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Wednesday, July 22, 2020


I'm too lazy to look, but I'm pretty sure I make a post every year about how I usually don't get a lot of writing done during the summer. I am still plotting my next project, I'm getting The Edge of the Sphere ready for re-release by the end of August, and I'm also working on some website/marketing/behind-the-scenes stuff that is either boring or not ready to be unveiled yet. So, while I guess that all counts as being productive, I haven't written any new words since the short fanfic I finished at the beginning of the month.

We did make it up to Cape Cod last week, which turned out to be great. I was worried about how the trip would go, both due to the virus and my mom not being there, but overall, everything went well. One of my biggest concerns was stopping at the rest areas on the travel days, since it's too long of a trip to make without stopping at least once. I intentionally picked the smaller ones, though even the big ones looked less crowded than normal, and everything was fine. I wouldn't want to travel anywhere outside the northeast right now, but as our neighbor who lives up there full-time told us, everyone's pretty much been behaving themselves in our town. We usually ate the vast majority of our meals at the house anyway, and we're lucky enough to have a small private beach at the end of the street.

To be fair, our house isn't in one of the super-touristy areas, and we've decided not to do activities like mini golf and go karts. We did, however, drag the kids out hiking with us, and while there was some whining, they did well for the most part. We'll investigate some new trails next time we're up, especially since the ones we went on were not crowded AT ALL in the morning.

Yeah, I'm not stepping on those wooden planks again.

We could definitely tell there's fewer people around than is typical for this time of year, but hey, I'm not complaining. I know of at least three families who canceled their rentals up there because they're "restaurant people", which is fair. (Or, as one of them told me, she wasn't going to pay a lot of money to listen to her family whine about not being able to do anything they wanted for a week. You can get that at home for free!) I wouldn't say it's completely empty up there, but there's definitely a decrease in traffic.

The reviews for this trail said it looked like something out of The Hobbit. I wouldn't know firsthand, but sure!

I kept saying that we'd see how the first week went and then make our decisions for the rest of the summer. When I was stressed out up there last year, one of my coworkers/friends summed it up perfectly: when the kids are young, it's not a "vacation", it's a "family trip". This was probably the first time in a long time I was really sad to leave. The current plan is to go up again on Sunday, stay for two weeks, come home for a week, and then go up for one more. I'll be bringing my work equipment to work remotely if necessary, and if school is going to be mostly virtual, we might even stay a little longer.

No one else was here when we visited. NO ONE.

I might as well mention that I finally read two books last week I'd been meaning to get to for a while and liked them both, so that was another plus. There are quite a few ebooks on my to-read list that have no waiting list at my library at the moment, so I'm hoping I'll be equally lucky this trip. I also picked up my knitting project I'd abandoned around February in favor of the baby blanket, made a big mistake, but then managed to fix it without having to rip it out. Everything seems to be going so relatively well, maybe I should attempt to write a few words!

As always, I hope everyone's staying safe and healthy. Enjoy your summer as best you can, and be sure to take care of yourselves, too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Choosing a Direction

In my last post, I made a short vague statement about revisiting an old project/idea, accompanied by a promise to write a blog post about it. You know how sometimes when you sit around thinking about something, debating all the pros and cons and everything, if you wait long enough, a decision is made for you? That's kind of where I'm at right now. So, here's the promised post.

A couple of weeks or months ago (time has lost all meaning in this pandemic), I was thinking about some of my earliest books. I reviewed my contracts to see when the rights would revert back to me, and I was there on most of them. I was debating emailing the publisher to clarify a couple things, and then working on a plan for what I want to do with the books. I ran this by usual sounding board buddy Boobulon, and his immediate reaction was to encourage me to do this, reminding me that the works are mine, and if enough time has passed, I should take advantage of the reversion clause. I thanked him for his input, and ultimately filed the whole thing away in the "stuff to maybe get to someday" mental folder.

Then this morning, I got an email saying that the aforementioned publisher is closing/being absorbed by another company, and all rights have reverted. Okay, that's taken care of, I guess. There was a list of options regarding relisting with the new site, paying a fee to retain cover art and formatting, and so on. I've given all of this some thought, and luckily, for what I want to eventually accomplish, I don't have to *do* anything or contact anyone. The rights are mine, and I'm not going to have the books listed with the new site.

To steal the title from my last blog post: So, what now?

That's where things get a little trickier, and I will actually have to do something other than sitting around on my butt. Some decisions are clear, while others, I haven't formed a definite plan yet. In no particular order:

For all of them: Redoing the covers. Whether that means throwing together something basic on my own or paying someone to do it for me, we'll see. (Maybe a combination.) I also decided to do all the formatting on my own. The Kindle publishing platform is less finicky than it used to be, and while yes, it's another chore to do, it's not the worst thing ever and I can handle it. For availability, as of right this moment, I am leaning toward making them all Amazon exclusives, free for Kindle Unlimited members, and a low-ish price for non-KU people. I have Feelings about Amazon becoming a monopoly, but for right now, I think it's the best way to go.

The Edge of the Sphere: This one's the easy one. New cover, check the formatting, done. I think I'll try to get this done by the end of the summer.

Disintegration/The Fall of the Midnight Scorpions: Since these two go together, I guess I should come up with some sort of branding and scheduling plan. Also, there's a glaring typo right in the beginning of TFotMS that's been bothering me since it was published, so I can finally fix that, at least. I've been poking around on stock image sites, and I may wind up outsourcing the cover design for this one, but we'll see. Not a priority right now, although I do still love this set of stories.

Searching the Skies/Defying the Skies: Arrrrrrrrgh. Lots going on here. This was actually what made me start thinking about looking into the rights reversion in the first place. I'm sure I mentioned it at least once here, but once upon a time, this was intended to be a trilogy, and then for a variety of reasons, the third book never happened. It has a pretty good outline, but I never even started writing it. Another complicating factor is that when I first got this idea, I went back to review, and StS needs a lot of work to make me feel comfortable rereleasing it. A LOT. The foundations are there, there's still a lot of the story I love, but there's a lot that makes me cringe because I know I can do better now. I'm not talking a total revamp/rewrite here, at least, but it definitely needs some polishing. (DtS has held up better. Yay for growth.) Yet another thought I had was, if I did clean up Book 1 and wrote Book 3, if I want to shop this around to a new publisher as a completed set, rather than doing it all on my own.

Then that leads us to perhaps the biggest question of them all: How much time do I *really* want to spend on this? Which is the better use of my time—giving these existing books the best shot I can, or focusing on the future with new projects? I mean, I can try to do both, but I also know my limitations.

To steal the overused emoticon from my last blog post: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

My tentative plan is to get The Edge of the Sphere back out there soon-ish, but also focus on the new project I've been outlining and work on that. The other books will be relegated to the backburner for now, but I guess if I get into a writing slump with the new project, I can work on rereleasing the old stuff. As far as writing the third book of the Skies trilogy goes, I really don't know. It's not the priority now, but who knows, I may get excited over the idea again. At least it looks like I'll be keeping busy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

So, Now What?

Since last checking in, the world seems a little bit less on fire, but not significantly so. Throughout the whole lockdown, I saw a lot of authors and fellow writing buddies posting on social media about how they didn't feel like writing AT. ALL, and dude, I totally get that. Trust me, I do. And even though we all have a whole laundry list of valid reasons for not being able to be creative and productive, that didn't save us from the shame spirals.

People have also been talking about "the new normal" and what that's going to look like. Considering how much is still up in the air, I think the answer is pretty much: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But even though a lot of things still suck right now, and I wouldn't say life is much less stressful than it was a month ago, maybe some of us are starting to adjust to the world in its current state.

I am still playing the hell out of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and it continues to be both the escape I need and just a plain ol' GOOD piece of fiction on its own. After poking around the fandom a bit, I started writing some fanfic. Then I wrote some more. For a while there, I was in a pretty good writing routine, for once. Which then led me to it time to start applying this creative burst to my own original projects?

The answer: still ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. And then that leads into the next obvious question, what should I write? I haven't touched Sonata for Springtime since last September or so, and I already have the first third done, so that was a possibility. I've had a dystopian romance mentally plotted out for a couple years, and I'd planned on that being my next project following Hunting Astrid, but I think it's understandable that I am NOT in the mood for dystopia right now. And there's another old project/idea I thought about revisiting, which I'll eventually dedicate a blog post to, but I'm not 100% sold on it yet.

So, I thought about what's been making me so happy about and motivated to write FE3H fanfic. Although Hunting Astrid is in a totally different setting, I realized there were some similarities that made me excited about writing: fast-paced, plenty of action, and, above all, FUN. At this point, I definitely need my writing to be FUN right now. Sure, it can be fun to write darker stories, with all sorts of Very Important Feelings, and I still plan on doing that sometime in the future, but FUN is taking priority at the moment.

I could go on for another several paragraphs about the age-old "where do ideas come from?" but two days ago, I came up with the most basic of plots in the most basic of settings with three basic characters, and since then, I've been fleshing those out. I'm in no rush to start, especially since my free time is being devoted to a crocheted baby blanket that has a very firm deadline that is fast approaching, but the details are gradually surfacing, so I think I'll be good to go soon enough. I've blogged before about how I have a tendency to not write a whole lot during the summer months, but this is a new world, so who knows what will happen. But I have a plan, and plans are good. Plus, even if the writing goes slowly, I know I'm not alone.