Attack of the Writer’s Brain!

The cats are for my mental benefit; they’re just a bonus for the rest of you. This pic was taken in early November. That’s the semi-shredded remains of the Christmas tree box they’re nested on. It will be stored in the garage from now on, or at least until we pick up some appropriately sized plastic bins to store the tree in.

As for the tree. It is up and lit, but I’ve only got a smattering of ornaments on it so far. I have yet to send out the first Christmas card.

Meanwhile, on to the writer brain attack. My mind has terrible timing. Some scene ideas I have for the next story arc of Waves of Darkness decided to unfold in overdrive this morning when I was supposed to be getting ready for work. Good but not good. Reason? My body either goes stationary or into pacing mode when this happens, and I’m unable to get anything else accomplished.

Anywho, I will share a few vagaries concerning this story arc. While the first story arc dealt with the Sisters of Power, this one concerns the Daughters of the Dragon, and ultimately with the Dragon, himself. I plan to take 5 to 7 books to tell this story. These will probably be the final books in Waves of Darkness. I don’t have any plans for a third story arc at this time.

I plan to have Viktor make more inland excursions during his cat-and-mouse game with the Dragon. Gonna be fun to see how Belladonna deals with that.

I also have some tension planned for Viktor and Hezikiah concerning Brianna. That was the scenario trying to flesh out this morning, and I’m getting really excited about it just writing this post.

Okay, I’m going to hush about that now. Otherwise I may reveal too much before publication. I’m that excited.

The struggle to get an agent to represent the earlier books in the series continues. Had a very pleasant rejection letter from an agent who was interested but doesn’t have the clout in the industry to sell previously published works. She did ask that I keep her in mind if I have anything similar which has not been published. I replied I would query her for book 8 if I haven’t found representation by then.

That may be the route I have to go to get the first 7 books back on the market: get readers hooked on Viktor’s new story line and hungry for his back story. This means book 8 will need to be spectacular. I believe I can provide that.

Transition

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Wally and Louie hope in vain for a faucet drip.

Changes and adjustments have been made and are being made… and will be made for probably the next few months.

The past two weekends have been taken up with relocating, packing, and unpacking. Stairs are involved. 11 hour shifts have prohibited any progress during weekdays. My office is almost like I want it; just a few more things to bring up from the garage and unpack.

I also finally got around to fluffing the Christmas tree to prep it for decorating. Usually the silly thing is fully lit and decorated by Thanksgiving weekend. That didn’t happen this year for obvious reasons.

The cats are tickled with the new place; although for the first week it was as if we only had the two older boys. The gray babies stayed hidden for the most part. They’ve calmed down now, though.

I’d post more news, but I’m beat right now. Plus, I have to go into work an hour earlier than usual tomorrow morning for some unknown reason. That means I have to get up around 2 am. I am at least half the distance to my job that I was, though.

My biggest non-move related accomplishment today was getting my Christmas cards done and ready for pick up tomorrow.

Mystery Revealed and Progress

Okay, last weekend’s mysterious time sensitive preemptor of my activities was house hunting. My husband and I have been searching for a place to call our forever home off and on. We’ve finally been given information which would make the idea of owning our own home more than just a pipe dream for if we win one of the various lotteries.

We spotted a place last weekend two days after it was listed which would have met most of our needs and was in our price range, so we put in an offer for it. The first part of last week was spent waiting to hear back from the seller.

We didn’t get it. Either one of the other bids was better, or just got made before ours.

So, the search continues; but there’s no pressing urgency.

This weekend, I’ve made good progress on the cover art for Maelstrom of Fate despite getting sucked into reading the archives of the web comic Grrl Power by Dave Barrack. Like I didn’t follow enough web comics already. Thanks, Tanarian… this one is all your fault for getting me hooked on it.

I’ve started writing episode 25 for The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe. I’ve mapped out most of the plot points for season three. I realize I may have already told you this, but I wanted to be sure.

Meanwhile, a cat for your viewing pleasure.

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Louie among the miniature fleet and the cat statues. He’s taken to sleeping above my head on my pillow this week.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Well, maybe that is an exaggeration.

First, allow me to apologize for not posting last weekend. There has been way too much going on the past two weeks.

Last weekend I was dealing with care for a loved one after an ER visit. Nothing deadly serious; just an abscess that couldn’t wait for an appointment to be drained. It has required daily cleaning and re-packing while it heals.

I have made good progress on The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe. I’m currently writing on episode 24 which will end season 2. I’ve got some ideas for season 3; I just need to plot out what order to attack them in.

I finally got a chance to get some painting in on the cover art for Maelstrom of Fate this afternoon. I’ve gotten both of the background elements in the upper corners done. Next up is the central portrait of Viktor, then finally the foreground element at the bottom.

I’m also currently sporting a slightly mauled right arm.

Cricket did NOT take well to being placed in a carrier for a trip to the vet. He’s been suffering from chronic , explosive diarrhea; meaning I’ve had to hunt for and clean up several puddles of poo every day. Because of this, he hasn’t been gaining any weight and is on the thin side of a healthy weight. Thankfully, no parasites were detected, although his intestinal bacterial balance was off.

They sent him home with a ten day regimen of antibiotics for him as well as de-wormer (for just in case) and ear mite treatment for all five cats.

Star will not be receiving the ear mite treatment.

She freaked when I gave her the de-wormer and turned into a tiny, demonic ball of razor-tipped fury every time we tried to catch her to treat her ears. For such a tiny thing, she’s all muscle and can jump up the wall nearly six feet. It’s not worth hurting her or her hurting us… and before anyone offer advice on how to safely catch her; we’ve tried several methods. she’s just too fast and too vicious. She goes thermo-nuclear.

For those of you unfamiliar with the size of a full-grown cat with some Tonkinese ancestry, perhaps this picture will give you some perspective (Star is 3 and the only member of her litter to exhibit this genetic trace).

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She’s the blue in the corner. The other two are Wally and Louie, my 9-year-olds, weighing in at about 15 pounds each. At a guess, I’d say Star weighs 6 pounds. (The pirate kitty painting is leaning in the corner because I don’t really have a place to hang it yet.)

That’s about all I have for now. Hopefully I can get the cover art done this coming weekend.

Oops, forgot about a current aggravation. XFinity OnDemand won’t let me watch last week’s episode of Deadliest Catch apparently because Discovery keeps re-airing it. Trouble is, they air it at times that are NEVER convenient for my work schedule. Every episode prior to last week’s has been available the day after the first airing. WTF?

Okay, other than the new fridge to replace the one we have to defrost at least twice a week (it’s 11 years old) getting delivered sometime this afternoon, that’s all I have. Time to leave for work now. see ya next Sunday or Monday.

Video Reading from The Daedalus Enigma

Yet another busy weekend; not so much on the writing and book production front, but productive nonetheless. We replaced the carpet in the cats’ room with vinyl tile: easier to clean. (Cricket-of-Boundless-Energy has earned the nickname “Spootz”.)

The only progress I’ve made on the cover art for Maelstrom of Fate has been to mask off the borders on the canvas board I have for the painting.

The only other accomplishments this weekend have been to record and edit this week’s video reading and to complete a hidden object game and bonus game I started last weekend.

Without further ado, here is this week’s reading selection: the Once Upon a Tide… from The Daedalus Enigma, Sirens at War.

Lotsa Kinda Important Stuff!

First: THE BANNER HAS ARRIVED! This is my first ever professionally created signage for promotion of my books.

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I am extremely happy with how it turned out (and the height of the stand, which didn’t look that tall on the Vistaprint website, but was the only style available for this size vertical banner).

The manuscript for Maelstrom of Fate is complete with the exception of the addition of the last two red shirt winners. That drawing will be held at LibertyCon at the end of June. The current word count is 77,251… subject to change upon revisions and edits, of course. For instance, MS Word tends to count the asterisks I put between scene breaks (which are converted to little skull and crossbones in the finished books) as words.

I hope to get started on the painting for the cover this Memorial Day weekend. I already have the concept and image layout in my head.

There will be a new video reading from Hell’s Dodo later this weekend.

I am now fully stocked with 10 full sets of books for LibertyCon; I also have a fresh batch of author cards to give out.

Okay, I think that covers everything for now. If I think of something else, I’ll let you know.

Here’s a random pic of Star to send this off. (Louie is photobombing in the back.)

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Reading 11 is up

I’ve posted the 11th reading video.

I still haven’t done the photos for the summer book promo. I simply haven’t had time to scout the location I want to use or to prepare some of the props. I would have had time last weekend, except for the overabundant rain we got… all weekend.

This weekend was taken up with errands and the cleaning of the cats’ room.

Naturally, these activities also interfered with getting any typing done on Maelstrom of Fate.

So, here’s a pic of the cats to make up for it. (Okay, it’s just Wally, Tribble, and Louie. Star and Cricket wouldn’t stay still.)

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Update thingie

The release process for The Daedalus Enigma has been… interestingly different.

Only after several attempts on various computers using various OSs/browsers was my publisher able to get Barnes and Noble’s site to upload the ebook.

Now it is the Library of Congress’ turn to be difficult. We are still waiting for an ISBN number for the print version.

This, of course means a further delay in adding a photo of the book to my ongoing Take a Pirate Home for Christmas campaign. I realize I could print out a copy of the book cover on card stock and put some Christmas and pirate props with it for the photo, but I don’t think it would mesh as well with the other photos in the campaign, since they have physical books featured in them.

I keep telling myself, “Patience, Grasshopper.”

In other updates, I am a few pages into chapter 30 of Maelstrom of Fate and approaching the grand finale. I’m on the last two pages of my plot point notes. Not to worry though, there will be at least one more book in the series, if not a full secondary series; however, it will not be started on immediately after finishing Maelstrom. 

I have plans to scribe some more episodes of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe than what I currently have drafted. (Which reminds me, I need to get in touch with my beta readers.)

I also intend to start serious research for my planned dystopic novel, There Is No Arizona. I have to get that book written before many of the premises of it become reality 60 years earlier than the story’s time frame. I have some convention friends who are scientists either specializing in some of the subject matter I plan to touch upon, or who can put me in contact with the appropriate experts.  

Finally, since I feel the three younger cats are now old enough to not have to worry about them hanging themselves in the pre-lit tree, I went ahead and put the thing up today to get them used to it and to see what sort of damage they may wreak. The past two years we’ve put up a live tree. The bottom branches were too dense for the cats to climb up into them. So far, so good with the artificial tree.

 

Red Shirt Contest, Shopping, and Update

AHOY! Announcing the Maelstrom of Fate Red Shirt Contest! I have four Royal Marines to kill off, and I need names for them. Those interested in entering please comment on this post here, anywhere you see it shared on Facebook, or on Plurk. Include your first and LAST name in the comment: the characters/victims are male and Colonial era military, so they will only be addressed by their last names. That being said, any gender may enter. The winners will acknowledged in the forward of the book, and I will announce the names on this blog in October.

This Red Shirt Contest will run from September 5-30, 2016.

On to the shopping: we made a nice haul at a community yard sale event on Montlake/Mowbrey mountain this weekend. We got a very nice coffee table and end table set for $60, an elephant lamp (that one was from a sale on Big Ridge), nautical bookends, a Civil War commemorative sculpture with clock, a pewter leaf-shaped candy dish, a copy of Where Is Joe Merchant by Jimmy Buffett, and a nifty signed copper and wood sculpture of some sort of boiler tank by Kenneth Tatyrek.

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All the little valves turn, too.

Another thing I want to share is a pic of the artwork I bought back in July at the art show at LibertyCon.

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The Dread Pirate Kitties by Jim Humble

Finally, the update: I have started work on the cover art for The Daedalus Enigma. It is acrylic on watercolor canvas board, 12×18 (even though the board is 14×18: I am working the size of area which can be reduced after scanning by 75% to get the 6×9 book cover size; painting the art larger allows me to get better detail). So far, I just have the background colors painted. When wet, acrylic works similar to watercolor, but it dries much faster and does not bleed if you paint another color over it. I’m seriously considering omitting the pig from the one scene for two reasons: placement would mean not depicting the entire animal, and I’m not sure I could really do it justice. I fear it would be a distraction to the overall image.

As I’ve stated before, it has been years since I’ve worked with acrylics. In fact, the last time I did, I was doing piece work painting wooden cut-outs for a craft show dealer. That job ended when her pattern cutter made her think I was copying her designs and selling them for myself. His family and my husband had a bad history from well before I ever met my husband, and I think this might have been his motivation. Whatever. I do NOT operate like that…ever.

I finished reading Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson last night. Damn, he makes me feel lazy about my research. I plan on adding the next book in this series, Thieves’ Quarry to my TBR pile soon. He also has two more books in the series: A Plunder of Souls, and Dead Man’s Reach. I highly recommend these books to anyone who enjoys my Waves of Darkness series. They are set a decade earlier than my series in 1760s Boston. I really think you would enjoy reading about the adventures of Ethan Kaille.

Oh, and some more book sales would be nice (shameless begging here). I was just shy of the pay-out limit for second quarter royalties; so they were carried over to the third quarter report. C’mon guys, I wouldn’t mind getting paid. (Oddly, all my second quarter sales were print books: not one ebook on the report. Of course, some distributors are notorious for late reporting of sales to the publisher.)

That pretty much covers it for now. I do plan on running a few smaller contests leading up to the release date for The Daedalus Enigma. Stay tuned in for updates on those.