Goals: December 2017

November Nanowrimo went really well. Tamara and I finished our draft (81K) of The Seventh Symphony in two weeks, making a new record for us. With all these drafts in my hands, it looks like December and January will be months of revisions, my favorite part of writing.

In November my goals were:

  1. WRITE THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY first draft with Tamara-CHECK! We did it easily. Now the draft will stew while we revise the earlier book, The Eighth Octave, to match any changes needed due to the new branch of the story.
  2. WRITE NEW BOOK IDEA, possibly titled Myra Justice-CHECK! I managed to get in about 8000 words on this, two chapters or so.
  3. Odds & Ends-CHECK! I got through a big push on the Alaska Essays editing project, getting through line edits. Now I’m heading into the photo editing part of the project, a whole new kind of problem solving for me.

December Goals:

  1. RIVER RUNNING REVISION with Tamara- We wrote Book Two in our Indigo Elements series in October. Now we need to revise Book One to mesh with it. We have a list of 26 items to fix or change, ranging from smaller, one sentence matters to larger, stickier ones such as magic system clarifications.
  2. LIGHT & SHADOW REVISION- I plan to take the second half of the month to work on Light & Shadow. I have not read it or looked at it in a few months, after doing a big revision and rewrite.
  3. WRITE NEW BOOK IDEA- I’m going to continue drafting this new idea, though again, I don’t expect to get very far.
  4. ALASKA ESSAYS- I’m going to make a big push on the organizational edit for the Alaska Essays volume I am “producing.” It’s a diverse project that involves co-ordinating various writers, editors, and contributors. I’m glad for my work with Flashdogs that helped prepare me for this kind of project!

Another cover treat. Here’s a sample cover I made for The Eighth Octave (just for fun):

teo3

 

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Goals : November 2017

October proved to be an excellent writing month, as Tamara and I plunged into a Nanowrimo-before-Nano in order to draft the sequel to River Running in one month. After an early rocky patch, we pulled it off, and happily we now hold an 82,000-word draft of Wind Winging in our blistered hands.

Up next, we face the real National Novel Writing Month, during which we intend to write the sequel to The Eighth Octave. This book is titled The Seventh Symphony, and we are well prepared with an epic 19-page outline.

In other news, we have had some bites for River Running and The Eighth Octave from small presses. We are still deliberating about what the best direction will be for these two book-babies and their associated sequels, but expect some news someday in the near-ish future.

My October goals were:

  1. FINISH LIGHT & SHADOW rewrite/revision- CHECK! This was easy, as expected. Light & Shadow is now marinating until December, when it will come back into the line up for read-through and revision before being sent out for line edits.
  2. WRITE STONE SPEAKING first draft with Tamara. CHECK! We ended up renaming the book Wind Winging during the drafting process. 

My November goals will be:

  1. WRITE THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY first draft with Tamara- We plan to have a draft by Thanksgiving Day, ambitious women that we are.
  2. WRITE NEW BOOK IDEA, possibly titled Myra Justice- I don’t expect to have much time for this, but I’d like to at least get down a chapter or two. I have an outline, a few images, and an idea vaguely based on a (female) Thomas Cromwell-like character.
  3. Odds & Ends- I’m working on two related non-fiction editing projects having to do with rural life in Alaska, and Tamara and I are hoping to make some forward progress with the submissions for RR and TEO. Wish us luck!

And here’s a little treat for you–an attempt at a cover for River Running. This was just for fun. Eden Reign is a nom de plume Tamara and I made up to possibly use on our co-writes.

I’m always looking for ways to learn about photo-compositing in Photoshop. Can you guess what I worked on here?

RR1

Goals: October 2017

September was a strong and consistent month of writing for me. I’m nearly finished with my Light & Shadow rewrite and Tamara and I managed yet another small revision on The Eighth Octave after a revise & resubmit opportunity from one of the agents we pitched in New York.

In October Tamara and I have big plans to get a jump start on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, usually November) by writing our sequel to River Running, tentatively titled Stone Speaking. Can we write a whole book in a month, and then turn around and write a whole other book, the sequel to The Eighth Octave, tentatively titled The Seventh Symphony, in November? Two drafts in two months? Why not?

Last month my goals were:

  1. FINISH River Running AND The Eighth Octave REVISIONS and submit to requesting agents- CHECK. We are eagerly awaiting replies. We’ve had a few partial requests get bumped up to full MS requests, and we actually turned down an offer for publication that did not suit us last week. We hope for more news on our submissions this month.
  2. CONTINUE LIGHT & SHADOW rewrite/revision- CHECK I have only 2 chapters and an epilogue to go! I’ll finish the draft in October for sure.

 

October Goals:

  1. FINISH LIGHT & SHADOW rewrite/revision- Nearly there, this should be manageable.
  2. WRITE STONE SPEAKING first draft with Tamara. This will take up the bulk of my writing hours in October, but I look forward to the madness.

 

 

Goals : September 2017

Whew! What a whirlwind of a month August was. I experienced a highlight of my writing life when I went to NYC to meet my co-writer Tamara Shoemaker for the first but not last time, and we pitched our two co-written books to agents (with a cheering amount of interest!). The pitching was nerve-wracking, the conference was good, but the best thing was getting to meet Tamara face to face and enjoy four days in her company. It was a creative supercharge, and Tamara and I, after living like the (g)literati for four days, taking in Broadway shows and sipping prosecco at rooftop lounges, came home to a mad revision cycle on our books which have kept us occupied for hours a day since.

Needless to say, such excitement has befouled my August goals.

  1. FINISH LIGHT AND SHADOW REVISION- Nope, not even close. After the conference I had to shift my entire focus and all my time onto the books we needed to review for submission to our interested agents.
  2. FINISH MIDNIGHT OIL REVIEW/REVISION- Nope, see note to goal #1
  3. ATTEND WRITER’S DIGEST CONFERENCE AND PITCH THE EIGHTH OCTAVE!! CHECK! It was a blast and very successful, too.
  4. VARIOUS EDITING AND FORMATTING PROJECTS. CHECKI did keep on top of these. My favorite thing is formatting on an airplane. It’s  good activity to throw on the headphones and pass the time.

 

In September I shall:

  1. FINISH River Running AND The Eighth Octave REVISIONS and submit to requesting agents- This is sure to occupy most of my writing time.
  2. CONTINUE LIGHT & SHADOW rewrite/revision- I probably won’t finish, but I want to at least make some progress.
  3. And that’s it! Back to just a few goals so I don’t keep missing my CHECKS.

 

 

 

Interview by Mark A. King

Mark asked me some fun questions about Mage and Source and other various topics over on his blog. Read the full interview here: https://makingfiction.com/2017/07/23/mage-and-source/. Yu’ll get to see a few images ideas for Gante, as well as my soundtrack pics for the book’s opening scene.

Enjoy!

 

Goals: July 2017

Last month’s goals were:

  1. MAGE & SOURCE Final read through! CHECK-I’m currently waiting for the print proof to arrive in the mail.
  2. Prep LIGHT & SHADOW and THE EIGHTH OCTAVE and send to readers.CHECK-I’ll be sending L& S out to its first reader on Tuesday. 
  3. Formatting jobs CHECK-I formatted 5 books this month.
  4. BEGIN Tales of Blood & Light BOOK SIX revision. CHECK-I got through this, now I need to finish writing the book’s conclusion!
  5. Promote Mage & Source pre-order.  Check-did the requisite social media posts and some blog posts.

 

July Goals:

  1. PUBLISH MAGE & SOURCE The official date is July 21, 2017. You can pre-order here.
  2. WRITE Daughter of Fortune ending.
  3. WRITE something else-I’m going to get out one of my half-finished manuscripts and try to make some progress.
  4. CONTINUE to Promote Mage & Source pre-orderIf it isn’t on the list, it won’t get done.

Behind the Cover

I’ve never been one for following rote advice or rules. Like Laith, one of the narrators of Mage and Source, “Emily does what Emily wants,” and in the case of my Tales of Blood & Light covers, Emily wanted to make them herself, so she did, against the advice of just about everybody, everywhere.

That said, I’ve learned a lot by going the independent route (as usual), and I certainly beefed up my Photoshop skills, which were a bit rusty after a stint many years ago as a photo doctor in a psych lab in college. (Side note: back then I was editing images of Breyer horses and yearbook pictures for a study on prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces, in case you were curious.)

I always enjoy learning by doing, and working on my own covers has allowed me to do that.

While my favorite cover thus far is Sterling’s–all the pieces just fit together so well to get a striking image–there is a big “darling” in the Mage and Source cover that I wanted to share because I love it so much.

Here’s the Mage and Source cover:

ms

Take special note of the interesting background colors and textures, the iridescent greens, blues, and violets. Those colors came from an image of a very specific thing. Can you guess what?

In the series thus far, each cover’s dominant color has represented the aetherlight color of the narrator. In Mage and Source, I have two narrators, and thus I needed to represent two colors on the cover, neither completely overpowering the other.

I am a relentless hunter of interesting public domain images, and I finally found one that I thought would serve as a good background image for Laith and Elena’s colors. It was this one:

14917895643_1b73be9a4f_o

from the USGA Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab’s Flickr stream. Government science images make my nerdy heart happy.

This is an image of a bee’s wing. Specifically, it is the wing of a female Xylocopa carpenter bee from Thailand. It was so cool I had to use it on my cover!

The rest of the images were sourced from more mundane stock photograph sites. The bird of paradise flower image in the center represents a fictional night queen bloom.

You’ll have to read the book to see how the night queen bloom and the bee’s wings relate to the story!

You can pre-order Mage and Source here.

Add it on Goodreads here.