Category Archives: self publish

The Best of 2016 and what’s coming 2017…

2016

What a year. Carrie Fisher will be so missed. Our Princess/General Leia. (And might I recommend a viewing of The ‘Burbs?) All the music greats we had: George Michael, Prince, David Bowie. My grandmother’s passing…

Let’s skip all the bad, because we can’t be bringing in the new with all that baggage and bad karma.

The good of the year. Well, there was Captain America Civil War, aka The Avengers 3. Westworld was great. Stranger Things.

A lot of people out there fighting for what’s right and good in the world.

Personally, I wrote. A lot. Have writer’s block, for months. Completed a few stories, though most are in first draft form still. I had full requests and partials for Love, Darrows–Thankful for agents agreeing that Cupid can have a boyfriend. Rethinking the genre of that one, though. Completed NaNoWriMo with my series, Human Touch‘s book 4, Me & Johnny. Got a job working for a great company and working with some fun and diverse people.

Completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 100 books for this year, read and reviewed.

{the Year in Review on Goodreads: see it here.}

My favorites of 2016

Asking me to choose just one isn’t going to work. As I sit typing, I can think of the majority of books I read this year and find ones I loved so much. And most on my favorites list weren’t necessarily published in 2016. Which I am fine with since I believe all stories are timeless. Even the contemporaries.

Favorite YA

Has to go to the Cinder series by Marissa Meyer. Not only was it a great twist on the classic fairy tales, Carswell Thorn and Cress. They just won it for me. I still daydream about them, though I will not write a fanfic.

Favorite Graphic Novel

This goes to the Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee “Bread makes you fat?” O’Malley. (Because it seems in every book, Mr. O’Malley has this bread obsession. LoL) I still pull out one of the books and read a bit of it, go over the pictures. Laugh. Definitely a win for years to come.

Favorite Comic

This is sort of cheating since Marvel’s Agent Carter could also be a graphic novel. But it is one of my most favorites because of the included Cher Chez le Femme. My forever ship. Steggy. Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter together…something the MCU really never wanted to give us. No matter how much Steve loved his best girl.

Favorite LGBTQ

I don’t think I read enough of these this year. But of the ones I did, Gear Shark took it. It was one of those “coming to terms with the fact I, a guy, am in love with a guy stories,” but what this one had that most I’ve read never touched was the hatred and violence that can go along with being gay (or lesbian or trans, and more power to you all for having to deal with such an asinine hatred from people). That’s really where I had to keep reading. What were they going to do?

Favorite Book Award Winner

The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian. This story stuck in my head. Not just because I knew the area and places mentioned, but because it gave an inside peek into a culture that really most of literature just doesn’t touch. It was so good. So sweet. So heartfelt. Just pure honesty on a page. Even being fictional.

Favorite Literary Fiction

Jane Two is going to be one of those stories that sit in the heart for a very long time. It was a story about love. A first love. A love of your life. A love that stays with you and never dies, though it may very well remain an unrequited love. It was truly a beautiful tale and I am so glad I never gave up on finding it. One of my highest recommends of the year.

2017

Leaving 2016 behind like dust blowing in the wind as a car speeds down a country road…

It felt like 2017 would never get here, as rough and bullying as 2016 was. The low was hit, and we can only rise from here, right? Leaving out the politics of it all [here in the US] when I say that 2017 will be a great year. For entertainment, books, the good in life.

We have a new Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming. Avengers: Infinity War parts 1 & 2 will begin filming. Another Star Wars film coming…

My writing goals for 2017?

A lot of pages. I need to get final drafts done, manuscripts out to agents. I would love to take a class or two to help with my writing to see what I’m missing or what I can fix. I have stories yelling to be told right now. Three to be exact. All starring my muse in one way or another. I’ve got to get out on social media more with my writing. Still considering a self-pub if I can get the massive amount of money I need for an editor.

SO no word totals. Just putting words on a page, handwritten, digitally, make stories into something more than thoughts in my head.

Keep doing book reviews. Keep reading. And there are some promising books coming.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth has been on my TBR list for a while. (Only a few more weeks to that one!) Plus a new Four story from Divergent!!!! (I CAN’T WAIT!!!)

I had the fortune of reading two soon to be releases this past month or so. (Thanks to their publishers and Net Galley.) I highly recommend finding these in the new year:

This was a beautiful story. Refreshing. My first “Christian” read. Touching. Definitely makes me teary when I think about this wonderful book. Don’t let the Christian thing push you away. It was a part of the tale, but it wasn’t preachy nor did it consume the whole story.

On the opposite end of that, in a way…

I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard at a romcom before. It was amusing and funny and well done. Perfect romcom to start off the year!!! I can’t wait for the other ones, too.

And then from Paula Hawkins, who wrote Girl on the Train…which was so good I couldn’t put it down!!!…Into The Water. A whole new twisty tale. This one is right up there with Divergent’s post epilogue on my TBR list.

Those are just a very few on my lists. The closer books. Who knows what favorites will emerge as we move throughout the year?

Reading themes start tomorrow. I’ve skipped the past two months as I’ve been too busy between writing/reading and working to do them. Resolution 35: Get back to the themes. (total fake resolution number.)

Have a great New Year!!!

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All gifs found on giphy.com

book covers found through google searches. those images belong to their owners.

The Captain America image was my own screenCap (pun totally intended) from The Avengers, my own paid copy of that film.

Goodreads COngrats image was a screencap from my phone.

NaNoWriMo gave me that banner when I completed the challenge.

Thank you for reading!

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The master list.

Once upon a time, I was reading a book written by Stephen King and happened upon a character named “Ace Merrill”. He lived in a little place of yore called Castle Rock, Maine. Well, that name/that location sent a smile to my face and memories into my brain. I knew this guy from that story that other time. Talk about being excited when I remembered little things that I loved about the town or couldn’t stand about Ace…It was like being in on a secret. I had to tell people, “Remember that guy from that place? Well, they’re back. No seriously. You have to read it.”

I blame Stephen King for this thing I have about linking my stories through characters, places, or just little hints. Even if no one else gets it, I know it’s there and am proud.

Lately, though, it feels like nothing is connecting. Not a story, a line, a name, or a title. I have a Tinkerbell journal full of notes for another Rom-Com in NYC I think I want to write for NaNoWriMo.

And if I do start writing on this, I will of course crossover locations or mention a person in passing–The Stephen King Effect. (The New York City thing for RomComs came from movies like The Secret of My Succe$s and What’s Your Number? {okay, so that’s Boston, but big city love story nonetheless} and even Something Borrowed.)

I like the idea of Sean and Gemma almost meeting at the same place that Kurt bought an apology latte…I like that Violet works with Sean while Charlie’s boss is Kurt. I like that this one hotspot is used for breakups and make-ups alike. What I don’t like is fishing through over 1000 pages of combined manuscripts to find that name or that place. That’s where the need for a master list of these tales comes into play.

I could just type a list on the computer. I have a few of those in OneNote and Word docs. But I like a solid journal with pages to flip through. I have images of places in my mind that I drew/draw that I like to reference in addition to photos. I like to keep the descriptions the same from story to story to make it more familiar…a home…like Castle Rock before it met its end.

There are three sections: The Stories which has either a book cover/promotional poster idea with a summary, characters, & locations. (The exact reason label makers were made.)

If Only in Our Dreams

Dreams can hold the best life has to offer. Who says they can’t come true?

Gemma has the worst luck with men. After this last date with the loser of her life, she’s ready to give up men. Her friends beg her for one more weekend–because they can choose a better guy for her–of blind dates. She agrees to one last weekend, though she’s regretting it already. Her friends will never find a guy like the one from her dreams. He’s hot and loving and the sex… Impossible.

Sean has the worst luck with women. After this last date with quite the drama queen, he’s ready to give up women. His friends beg him for one more weekend before doing anything drastic. After all, his friends can pick a woman better than the one from his dreams, right? Maybe not.

Life Imitating Art/Life Imitating Art

Every story has two sides, and Jana’s and Kurt’s are no exception. This duet of novels covers the same events, but are two entirely different tales. What he says is definitely not what she says about their lives from the moment they met.

Life Imitating Art: Jana Hampstead–pen name: JR Toscani–is a best selling romance authors of our time. After meeting her new editor Kurt, she realizes their story mimics the first story she’s ever written–Texas Violets, a fanfiction-turned-bestseller. Much like her characters, there’s ups and downs…and more downs…and he’s her editor, so that’s probably frowned upon around the editing firm. Oh definitely it is. Can Jana and Kurt put aside their differences and finish her new novel before their escapades can become office gossip?

Life Imitating Art: Kurt Werner–aspiring novelist and editor at top firm Eckhart & Bernstien–has been suffering a writer’s block the size of Jupiter. Every word he types ends with a delete. The story isn’t there. Then he meets his new client, JR Toscani–real name, Jana Hampstead. She envokes a rage…a passion within him. Next thing he knows, his job is on the line, but the words are flowing like a river flooding its banks. Can Kurt find a way to balance an editing job, Jana, and a new story that just won’t stop before it all comes crashing to a halt?

Wings

Take my hand. I’ll take yours. Together we’ll do this. Until we find love.

Told through two different points of view.

Charlie Everett plays wingman for his best friend, hoping to pay off an old debt. Violet Granger is trying to show “Daddy” that she can make it on her own. One night of wing services, they meet and their world couldn’t be sweeter. But, like always, real life and exes can break some wings. Can Charlie and Violet spread their wings so love can soar?

There are a few more stories not mentioned here. And I’m trying to decide where to put these stories–here, Wattpad, or e-pub them. Plus, this has been great for my story blocked mind. My hands are busy drawing, coloring, painting. My mind thinks as I do this…to the point of generating a new idea for a story that hasn’t been told in YA or adult books that I’ve been able to find. I’ve got a few opening lines to the story I’ve been wanting to type on. And have expanded my old notes on this NYC Rom-Com series, though I have yet to come up with a title.

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all images are my own.
this post is filed under random blathering and writer’s block.

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Mr. Holland’s Opus

Anyone remember that movie?

It came out about the same time as Powder.

Both movies made me weep crocodile tears and kill off about thirty trees’ worth of tissues. They’re both one of those movies that I could only watch once, but I remember vividly and has yet to leave my mind.

Anyway…That’s the reference. The actual story for this post is this: I’ve decided that Human Touch may very well be my Mr. Holland’s Opus, but instead of creating the most beautiful piece of music, I’m trying to create a saga type tale along Harry Potter lines, minus the wizards, add ghosts, demons, but still witchery and religion mingling in a rom com YA.

Yeah, I still need a lot of work on finding the perfect genre for this sweeping series of stories that I would love to finish, that I want to share with other people, that I know is supposed to be out there in the universe somewhere rather than sitting in various Word docs and Scrivener files…and sitting in my brain.

This story has been ___ years in the making. The story idea started in my head in 2010, written out in a short “Note to Self” post-it on my computer–a literal post-it stuck to the laptop lid. 2011 it was a passing thought as I couldn’t figure out the story, the hook. 2012 it clicked when I was at Comic Con…and I was literally seven to ten people (depending if I let the others in my group go before me or after me) away from meeting someone while camping out for the Thursday Hall H opener. And after, I sat thinking, as most of the line was going to sleep…this is how my ghost would feel if this guy just missed her. She would be super bummed, like it should happen, but she’s a fracken ghost in love with a human…

And everything just became a waterfall. Possible names. Possible places. Events that go on in a high school senior’s life, things my ghost would have missed out on, the things that have changed from the 1980s to the (then) present day of 2012.

And this tale started spilling onto journal pages decorated with birds and trees. And when I had a rough plan, I began to type and type and type. Through tired fingers, tired brains, and temporary carpal tunnel as I’ve never typed that much before in a single sitting. Nikki and McClane came to life. The only thing I didn’t have, was an ending. Did I want to go typical HEA or did I want to go with reality?

I opted for HEA with a twist, leading to another book, then another, then another, then plans for two more just on their story, plans on four others for stories of other characters, then the alternate ending story which, truthfully is a book within itself (and almost completed in first draft now).

Spring 2013 – I had the first three books of Human Touch series typed. I call this first half of the series my baby, though it’s been said to never call it that. But in my eyes, it is. July to April to complete the three (very long) books in first draft. Nine long, learning filled months. The amount of time for a baby to grow and be born. My baby.

Fall 2013 – The first work was edited and formatted and re-written…a few times…then voila! I considered her done. Researched queries…which admittedly is still a weak point of mine…and sent them out. No after no. I’ve had about four personalized noes, feels like a thousand form noes, and a few that said it was great, but the genre was falling apart and they were taking less Paranormal Romance YA…which, this truly is being about ghosts…not that Vampire/Werewolf stuff they say is Paranormal. (THOSE ARE SUPERNATURAL!)

So fine. I put it away for a bit. Made some changes. Wound up expanding on the story. to over 150,000 words…and it still doesn’t cover everything.

And after taking out what was considered “non-essential” I had it down to 126,000…but it lost so much to me. Nikki’s personality was gone. Events that run through all six books, some through three, gone. Nothing made sense anymore. I hated it.

Summer 2014 – Queried that version. Again, the same amount of noes. pretty much just like that first list. So I put it away. Very far away. I even have drafts in a folder labeled: NEVER LOOK AT THESE AGAIN

Seriously. Those drafts are horrible. I hate them, but I refuse to delete them. Reminders of how terribly things can go wrong when writing.

Fall 2014 – Started another series, Love, Darrows. (As if I hadn’t written Last Man Standing, Life Imitating Art, Life Inspiring Art, and an untitled novella in there.) And it took a while to find my style and voice. I am pithy. I am also very verbose. (150,000 + words for one book!…*looking at Order of the Phoenix and wondering the comparison on that.*) I don’t like info dumps, though everyone critiquing my story (except the BFF and someone whose opinion on writing I trust more than Honest Abe) kept harping on show don’t tell. But I was showing. Maybe not in long-winded descriptions like most authors seem to do, like most agents seem to like as these books/stories are published. I think it detracts from the story. (see also The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo) I think describing bits and pieces that are important works with all of the events going on in the story. You’re getting the story. You’re getting the descriptions. You don’t need to know that McClane is in a western style shirt that is blue plaid with small black lines broken up with white and a t-shirt under that came from some band Nikki thinks is fake because Thirty Seconds to Mars makes no sense, though DeLoreans going 88 mph to time travel makes perfect sense, and how those items pair well with his tight denim jeans then the boots, cowboy not work, but I’ve seen some places where even the color of the shoelaces have been described just to paint the complete picture.

I hate it.

So it would go with me that Nikki would notice the worn jeans that are just right tight. She would jaw drop at those old boots of his, as though he’s been riding out on the range all day and is just now swooping into town all dusty. But then they talk… He says, “Hey, Kitten. You ready?” as “Hi, Cowboy,” wisps from her in a quiet breath. She can’t think of an answer to the rest. That hours later, during a hug, Thirty Seconds to Mars must make some great music. That t-shirt has been worn a thousand times, because it’s the softest thing she’s rested her cheek on. McClane’s football-sculpted chest rock was hard though. Then during their moonlight stroll, he offered her this cowboy shirt that was blue, plaid, and thin when she was shuddering from the cold breeze swarming them.

Something like that. That’s not even a part of the story which is how easy those characters are for me to write.

So here we are. 2015. Summer-ish. The story has been put away for a year now. One whole year–with the small exception of formatting a chapter for self-pub(?) here and there as writer’s block hits or I am too tired and it’s easier to type what I see than think. . And these characters are screaming at me. Like taking Cruz, Tyler, and Jamie–three guys from the newest story I’m writing–and shoving them to the side as though they aren’t important. McClane, Nikki, and Jaden are screaming at me, “Pay attention to us!” And a thought hit…what if I took my longest draft to date (the 156,000+ one) and kept the events the same, because they are perfect, and used my way of show not tell, only highlighting the most important things to these characters instead of painting out every little detail like I have.

And yesterday, since it was bothering me and I couldn’t go to sleep until I had it done…

I took chapter two…the real, almost original start to my story, the moment I love…it starts with him and her and it will end with him and her…and typed it out as though Nikki was talking through Quentin with less poetry. So far, I’ve condensed 2,505 words down to 1,600, and divided two-thirds of a chapter into two smaller chapters.

I rather like it. This is just a smidge more Nikki from the first drafts then the rambling long-windedness I hate.

So I’m now toying with writing the rest like this. Like Quentin without the poetry, but with the voice on an 18-year-old girl from 1989. Like it was. Taking this format that a few agents have liked enough to ask for full drafts of Darrows…That maybe there is a light to the end of this Human Touch tunnel

My Opus.

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Filed under author woes, editing worries, finding myself, human touch, learning lessons, love darrows, my opus, paranormal, rewrite it, self publish, self-doubt, supernatural, write

My mind is made of Teflon.

Although I know it causes cancer…and I think you’re supposed to use that ceramic stone now…anyway, for today, I’m going with Teflon to create the bigger picture.

Every story idea I’ve toyed with had yet  to stick with me. I want to write. My fingers want to fly across the keyboard, and yet…nothing wants to be told. I’ve been trying to rewrite out Human Touch into formatting for self-pub. Sucks that it’s not sticking as a viable hobby/venture because I feel like I’ve written it a million times. Because I have written it a million times. I have three, maybe four other stories in all their first draft glories I could work on, but my mind wanders to the guys–Quent and Lex– and I start thinking about Darrows and Carter all over again. There’s one hundred and nine viable story ideas sitting in a journal, waiting to be told, and as soon as I entertain the idea, guess who shows.

Yeah, them.

I don’t know why I can’t move past them. What makes them so different from all the other characters I’ve loved (and created) before? I feel like this is writer’s block of some kind. A whole two person picket line. That if I cross, I’ll be the scab. As weird as that sounds. *rolls eyes* I need something to occupy my time…I just don’t know what to do with a one-track mind.

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Human Touch.

Here it is. The cover. I made it myself. It reflects the story as well as fitting the rest of the series with some minor adjustments to the cover for each book.

*deep breath*

This is it. I’m going to put this out there. On my own. The first chapter will be going out soon. And I’m working on typing the others into proper format…and there she goes.

*heavy sigh*

My first-born novel is going to be taking her first steps soon.
I’m nervous. Excited. Scared to death.

This is her birth announcement.

Human Touch.

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