Strings, Bows, and New Books

June has been an odd month, so far. I’ve been feeling like I’m drifting aimlessly, which is more or less normal procedure after a book release, but it doesn’t make the feeling any more comfortable. What I’m meant to do during and after a new book release, of course, is write the next book; but I find that I’m rarely in a cohesive enough frame of mind to concentrate properly on the next book while the new book is in the process of being published. That means that I’m usually scattered, undisciplined, and inclined to waffle for both the duration and about a week after launch day.

Today, I’m happy to announce, I seem to be back to form. The last couple days have seen anywhere from 500-1500 words consistently written, which means that the new book is settling in well–or, to be more accurate, the new books.

That’s right. I’m obviously mad. This time, I have two strings to my bow. And by that I mean that I’m writing two books at once.

One of the WiPs is the next book in the Two Monarchies Sequence, BLACKFOOT. Carrying on almost directly after the end of SPINDLEBLACKFOOT concentrates on the adventures of a young girl called Annabel, her friend Peter, and Annabel’s cat Blackfoot–along with a parliament of cats, sneakily growing ruins, and a certain staff that supposedly vanished years ago. Some previously-met characters will be appearing again *coff*PolyandLuck*coff* and many questions will be answered. I don’t want to say too much because spoilers, Sweetie, and I haven’t finalised the blurb, but I’m really looking forward to this one.

The other WiP is a romance. That’s right. An actual romance. Well, it’s in an Edwardian/Korean style setting, with distinct fantasy elements to it, but it’s my first fully romance novel. I usually do Fantasy With A Smidge Of Romance or SciFi With A Smidge Of Romance. With BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU, the focus will be on the romance. I’m planning on publishing a chapter every couple of weeks on Wattpad as soon as I have a cover to upload. I’m hoping to get feedback from native Korean speakers (and romance readers, if it comes to that) since BATEOY is a bit different from my usual kind of book. Below is a rough blurb for your information. I’m having a lot of fun with this one, and since I have THE WHOLE MONTH OF JULY OFF FROM WORK, I’m hoping to finish the first draft of both books reasonably quickly.

BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU: Confined to her couch because of an inability to walk, Clovis Sohn spends her days and nights dreaming, drifting further away from the reality closest to her with each passing day. But Clovis’s dreams are also real, showing her the outside world and people that she otherwise has no access to. As Clovis dreams and watches, she becomes caught up in the complicated love life of publishing assistant Ae-jung, an ordinary young woman who has three very different men in love with her.

There is Clovis’ mischievous half-brother Jessamy, arrogant writer Hyun-jun, and bored, playful composer Yong-hwa. Ae-jung is mistress of many secrets, not the least of which is her love for Hyun-jun, and neither Jessamy, with all his delightful humour, nor Yong-hwa, with his fondness for games and subtlety, can succeed.

Jessamy is young enough to love again, and Hyun-jun is just beginning to learn to love, but it is playful Yong-hwa that Clovis connects with. Ae-jung’s rejection of him has hit as hard as his unexpected love for her did; and Clovis, who has always thrown her bread to the wounded bird over the healthy, decides that Yong-hwa needs another game to bring him back to himself.

And in the end, perhaps it will take Yong-hwa to bring Clovis back to herself.

In addition to all this, I’m learning Korean and Hangul, and enjoying every moment of it! Hangul is like decoding and deciphering all at once, and as someone who practised to be a spy as a kid, I’ve taken to it like a duck to water, proving that some people don’t grow up, they simply grow older.

What are you guys up to? What are you writing? Reading?

Cover Reveal: FIRE IN THE BLOOD and THE FIRST CHILL OF AUTUMN

I was going to wait and be patient to reveal these two covers, but despite the fact that TWELVE DAYS OF FAERY is still two days away from release, I needed to upload the cover for FIRE IN THE BLOOD to make preorder available on Amazon; and I really wanted to add the cover of THE FIRST CHILL OF AUTUMN to my NaNoWriMo page ‘cos it’s so pretty.

So, since they’re out there already, I thought I’d better hurry up and do a semi-formal cover reveal. FIRE IN THE BLOOD is the 2nd novella in my SHARDS OF A BROKEN SWORD trilogy, and THE FIRST CHILL OF AUTUMN is the 3rd. Let me know what you think of them!

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Oh No! It’s NaNoWriMo!

Well, it’s that time of year again. NaNoWriMo is coming up fast (National Novel Writing Month, for those not in the know) and everyone is talking about prepping for their November novel. This will be the first year I’ve participated, and while I don’t think I’ll go so far as to actually sign up to anything, I’ll certainly give it a shot. In my case it’s a little easier: I’m prepping for the second novella in my SHARDS OF A BROKEN SWORD trilogy, and at 40,000 words it’s hardly a full length novel. So I’ve got a head start already! (And if I finish that novella this month, as I fully anticipate doing; well, there’s always the third one to write during November!)

Prepping steps:

  1. Cover. Already done! I know, I know, it’s not writing, but I like to go gloat over it every now and then. It bolsters me. And it’s so flamin’ pretty!
  2. Outlining. I do not outline. Never. Ever. Except with this novella trilogy. I tried it out as an experiment for TWELVE DAYS OF FAERY, and it worked out so well that I’m going to do the same with the second and third novellas in the trilogy. I didn’t stick to it exactly (I used a few different methods of murder than I’d planned, along with other small differences) but it made things so easy that I’ve had to do very little in the way of structural edits. It helps that the novellas are only a third of the length of what I usually write.
  3. Stickers. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. My stickers are utterly, totally necessary. I get one sticker on the calendar for every 500 words I write. In fact, I’ve had to order MORE stickers because I went through so many, so quickly with the first novella. I love looking at the day’s box and finding it absolutely stuffed with glittering gold stars. They’re even more effective than chocolates for bribing myself.
  4. Beaut Beta Readers. I seriously have the best beta readers. I also have the best alpha reader. Okay, so my alpha reader is my sister. But she doesn’t let me get away with mistakes, and she points out REALLY useful stuff. Not to mention finding all my spelling mistakes and missed punctuation. Lately, she’s also been able to point out when sentences are too long/convoluted/confusing. It’s wonderful! And she has to do it cos I’m her sis. Win/win! My beta readers are the other members of my exclusive cough*small*cough writing group. They help out with stuff like weird comma placement, bad word choices, and character development. (Plus so much weird conversation when none of us feel like writing). I may not always agree with them or take all their suggestions, but they’re an integral part of my process. It would be a huge mistake to run any kind of project, NaNoWriMo or otherwise, without planning on edits, feedback, and revisions.

Well, that’s my planning. What have I missed? What do you guys do? And who else is planning on taking advantage of NaNoWriMo?

1P.S: TWELVE DAYS OF FAERY, the first novella, is currently available at the Amazon store on a Preorder Sale for 99c! It’ll be out October 30th, and will go up to $1.99 thereafter, so get it while it’s cheap!

Cover Reveal: Twelve Days Of Faery

I’m so excited! Today is the day for the Cover Reveal of TWELVE DAYS OF FAERY! I’ve been wanting to blog this ever since I commissioned it, got it back, and saw how amazingly gorgeous it is. Of course, if you were part of my mailing list you would already have seen it…

But I love you anyway, and I’m really happy to be sharing it with you!

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If you want to check out a couple of samples of TDOF, click through here and here! Preorder will be up on Amazon shortly, and I’ll be sending out review copies very shortly.  In other words, if you want a review copy, now is the time to ask!

Normal Service Interrupted: Or, Holidays!

You’ve no doubt noticed that my post is late this week. You’ve almost certainly been hankering for the golden words and deliciously witty phraseology that are usually to be found on The WR(ite) Blog weekly. The light has gone out of your life, the glitter from the internet, the sparkle from your-

Okay, I’m probably laying it on just a bit too thick.

If you did happen to notice that my blog post was a little (okay, a LOT) late, the reason is as follows: I’M ON HOLIDAY! That’s right, I’m on holiday in the land of the Hobbit, aka, New Zealand. I have not thus far seen a hobbit (must remember to complain to management about that) but I have seen an awful lot of utterly gorgeous scenery that could have come from anywhere in Middle Earth. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love with a place as quickly as this. I would move here if I had the money. Heck, I’d probably move without it.

We’ve spent our first two days at the Heritage Hotel in Auckland: a lovely experience that has honestly thrown me a little. This is mainly because I’ve never stayed at a place with room service and concierge parking and a little man who offers politely but firmly to carry your baggage and does indeed carry your baggage for you because YOU ARE A GUEST, MA’AM. It’s delightful and rather terrifying. The room itself is quite lovely, too: large enough to be comfortable and elegant, and small enough not to lose ourselves in.

Ostensibly, this trip is because the Hubby and I have been married for eight years. It’s our anniversary today (which both of us remembered this year – hooray!) and aside from quarreling in the car and driving the poor SatNav lady burko, we’ve been doing an immense amount of driving. We were both very surprised to find that once we left Auckland (in fact, immediately upon leaving Auckland) we were in Middle Earth. I’m not even kidding. Rolling green hills, beautiful scrub land, country fences that you could see Samwise and Frodo clambering over in their quest for the ring. All equally wonderful and accessible. The problem was knowing when to turn around and head back, because we didn’t want to stop driving.

We’ve also done a fair bit of walking around Auckland, which has a thriving nightlife and some really very interesting drunks. The stores are all open to ridiculously late hours, so we never felt unsafe, and almost everything was well lit. There are roughly 50 places we could choose to eat tonight, all within a block or two radius of this hotel. In fact, the hotel even has it’s own restaurant. So where do you think we’re eating tonight? Give you three guesses (HINT: it’s room service).

Tomorrow we’ll head off toward Hobbiton (or at least the Northern half of it) for a tour, and from thence to Rotorua, where we’ll spend two days hiking and mud-bathing and driving out to explore the Taupo National Forest. I’m determined to end up with a hobbit sword. Okay, maybe all I can afford is a pint of something at the Green Dragon. BUT I’LL STILL BE IN HOBBITON, SO THERE.

So far, the only thing I haven’t done is write. I have not written a word of Blackfoot, my new WIP.

Shame on me. Shame on my goat. Shame on the corners of my house.

SIGH.

I guess I better get some words down before room service comes along with my scotch fillet. I’m thinking of trying a slightly different approach with this WIP (more planning, scary!) a la Patricia Wrede’s Post It Notes Method. Wish me luck!

And if you don’t hear from me so much on the Twitter and the Facebook, it’s not cos I don’t love you, it’s cos I love New Zealand more. Posts should be more or less regular as of next week, for those who really were pining (sorry, mum!).

Final Edits for ‘Spindle’

Last night the hubby was watching Caprica. You may be wondering what that has to do with Spindle – or last edits, if it comes to that. What it has to do with both is precisely this: I can’t stand Caprica, or for that matter, Battlestar Galactica. (I’ll have to try the original series- I hated the new but love the old V). It’s nasty, grotty, by far too soapy for my taste, and I don’t think there’s a single character I like. As far as I’m concerned, the Cylons can eliminate the lot of ’em.

So while hubby was watching Caprica, I put on my big, white noise-blocking earphones and searched Youtube for Stuff. I found Lindsey Stirling, which I binged on for a while as I typed away madly at the last few thousand words of Spindle. Then I changed to Evanescence for a while and continued to type away madly. It was probably the easiest, most profitable night’s writing that I’ve done in quite some time. Honestly, the hardest bit was not looking at the music videos as they played (Lindsey Stirling in particular has such lovely, visceral music videos – see Roundtable Rival for my favourite).

I did cheat a few times, skipping ahead to other scenes when I got stuck with the one I was writing, but the writing got done. Which means I’ll be able to send Spindle off to beta readers at the end of the week. Hoots! It also means that I’ll have a two week break from the MS while I go on with Other Things and prepare for Final Edits. Fortunately I do a lot of editing as I go, so only the last third of Spindle will need a second and third round of edits (hopefully). That and the feedback from my beta readers should keep me busy for the next month after my break.

So in celebration of Spindle reaching Final Edit stage, I have another small excerpt for you all! Enjoy, and don’t forget to preorder Spindle.

* * *

                Poly woke the next morning to uncomfortable heat and a distinct feeling of claustrophobia. To add to her discomfort there was a tiny, sharp elbow digging into her neck, which suggested that Onepiece had turned boy some time after he curled up on her pillow but hadn’t moved from the pillow. One of his legs was dangling over the side of the bed, but the other had managed to work its way under the covers. The rest of him was wrapped snugly in what seemed to be . . . hair.

“Good grief!” groaned Poly, giving up the attempt to lift her head from the pillow after one painful effort.

“Oh, you are awake,” said Luck, making her squeak in surprise. He was stretched out at the foot of her bed with an open book in one hand, his boots only just off the quilted blanket; and that, thought Poly crossly, must be why she couldn’t move her legs. “I wouldn’t try that again if I were you: it’s lashed underneath the boards.”

“Yes, I thought it might be. What do I do?”

“Lie very still, I suppose. Poly, the curse is being sneaky again, but I think you might have been sneakier.”

Onepiece stirred and murmured: “Tosh,” but that was more likely to be because it was his favourite word than because he’d understood Luck. Poly was left wondering if she agreed with the sentiment.

“I knew there was something niggling away in the back of my mind,” continued Luck, disregarding Onepiece’s sleepy mutterings. “Your hair is too helpful: it’s keeping the curse at bay by growing. Even if you’d pumped all your magic into it, it shouldn’t be that clever.”

“How does growing keep the curse at bay?” asked Poly. She’d given up trying to explain yet again to Luck that she didn’t have magic, hadn’t had magic, wouldn’t ever have magic. His reiteration was insidious enough that Poly thought she might just come to believe him, in the end.

* * *

That’s it from me! What have you guys been up to this week? And what is your writing music of choice?

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All About Wolfskin

Just a quick note to let you all know that Wolfskin is Finished, Done, Kaputt, Uploaded, etc, etc. It will be available May 1st, and if any of you out there on the interwebs are interested in getting your hot little hands on a review copy of Wolfskin, send me a note via the comments, the Contact tab, or email (gingellwrites AT gmail.com). Reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Blogs, and Kobo are very greatly appreciated 🙂

Wolfskin will be going on blog tour from July 6th, so reviews are welcome any time from May 1st through to July 26th. Later is fine, too, but I’d love to co-ordinate everything together if possible. If you’re interested in having me as a guest on your blog during this time (guest post, interview, excerpt, etc) feel free to contact me by the above methods.

I will also be setting up a Goodreads Giveaway mid-May.

See below for a blurb of Wolfskin, and if you’d like to check out an excerpt, click on the Excerpts tab.

Have a lovely week, all!

“If you want adventure, you have to march right up to it and kick it in the shins . . .”

At fourteen, barefoot and running wild, Rose is delighted to be apprenticed to Akiva, the witch of the forest.  She thinks it will be all enchantment and excitement, and not so much fuss about baths.  The reality is much more sober and practical- that is, until she meets a mysterious wolf in the forest and is tricked into stepping off the path . . .

In young, naive Rose, Bastian sees a way of escape.  Cursed to remain in the shape of a wolf after running afoul of a powerful enchantress, he has lived many decades under a spell, and now he is both desperate and ruthless.  But by breaking part of Bastian’s curse, Rose has caught the attention of Cassandra, the enchantress who cursed him: and Cassandra is by no means ready to forgive and forget.

Meanwhile, wardens have been disappearing from the forest, one by one.  Rose is certain that Cassandra is behind the disappearances, but can she and Bastian get to the bottom of the matter before Akiva disappears as well?  And are Bastian’s motives entirely to be trusted?

Sometimes the little girl in the red hood doesn’t get eaten, and sometimes the wolf isn’t the most frightening thing in the forest.

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Busy, Busy, Busy

It’s been a busy week. And now that I’ve written the word ‘busy’ five times, it’s looking really weird to me. Maybe I need a nap.

But I digress.

It’s been a busy week. My proofs for Wolfskin came in (finally!) but since they’re late arriving I have only a week and a half to check and correct. So there’s that. Then there’s the last 5000-odd words of Spindle that need to be done by next week if I want to keep on target with that particular deadline. And then there’s Memento Mori (the second volume in the Time-Traveller’s Best Friend series). I’ve only just begun it, and though I know roughly what the story arc for the collection will be, and have a few titles and ideas for a few of the stories, I still need to write the thing. By August at the latest.

With all these deadlines, you’d think I’d be madly at work on one or all of them. No such thing. I also got a new idea for a Short Thing for Weekly Fiction’s Open Call For Submissions. Naturally, I started work on that, with a little bit of editing and proof-reading around the edges. Fortunately, Wolfskin is proving much less complicated than Masque was. I seem to have caught most of the errors and inconsistencies and missed words before this point (does that mean I’ve advanced a level? New Power! Error-Free Gained!) and it’s really mostly a matter of a tiny change here and there.

Added to all the above is a busier-than-usual week at work, coupled with an annoying surge of my favourite companion, Meniere’s Disease.

I may just quietly go mad for a while. Don’t mind me. It’s a self-chosen madness after all.

What about you guys? Who else has a murder of deadlines? (Well, what is the group word for many deadlines, anyway?) And are you actually working on them?