival lights go down and the palace slumbers, Katya chases traitors to the crown and protects the kingdom’s greatest secret: the royal Umbriels are part Fiend. When Katya thwarts an attempt to expose the king’s monstrous side, she uncovers a plot to let the Fiends out to play.

Starbride has no interest in being a courtier. Ignoring her mother’s order to snare an influential spouse, she comes to court only to study law. But a flirtatious rake of a princess proves hard to resist, and Starbride is pulled into a world of secrets that leaves little room for honesty or love, a world neither woman may survive.

(SPOILER ALERT AGAIN.)
For Want of a Fiend: Princess Katya Nar Umbriel’s uncle Roland rose from the grave, kidnapped her cousin, and stripped her of her greatest weapon—her Fiendish power. Without her Fiend, Katya doubts her ability to weather the storm her uncle is brewing. When she lacks what even the children in her family possess, can she even call herself an Umbriel?

In only a short time, Starbride has become the princess consort, a pyradisté, and a member of a secret order in charge of protecting the crown. Even steeped in responsibility, she’s still an outsider. While wading through court intrigue and resisting schemes to break her bond with Katya, Starbride must prepare for a covert war. Roland is waiting, watching, ready for any chink in their armor, and he doesn’t care who knows their secrets.

(END SPOILER)


Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?

Both books are published by Bold Strokes Books. The Pyramid Waltz is available now. For Want of a Fiend will be available in May 2013.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Since it was a Nano to start with, 30 days. But that was very very rough.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve written a lot of blogs dealing with this question. ^_^ Like this one. I’ll just sum up and say, I needed to write it.

What else about this book might pique the reader’s interest?
Swords, sorcery, and lesbians, baby! What else do you need?

Tag You’re It.
Two words: Jennifer Lavoie. Three other words: You are it!

IWW: Characters of color

When I was writing The Pyramid Waltz, I didn’t want to fall into a trap where my characters of color are concerned. (Try saying that five times fast.)

We’re not here to empower you.

I didn’t want Starbride to be the wise brown person only there to enlighten her paler counterparts. I wanted her to be her own person, with her own quirks and faults and strengths. Many of my lovely beta readers have told me that she’s very human. I take that as high praise since I was hoping to stay far away from stereotypes.

I think some of blond Barbies might be darker than these two, tho. Seriously, Mattel, what’s up with that?

Anyway! I got lots of birthday Barbies, so guess what? Now Evil Barbie and Good Barbie can have allies! Can you say, epic fight scenes?

I think a black hole of awesome just opened up

Two kens, glamorous evil side, sensible shoes good side, and one panda. Who will win?!?!?

One thing never changes, though. This:

Welcome to the bondage club, half-naked Ken.

Still equals this:

Welcome to the bondage club, plastic swiss cheese.

Some things never change. The Barbies of color are just glad they’re not A) The ones in the ropes B) The mythical spiritual healers or C) The plucky/macho soldiers who never make it through the film.

We love you, Michelle Rodriguez.

p.s. Is anyone else doing extreme writing this summer? I’m in both Camp Nanowrimo and the Clarion West Write-a-thon. Who’s with me!?!?! C’mon. Being insane is fuuuun. ^_^

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Thank goodness it’s June.

*snort* I’m 35. Suuure.

I swear…

…I am working on a Barbie post.

In the meantime,

Edits are away to my publisher. Now to decide what the hell I’m gonna do until The Pyramid Waltz comes out in September!

Network: I’ve missed talking to my blog buddies as much as I want, and I haven’t been able to click any #FF links on twitter or to take any blog recommendations. Now I can! I’m looking forward to meeting more internet friends. I’m soooo much more awkward in person. I tend to smile really wide in overcompensation. ^_^

Book release party: I’ve got to plan one. Got to figure out how many people might come, book a venue, and then…no clue. Bake some cheese sticks?

Keep writing: Not only do I have to jot down some ideas for what I’m hoping will turn into a series from The Pyramid Waltz, I also want to write some new stuff, just to keep my brain elastic. Maybe something about giant sharks. Or pirates. Or giant shark pirates. Heh. I almost typed pilates. Giant shark pilates might be fun, too.

On a totally unrelated note and since in my day-to-day life I keep flipping from topic to topic here, I heard Huey Lewis and the News’s “Heart of Rock in Roll” in the car, and when he’s singing about LA, I know what he really says, but it sounds like:

“Neon signs and the pretty pretty girls
All dressed so skeptically.”

You’d need sensible walking shoes, in case you have to disprove something in the wilderness. You’d need heavy trousers for wading through weeds. You’d need all sorts of gear for your skeptical tasks, like cameras, meteorological sensors, tape measures and other tools, and an EMF detector in case you’re investigating ghosts. A girl dressed skeptically has to be prepared to disprove anything. ^_^ I didn’t know they were all Scullys in LA.

Everyone else got any news?

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG

So much editing! Deadlines fast approaching!! Writing well in hand but pressure leading to heart attack!!!

And breathe.

I’m going off on those OMG deadline tangents a lot lately. Luckily, I’ve got them pretty condensed and can go straight into the breathing much sooner than I could before.

And breathe a little more.

Before I pass out, I have some fabupendous news. (I thought about going for stupenabulous, but that’s more like stupid fabulous. Well…that could work.)

Okay, stupid fabulous, stupendous news. I’m on amazon again! But for my book this time which guarantees I will never ever go away.

NEVER.

The Pyramid Waltz!

Squeeee! It’s very exciting. Go ahead and hit that preorder button, don’t be shy! ^_^ I’m sure the cover art will be up as soon as publication time gets closer. (It’s not until September.)

So, who’s coming to my book launch party in Austin? You’re all invited!

Edits almost done and the return of the return of the blurgh

The blurgh laid me low again yesterday, this time with a fever. Some days I’m fine, some nearly fine and well, yesterday, full on blurgh. It’s like my sinuses are just feeling me out, deciding how much they can get away with. In defiance, I worked from bed yesterday. You may take my balance, blurgh, but you will never take my mouse-hand!

Going well in edit-land. I’m putting in some plot points now that we’re quite wrapped up earlier. Then I smooth the rough edges and put in description where I need it most. I always do description last. I find it keeps me from over describing and using the same descriptive phrases more than once.

Who’s with me? What do you do last in your editing process? (Besides general clean-up and tightening, I mean. Everyone does those on each go through, or so I imagine.) And with this cooky world-wide weather, how is everyone else feeling? Does the whole world have the blurgh?

If you’re looking for IWW, it’s below this one

You know you are. ^_^ I’m very happy that everyone’s liking them.

Guess who's engaged to whom

I’m going full steam on edits right now as well as freaking out that I’ll have to do author appearances and beg people to review my book before the year is out. You may think I’m funny, but I’m really a hollow shell of a person held together with caffeine and candy.

What have you dreaded lately? I’d love to hear a few stories of when you were sure you would fail but instead came through with flying colors. Go ahead, after-school-special me.