Thanks to Fall being around the corner, my energy is at top level, so I get to amp up my work load again. The main goal is to write like hell until late Spring when the temps start rising again, so I’m less frustrated during forced downtime. After I finish Kevin’s synopsis, I’ll be switching back and forth between YA wips and novellas. Juggling two pseudonyms is definitely gonna be an experience. Errands have wiped me out, so this’ll have to do it for now.
If you follow me on twitter, you’ve probably seen my health updates for when I’m coming out of Fibro pain flares or energy dives from Anemia. Lately, I’ve been more mistaken than right about oncoming good days. It’s annoying and feels like I’m ‘crying wolf’ about when to expect more output from me, but I’ve realized the reason is that I don’t know my body anymore. Some older limitations from before I had gained weight are returning, but I have longer endurance in activities I was ready to give up on a year ago. The upticks in my strength and energy are so random that I mess up planning my work schedule or attending events because the old signals for a streak of generous-spoons days turns out to be wrong, and it’s just a half-day energy boost.
There is good news. Since flares are triggered by wherever fat is disappearing causing nerve pain and new aches over bones which suddenly have less padding to protect them, they’ve decreased in intensity around my hands, hips, and ankles because there’s not that much excess fat left in those areas. Those flares were the worst and made concentrating on writing and editing nearly impossible. I swear my body has more drama than a Shonda Rhimes show.
Edits for Kevin are coming along, and I’m still aiming for a finish date this month. There are some scenes where I wonder if my 2016 election anxiety is coming through too much, so I’m gonna reread those bits today. Alrighty, I’m getting back to work and hoping to update more frequently.
Oh God, there’s finally a light at the end of Revisions Tunnel. It probably wouldn’t have been so hellish if my back hadn’t gone out on me and then gotten exasperated by sitting shotgun on an eleven hour road trip to Indiana. These last two months have been awful painwise, but binging sports anime on Crunchyroll and eating quite a lot of cupcakes and ice cream for meals pulled me through it. It was nostalgic revising Kevin while convalescing because Sebastian was also a story completed during months trapped in bed. The familiar anger at my body for it being the reason why I couldn’t get more done, feeling comforted by the glare of my laptop screen as I managed a few lines of words or fixes. I could have lived without reliving those memories, but maybe that’s why I could bounce back quickly. This happens so many times that it’s almost normal to me now.
My neck does actually feel like that sometimes.
Unfortunately, pain doesn’t bring clarity. The set-up of Kevin’s ending has bugged the shit out of me because of too many similarities with Sebastian’s ending, and unless I figured out how the damn thing was supposed to play out, fixing other parts affected by that scene would be meaningless. Then this weekend came, I was in a lot less pain, and the new set-up just about walked in front of me in a trench coat and flashed me. So you’re gonna see less of me on Twitter for a while, and the soft deadline for Kevin’s edits to be finished is mid-June. Hard deadline is July. You’ll probably see another progress report in about two weeks, so I’ll have more of a handle on where I’m at in editing and can figure out a new schedule for working on my YA novels. *Sigh* My kingdom for a cyborg body that has a built-in frappuccino machine that provides drinks while I write.
This post is later than planned because I had to chase down the garbage truck dude and then take my dog out because he was deeply offended at being left behind.
So today, Witches For Hire, the first in the Odd Jobs series, is stepping out into the world.
This is a weird release for me because it represents the sliver of my brain dealing with the bitterness and loss of the so-called ‘right path.’ I haven’t always had the healthiest coping mechanisms for this, and my characters(Especially Jeremy) are worse. Digging yourself out of that hole to find a light of some hope can be hard as hell, but Witches For Hire is the start of that. Each following book will be another step toward more trust shared among the main characters and acceptance of pasts that they can’t change leading to unbreakable bonds. So take your pick out of the links here:
Yes, my friends and I were this corny, and it was nice.
Banshee is a combination of wish fulfillment of what I wanted while binging on several Urban Fantasy series over the years and a thank you to the bounty of strong female friends who surrounded me as a teen. In my mind back then, a group of girls similarly raised by parents who couldn’t be bothered by gender restrictions was normal. As I got older and my social circle expanded, I met a lot of women whose nerdy or sports’ endeavors got squashed at young ages by family and friends because ‘that’s not what girls were supposed to do’. I hate that those stories still happen, and maybe sharing tales of the confidence building relationships that made me immune to a lot of bullshit women get as adults is a little something that I can do, just y’know, with ghosts, monster hunting, and two girls falling in love for the first time.
Lies! You are a standalone.
A funny thing about most of my adult themed stories, they usually bombard me with sequels as soon as I figure out half of the plot. The YA portion of my brain is the opposite. I come up with numerous one-offs and am fine to go about my day after hitting the end. This isn’t written in stone, but I don’t want to get anyone’s expectations up. The books themselves will cross into several genres like fantasy, thriller, horror, scifi, and contemporary. No similar promises of happy endings all the time like books under Sam Argent, but you can probably expect them in stories where there is an obvious romantic subplot.
Which leads me to The Strongest Sword. It’s pretty much a Mortal Kombat tournament for the throne in another world, but funny and not super depressing. Due to strange circumstances of birth, my leading man, Ryan, is kidnapped from the Earth Realm to cast his vote for a fighter. His half human weak self is absolutely not supposed to participate. Since I’m evil, that’s totally going to happen, and I’m currently working on the training section in the first third of the book. Watching sports shows like Haikyuu have been a big help as far as learning to build a good team dynamic and creating anticipation for matches.
My Christmas serial killer book, Santa Kills, got pushed back because Banshee forced its way to the front, and Winter feels very meh for me this year. I think when Spring rolls through, the spark will be back.
Alrighty then, I’ll see you guys soon with Part 3 focusing on the f/f YA urban fantasy that stole my heart.
My brain is a pitiful creature pulled in a dozen directions at once, and I’m finally ready to give one of them a true voice alongside Sam Argent. So today, I’m introducing you to Tamia Benson. There aren’t a bunch of secret nerdy references buried in this pseudonym, but there is a simple statement; a black woman wrote this book. Due to writing and my health, I’m usually watching on the sidelines when drama breaks out in the YA world. There were more than a few times when I wanted to deplete my spoons to rant on for days, and more than a few times when writing was the only thing that stopped me from becoming discouraged about entering that type of environment. Hell, writing sex scenes was less daunting than just being reminded of the statistics constantly working against POC in the YA market. So I guess this where having a life of shitty luck comes in. I’ve been through a lot, both physically and mentally, and if anyone is dumb enough to stand in my way, God help that poor soul.
I would only run a long distance if zombies were after me, but having Witches For Hire ready for pre-order feels like I’m walking up to a marathon start line. I’ve run it once with Sebastian, but the second time around is just as nerve-wracking. Despite the constant butterflies in my stomach, succeeding at making it to this point again is worth the stress. My crappy health and my doubts couldn’t stop me, so there will be a third and a fourth marathon.
As for the very late YA books update, I’ve divided it into three parts. The first part will cover my pseudonym and goals, the second will address the standalones that are planned, and then the third will be about the Banshee series. My energy levels took a big hit last month(slowly improving thanks to a shit load of vitamins and supplements), so shorter blog posts will be the norm for a while.
Today’s post is another progress report, folks! Family of Lies – Kevin is about 2 1/2 chapters from the end, so it feels good to be this far in a novel again. There were some tricky spots that I worked out during NaNo, but I got through them. This has signaled other wips to pelt me in the head like I just pissed off Kenshiro.
The Orwells are talking the most as usual, so here are plot summaries of what’s to come and how the stories can be read(these are first drafts so they are subject to change frequently, and please forgive the ugly writing):
Sebastian – https://samargent.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/the-sound-of-a-thousand-squees/ (I’m being lazy here)
Kevin – Kevin Orwell gets fed up with his family and wins an apprenticeship to Larnlyon’s most famous blacksmith, Luke. On his way to meet the master blacksmith, Kevin finds some relief in the bushes with a decent looking fellow who needs more practice. This fellow of course turns out to be the blacksmith who has a fuck once and never speak to you again policy, so working together becomes awkward. Despite Luke’s restrictions on their companionship, they grow closer while preventing trouble that Kevin’s family causes and violently discouraging minions of Luke’s former guardian sent to bring the blacksmith back into the illegal weapons’ business.
James – A year after his brother’s death, James Orwell still blames himself for being unable to prevent it. He encouraged his brother to follow his dreams of being a soldier, and he can’t sit at home waiting for another sibling to make the same mistake. He ventures out on his own, drinking from tavern to tavern and trying to dodge his younger siblings trailing his every move. The last thing he needs are knights-in-training, Eliana and and Alton accusing him of a robbery he drunkenly slept through, or them insisting on traveling with him once his innocence is proved because he attracts trouble.
Alice – Alice Orwell has spent years watching her siblings draw an invisible line between good and bad, not understanding why she should care about separating the two. Her only way of blending in with normal people has been imitating those around her or lying about the thoughts in her head. That feeling of being different has grown stronger over the years, and drinking away her worries leads to waking up next to the most boring man she’s ever met and a marriage ring on her finger. Determined to scare away her unwanted husband, Mernon, Alice displays her true monstrous self. But Mernon doesn’t flinch from her willingness to kill, instead, he removes his own mask.
Rebecca – Selling herbs and robbing the occasional bandit at swordpoint provides Rebecca with a pleasant amount of money, but her days seem monotonous. She attends a court ball to see if pick-pocketing rich people will give her excitement, but a masked bandit appears to rob everyone before she can. Furthermore, the bandit smells familiar enough for Rebecca to follow the thief. Coming face to face with the girl, Emily, whom she helped rescue from a murderous aunt was the last thing she expected. Nor did she expect for Emily to advance her sword technique so much that they’re now equals. Once they finally declare a draw, Emily explains that disrupting the ball was her plan falling into place to take down her aunt for good. Rebecca isn’t one for honorable causes, but she’s had a soft spot for Emily since they first met, and her sword’s always ready for more enemies.
Demetrius – Demetrius Orwell finally did the worst thing imaginable; he performed a good deed. After rescuing a young boy’s sister from slavers, the pirate crew the siblings sail with mistake him for a damn slaver and kidnap him. Now he’s stuck on a rotting ship and instead of an apology when his role in the ordeal is made clear, the pirate captain, Coramis, says it was Demetrius’s own fault for being so suspicious. To make matters worse, Demetrius accidentally revealing his gift with languages is exactly what the crew needs to hunt down the other slavers.
Kraven – There’s one thing about being boring that Kraven Orwell has always liked; his parents forget about him. But with more of his siblings leaving the house, that attention has strayed his way. When his father suggests a trip to the City of Spies, he’s suspicious but easily wooed by the beautiful buildings carved into cliffs and lavish meals his father kindly pays for. Which should have alerted him to a plot, but he wakes in their expensive inn room with no money, no identification papers, and only a note that reads, “I have no boring children, and I will prove it. Also, don’t die or your mother will kill me.”
Afraid of what other surprises his father has for him, Kraven flees the inn and takes a translating job to pay his way off the island. Before the job is finished, his employer is poisoned, and Kraven finds out that he’s been decoding spy messages the whole time. Now spies all over the city are hunting him, and no one will believe that he’s just a boring man who grew up in the middle of a fucking forest.
Diana – Competing with the Pleasure Guild’s brews and concoctions to induce the greatest sexual experience has filled Diana Orwell’s purse with gold and introduced her to one of the Guild’s higher ups, Selene. Every encounter between them is wrought with desire, and when they do finally test their wares on each other, Diana admits defeat after being brought to her knees by Selene’s skills. Months pass between their next meetings, but when their bodies touch again it’s as if they’ve only been parted by seconds. And Selene becomes more than her competition. In the worst moment of Diana’s life, Selene is there to comfort her. When Selene later offers Diana an official courtship by revealing her true role within the Pleasure Guild as their executioner when harm comes to one of their members, Diana ends their relationship. Years pass, and Diana has to face the same secret in her own family. She sucks up her pride and seeks out Selene’s help no matter what the price will be.
Pratchett – Tired of coming second to Demetrius because his brother has more criminal experience in years, Pratchett Orwell decides the best way to set himself apart is to do what no one, not even his parents have done; break out of the most protected prison in the world. He also has to do it within his first day there or he gets the fun memory of being flayed. His escape almost goes perfectly, but he’s bitten by a prisoner with a mating instinct. Now connected by their souls, Pratchett can’t leave the man’s side until the mating is properly finished or they both pass out. Pratchett manages to drag him and the bastard to safety, but his new buddy won’t reveal how to undo the mating. In order to run off on some vendetta to kill everyone involved with destroying his life, the mysterious prisoner needs the tether to Pratchett’s mind to block the memories of his endless torture.
Cecilia – Haven’t figured out when the story is taking place yet, and this one needs the most plotting.
Ophelia – Being a seer hasn’t been easy what with the constant worrying about people wanting to cut her eyes out, but endangering her life is worth removing her most painful vision. In the magic-blighted land of Jesaro, an auction of the most forbidden objects will take place in two weeks, and one of them is powerful enough to banish the vision from her mind. Unfortunately, neither she nor anyone in her family has the money to buy it, so she has to steal it from the many assassins guarding it.
What to definitely read in order are Kevin, Alice, Rebecca, Demetrius, Kraven, Diana, and then Pratchett. Again, these are ugly summaries that aren’t spruced up because my brain is fried from writing at least 2k a day. A Strongest Sword update will come at the end of the week though.
Another double post because if I put off this announcement for happier times, that may be a depressingly long way off. Soooo drumroll, trumpet blares, and a smoke bomb for extra pizzazz! Here’s the cover(by Catt Ford) for Witches For Hire that has a publishing date set for April 4, 2017!