Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Writing Goals in Review

It's time to revisit the writing goals I set for myself this time last year, and see how I did with them.

2012 has been a very good year, writing-wise. Not only did it seen publication of my first short story collection SOUL SCREAMS (and a launch at the BFS Open Night in June), but I also contributed to the anthology SIBLINGS, which was launched at FantasyCon. So two publications and two launches - not too shabby.

How did I do on the goals I set for myself last December? I wanted to finish DEAD COOL - the second book in the Shara Summers series - and get it out on submission. I failed dismally on this one. I had a critique session for this manuscript at the end of December 2012, and I got somewhat discouraged by the feedback. So much so, in fact, I haven't touched it since. But on reflection I'm not yet ready to abandon this manuscript. I enjoy writing about Shara, and I'd like to finish this book.

However, I have been more successful with the horror WIP, which I wanted to completed to beta reader stage. Ordinarily beta reader stage, for me, is draft 2. For this MS I've added an extra draft, but draft 3 is almost finished and I expect to have it out to beta readers early in the New Year.

My third goal was to step up promotion and increase sales of the published work. Well, I did my best to boost my internet presence, but it still feels like at this stage I'm a very small fish in a very large and crowded pond. Let's just say I'm still a long way from being able to give up the day job.

As for my goals for 2013, it may be being a tad ambitious, but I'd like to get both WIPs done. So these are my writing goals for 2013.

1. Complete DEAD COOL and have it out on submission by the end of the year.
2. Complete the horror WIP and have it out on submission by the end of the year.

I wish you a happy and successful 2013, and may you all reach your own writing goals, whatever they may be.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trying a New (Sub)Genre

Courtesy of Guilane Nachez,
Almost forgot to post.

Okay, where was I? Right. Steampunk.

What? Steampunk?

All right, put down your sword canes and stop brandishing your parasols. Oh, and do you mind watching where you pour that tea? Thanks!

Yes, folks, scary as it sounds, I've started a steampunk short story. And what I mean by started is I've run the idea through Dramatica Pro, but haven't actually started writing the story yet. I bought Beth Daniel's book on how to write steampunk, but glancing through it gave me an initial idea. Jotted down a one page synopsis and started from there.

A bit nervous, especially since steampunk has certain expectations, much like mysteries. (And I want to write a mystery. That's one of my goals for 2013.) Anyway, I digress. I like steampunk, although I'll admit I'm still learning about it. That's why I'm working on a short story. I don't have enough knowledge to try to pull off a novel-length work. Heck, I may fall flat on my face with this endeavor, but I want to try. 

Writing is about taking chances, of pushing oneself to another level. Just because I've never written a steampunk story, doesn't mean I can't do it. Maybe my first attempt will be laughable, but that's what first drafts are for. Anyway, I have enough information to start writing. Maybe next Tuesday, I'll have a first draft or at least a partial one.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I was tagged by the uber-talented Francis Knight in the Next Big Thing blog hop.  The aim is to answer ten questions about your work in progress, and then tag five more writers. I've chosen to do mine about the WIP I am currently wrestling with. And this does feel a bit like taking my clothes off in public, because not a single person other than me has seen this manuscript yet. I still feel vulnerable.

1. What is the title of your book?
It's called THE WHISPERING FEAR, and I have to give credit to Dave Gullen for suggesting the title.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Following on from SUFFER THE CHILDREN, I wanted to write another horror novel based on a mythical creature. It was my husband's idea to use a creature based on the idea of a lich.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Supernatural horror.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a bit of a fantasy wish list. My characters are all in their 20s and my knowledge of younger actors is limited.

David - the ambitious young doctor who gets possessed by the lich. Benedict Cumberpatch would probably do a fine job.

Mark - the hero, and David's geeky best friend. He's a version of my ideal man (I have a thing for geeks), only everyone on my 'most fanciable men' list is getting on a bit now. Perhaps Cary Elwys, in his 'Princess Bride' days.

Elizabeth - Mark's equally geeky girlfriend, who's a crack shot and undefeated in the world of zombie slaying video games. Maybe Kate Winslet, circa 'Titanic'.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A group of live-action role players unwittingly release an ancient evil that threatens to destroy the world.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I don't at present have a literary agent. I am hoping I can find someone to publish it, but I haven't started shopping it around yet.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About seven months, to write the first draft - I started it in October 2011. I'm now on the third draft.

8. What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?
In many ways it's similar to SUFFER THE CHILDREN, but that's one of mine as well. It bears a passing resemblance to Stephen King's IT, probably.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Stephen King remains an inspiration, and my style has been compared to his on more than one occasion.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Since I am a live action role-player the references in this story are realistic, and I think anyone who indulges in this hobby might like the LARP scenes. It's also got a kick-ass female MC.

Most of the writers I know have already been tagged for this, and I had trouble finding people who aren't already playing. Here are my five - all writers I have only met in cyberspace. Some of them may well have already been tagged, and for that I apologise. I also emphasise that there is absolutely no obligation for them to take me up on this, but you should check out their blogs anyway, because they are worth following.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Family Tradition is Here!

Sorry, all, but yes, another short story release. I'm stoked to announce "Family Tradition" is now available from MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon. Not only that, it's already received four positive reviews.

This means a lot to me because I almost gave up on this story. When I sent it to a beta reader, and she said she enjoyed it, I was, as Grimm (from Mother Goose and Grimm) would say, "Flabbergasted." Someone liked my weird little story about a broke artist hired to paint a model with no face?

"Family Tradition" is a short dark fiction suspense story, and my homage to such shows as Night Gallery, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Thriller, or any of the other suspense anthology television shows from the past. 

But the success of "Family Tradition" has brought me more than good reviews. It's helped bolster my confidence to submit other work. I'm currently in the final round of revisions for my angel UF, "The Zaphkiel Project," and plan to submit it this month. After that, I'll get to work on rewriting The Ripper's Daughter, my vampire Victorian paranormal mystery. That, plus two short stories I'm working on. I'm inspired to get my work out there. Right now, I have full and partial manuscripts taking up space on my hard drive. That doesn't include the many ideas I have jotted down in a file folder on my PC. I'm doing my best to stop being so fearful and get those stories revised and submitted. Figured I'd start with the ones I mentioned above and work from there.

It's not going to be easy. I have a lot of psychological blocks to deal with. But if I succeed, the reward will be that much sweeter.