There's an awesome new tag that's been making the rounds of my favorite blogs lately, courtesy of the very talented Deborah O'Carroll. (She's just won a flash fiction contest, BTW–check out her delightful entry here!) Deborah–along with Daley Downing and J.L. Mbewe–tagged me to participate in the Spring Cleaning Writer Tag Challenge.
This tag is all about celebrating spring by tidying up your works-in-progress and writing goals–and believe me, that's exactly what I needed right now. You may have noticed that the wonderful blog schedule I got going earlier this year lasted for all of two weeks. Well, that's about to change, starting with this post. I'm going to go back to posting three times a week (including Fearless Fiction podcasts on Wednesdays).
So, without further ado, I shall now dive into the challenge. *dons rubber gloves and goggles*
The Official Rules, from Deborah's site:
1. Link back to the person who tagged you
2. Share the picture
3. Answer the questions (naturally…) or even pick and choose which ones you answer
3.5. Tag 3 other writers and inform them that you tagged them (via comment/message/email or hey, even carrier-pigeon or smoke signal; I’m not picky)
1. Dust-Bunnies and Plot-Bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)
Ooh, new ones, that sounds like fun… *self-slap* NO!! Stop it! No new projects until you finish what's on your plate!!
OK, so at the beginning of this year, I had visions of finishing and publishing three books before July (so that I could take them along with me to Realm Makers). Then stuff happened, as I've mentioned elsewhere, so I got into a bit of a slump for about two months or so. As of recently, I'm officially back in the saddle…but at this point, getting three books ready in time for RM miiight be a little over-ambitious.
On the other hand, however, it could be fun to try and see how close to that goal I get.
It's entirely possible that I will only get one book completely done and released before July, and that's OK. I don't beat myself up about not reaching my self-imposed goals anymore. Also, Horseman will definitely be out before then, so that will allow me to promote at least one, probably two new books at RM even if I don't get an enormous amount of work done in the meantime.
So here are my most immanent writing goals, to be finished as soon as I can manage within reason.
The Strange Cases of Beaumont and Beasley (Beaumont and Beasley Book 4)
The draft of this is in progress, but the cover and synopsis need an overhaul. Plus, while this was originally going to be an anthology of four stories, there will technically be six when it's all said and done. A prequel Blackfire story called “The Janus Elixir” will be given away for free to my email subscribers (don't forget to sign up!) shortly before the release of Strange Cases, and it will also be included as one of the stories in the book. And I've added a new one as well, so I need to nail down a few of its minor details. B&B is never hard to write, so I don't expect it will take me long to finish the draft of this book.
The Thirteenth Knight (Blackfire, Book 1)
My original plan was to release the Blackfire series in “seasons” of shorter, novelette-length stories. But then Episode One mushroomed into a full-length book. So I think I'm better off writing Blackfire in the more traditional format of 50-60K novels that I use for Beaumont and Beasley. T13K explains how Malcolm and Melody first met and involves not only the story of King Arthur, but the tale of Irish national hero Fionn mac Cumhaill as well. I'm not very far into this one yet, but it's going well.
Deadwood (Crockett and Crane, Book 2)
There's no real deadline for this project; so I'm just having fun with it. The first few chapters are available to read now on Wattpad–but make sure you've read Horseman first! New installments are released every Tuesday. In time, I'd like to upload chapters on Thursdays as well, but I'm not quite ready for that yet.
Also, remember when I promised I wouldn't revise my future plans for the Beaumont and Beasley series again? And remember how you didn't believe me? Well, you were right! Congratulations! There is no prize. But, this is actually good news. Bear with me.
The changes are because of that poor WIP called The Clawthorn Rose that I've been teasing since forever. First it was supposed to be a prequel to Beaumont and Beasley, separate from the main series. But its storylines are just too integral to B&B for me to take the chance of people not reading it because it's not actually one of the B&B books. So then, I reworked it so that it would be Beaumont and Beasley Book 9 (don't ask how; spoilers). However, I realized that this wouldn't work either. Readers will need to know some of the information in it fairly soon in order for certain plot elements in future books to make sense.
So now, The Clawthorn Rose is Book 5 of Beaumont and Beasley, and will be released next after Strange Cases. And it is SO EXCITING because…well, I can't blurt everything out now. Too early. But it is all outlined and firmly scheduled. I know I already said it wasn't going to change, but this time it's really not. I'm too enthusiastic about the final version of it to turn back now. Read on, and perhaps you'll stumble across a clue in this post to what you can expect from the book.
Because of this tweak to the line-up, I've had to re-shuffle the other books in the series a little. Here's the new list of future books, with a couple of titles withheld to prevent spoilers:
Book 4: The Strange Cases of Beaumont and Beasley
Book 5: The Clawthorn Rose
Book 6: The Mirror of Rorrim
Book 7: The Wreck of the Jolly Roger
Book 8: TBA
Book 9: The Thirty-Nine Thieves
Book 10: TBA
I'll be updating the information across the rest of the site to reflect these changes within the next few days. I also have big plans for the Beaumont and Beasley Case Files and a range of Crockett and Crane short stories, but I'll wait to divulge more about those.
So, to sum up, my current writing goals are the next B&B, C&C, and Blackfire books, which I am going to try to complete within the next couple of months. We shall see whether or not that actually happens.
2. What Stage Are You At? Expound!
See the list of questions at the end of this post for all the options I was given to choose from in my answer. I'm going with…
Painting the walls in colorful hues
Yes, most of what I'm doing these days is just plain writing. Which is good, because that's the most fun part. It's been a while since I've been able to just let my creative brain run wild, and I'm enjoying it immensely.
Also, believe it or not, I'm actually giving dictation a try these days…which is weird. I'm not used to it yet (and I'm not using it to write much of this post, in case you were wondering), but I think it's a useful skill to have under my belt. One convenient part of it is being able to “write” with a little digital recorder I carry around with me. I just plug it into the computer and transcribe the recordings into text when I'm done, with a fairly impressive rate of accuracy. It's probably the most portable writing device I've ever used. But I'm not sure my brain will ever completely adjust to expressing my stories through speech instead of typing. I'm going to keep practicing in the hope that it will, so that I can do both.
This isn't really writing, but it's connected to the whole “painting” concept, so I'm going to mention it anyway: I've been getting back into artwork these days. I'm practicing by drawing my characters and re-creating scenes from my stories, and I'm actually quite pleased with the results so far. I'll probably share some sketches on Instagram soon, once I get them finished.
3. Treasure From the Back of the Closet (share one to three snippets you love!)
First off, here's a snippet from the “framing story” of Strange Cases, which ties together the anthology. This part of the book is still in the early stages, and may change significantly before the final draft, but I like how it's going so far. I got a mental image of Cordelia in a bar, for some reason. Don't ask me why.
“A cup of tea, please; if you have any.”
The satyr behind the bar blinked in surprise. “Begging your pardon, miss, but you look as if you could do with something a bit stronger.”
Cordelia sighed. “At a time like this, I actually find tea to be more helpful.”
He shrugged. “Coming right up.”
“Eyyyyy,” the centaur standing next to Cordelia chimed in. She nodded vigorously and gave Cordelia a broad grin. “I know who you are now.” She began making dramatic hand gestures. “You're the lady…with the guy…with all the hair.” She wiggled her fingers around her face, apparently trying to mime fur.
“Er…” Cordelia almost burst out laughing. “Well, I suppose that description is…accurate.” Her expression darkened. “Or at least it would be, if the ‘guy with all the hair' was still around.”
“He left you, then?” The centaur gave an angry snort. “Stallions. They're all the same.”
“He isn't a stallion. He's a Beast.”
“Must be,” said the satyr emphatically, “to abandon you like this.”
“No, that's not what I mean, he's…” Cordelia gave up and slumped her shoulders. “Never mind.”
The centaur's face turned grave. “Wait. You said you just came from a funeral, didn't you? Was it…was it his funeral?”
This snippet is, of course, notable because it features the first female centaur character in the B&B series with a speaking role. Pretty unremarkable otherwise.
Next up, here's a snatch from Chapter 1 of The Thirteenth Knight. The book is written in a combination of first-person chapters narrated by Malcolm, and third-person sections from other points of view. Chapter 1 is told from Melody's POV, and features her robbing the Talesend Museum of History with the help of a motley crew of magical creatures. This particular snippet describes Saburo, a kitsune who is the first Japanese character to feature in the Afterverse.
Saburo wasn't human. Given that Melody was not one of those people who stubbornly refused to believe that magic and magical creatures were nonexistent, humanity was not a requirement to join her criminal escapades. Saburo could pass as human fairly easily if he wore a wide-brimmed hat and a long coat–as he was now. The hat concealed the fact that he possessed the ears of a fox. The coat hid his three fox's tails, each of which marked a century of his life. At three hundred years of age, Saburo was the equivalent of a 30-year-old man in his general appearance. Few kitsunes lived long enough to grow more than nine tails–though there were rumors of thousand-year-old members of the species who had managed to grow a tenth.
Saburo is one of those side characters who just came along out of the blue, and I'm excited about doing more with him as the story progresses.
And finally, here's a snippet from the next chapter of Deadwood, in which the past and future of the Afterverse collide…
I looked at Julio. “Someday, I'd like to hear the story about that dark time you mentioned.”
He half-smiled. “Perhaps. It is a story of thorns, roses, monsters, and the worst mistake I have ever made.” He paused. “Oh, and also a white rabbit. I nearly forgot about him.”
A memory stirred in my brain. “Wait…a white rabbit?”
I tried to focus on the faded recollection, but it drifted away like thistledown on the breeze. “Oh, never mind. Just thought it sounded familiar, is all.”
3.5. Bonus: Do Some Actual Spring Cleaning of Your Writer Self! (And share a picture!)
OK, so technically all I did was move everything cluttering up my desktop into the folder called “Desktop Scrap 2,” which is the digital equivalent of sweeping the dirt under the rug…but hey, at least it looks better than it did.
Sorry this got so long! I hope you found it entertaining. I'm tagging Jenelle Schmidt, E.B. Dawson, and Hannah Heath. And you've probably already been tagged multiple times, so I apologize. Here's a list of the questions so you can easily copy and paste them.
1. Dust-bunnies and Plot-bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)
2. Which Stage Are You At? Expound!
a. Remodeling layouts (planning the story)
b. Painting the walls in colorful hues (writing)
c. Polishing the windows and scrubbing the floors and putting flowers in vases (editing)
d. Blueprints (not to the cleaning or remodeling yet… just drawing up plans for the very beginning inklings of a story)
e. Some combination of those things (cleaning out a closet)
3. Treasure From the Back of the Closet (Share one to three snippets you love!)
3.5. Bonus: Do Some Actual Spring Cleaning of Your Writer Self! (And share a picture!)
Have a great week, everyone!