Double Your Sales

Alrighty, after exorcising some demons in the last post, on to the good news! Witches For Hire(heavily revised to a Georgia setting) has found a home at DSP Publications, which is an imprint for Dreamspinner’s stories that aren’t outright romance. No worries. There’s still humor, a long-term poly relationship developing in the background, and I tend not to go George Martin on my main characters.

WIP updates will come later this week.

Double Your Pleasure

Today will be a double post because I have a lot of catch-up to do. For several months there’s been an ongoing duel between my writing and my body. One of the casualties has been my online presence. There were grand announcements I wanted to make like Sebastian receiving an audio version or being translated into different languages. Instead, most days I just wrote ’til I passed out or marathoned Banshee while on forced bed rest.

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Oh how I miss you, Job.

Add in the stress of being out on submission, and I pretty much went mute. I kicked myself for being too physically/mentally exhausted to speak outside of writing fiction except for once. After the Orlando massacre, I was brimming with words. Unfortunately, most of them were the wrong ones. Sure I could give condolences to the families who lost loved ones and to the injured who after they healed would carry a part of that night with them forever. But for the people who contribute to the culture that instigated that shooting, all I had were dark thoughts that weren’t healthy for my soul or for those in the lgbt community who did know the right messages to send.

My rage has settled down and absorbed itself into the disappointment building since Trump became a serious presidential candidate. I thought I understood my country’s faults, but there is an ugliness under the surface that rivals Dorian Gray’s portrait. I don’t know what to do with that knowledge as a black bisexual woman or as a writer.

Adventures In Full-Time Writing

Expectations:

Every day will be a Willy Wonka wonderland of writing mixed with extravagant meals that I finally have the time to cook.

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Yeah, nope.

Reality:

So…much…pizza. At first, having all day to write is wondrous, and I’m all ‘Yay for all the awesome meals I’m gonna make like I’m a friggin Iron Chef’. But then days became monotonous routines of waking, eating, break, writing, break, sleep, writing.

After two months of this, I questioned whether I made the right decision and perhaps I should return to the temp job. Witches For Hire screwing up my writing schedule by demanding to be rewritten didn’t help my confidence either. Since I’ve gotten behind, cooking has taken a back seat unless it’s simple pasta dishes and baked seafood. I’m also on a first name basis with the workers at Thai and pizza places in my area. My joints cried uncle from the weight gain, so I started dancing again. A few weeks into intense booty shaking, I had less belly and more writing. It turns out that what I really needed was a hobby. When my first royalty check arrived, I bought some workout clothes, shoes, and drawing supplies because I figured, why not two hobbies? My daily routine is still wonky, but I don’t question my choice to go full-time anymore.

Lessons:

I somehow formed the mistaken belief that being able to write at all hours of the day meant quickly achieving the perfect ability to translate what’s in my head on to paper. Reading reminds me that no matter how many hours writers have to work, no one achieves perfection even when they create amazing story and characters. I also had to redefine what I considered personal writing failures. If I don’t write first thing in the morning, that’s okay. My writing schedule doesn’t have to be strict, and there’s still a mental need for days off.

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What I was probably turning into.

Writing:

My editing is still too slow, and that causes a traffic jam in upcoming wips. Witches For Hire rewrite is finished, and I’m 2/3 into its final edit. The Orwell who’s rushed to the front of the line while aggravating as many villains as he can is Kevin. He’s a wonderful character to release stress with because he cares even less about authority than Sebastian, is a strong enough fighter to perform the offhand backhand, and plays the family fixer before any trouble his siblings cause reach catastrophic levels of needing James’s or Diana’s help.

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This move will always be hilarious to me.

The Great Dragon

It was that time of the year where I give my brain a break from obsessing over writing and leave for Dragon Con. I have no pictures because I can’t carry a camera(deadweight at a con) and my hands tremble(no worries just regular effects from walking in the heat) too much to take decent pics on an old smart phone. Friday was a blast as usual, and when the crowds got too much, I either hid in the second food court or at the Westin’s lounges. Not so much Saturday because the crowds became crushes of people, and my body hates being jostled. No one was outright rude just oblivious when they made dead stops. This meant I stood to the side instead of participating, but I chatted with Dragon Con and hotel staff who wanted a friendly ear to vent to. Me and another nosy girl got asked if we were Undercover Boss before the worker started talking to us.

Saturday wasn’t always overwhelming despite the fact that I missed Arrow’s panel due to full capacity about 15 people in front me. Curse you, cruel world! If I was fifty back, that would have been less painful, and I would stop thinking about which bodily function I could have ignored to make it. One badass memory was the Super Fantasy panel. If you ever have the chance to see Lynn Abbey, Todd McCaffrey, Chuck Wendig, and Naomi Novik(forgive me if I left out anyone because my memory is bad and my short self could only see two faces)together, take it. They were like a professional comedy troupe playing off each other as they demonstrated through a game of Person, Place, and Thing with the audience about how to build stories. The track director was also a good sport as she was chosen to be the person placed on a Viking ship, inside a bouncy castle, and at some point there was a Voltron cat. I’m not doing the panel any justice, but it was a great time.

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Make me laugh, and I can take any weirdness.

Dragon Con has grown into a beast. Sometimes I can handle it, and sometimes I need to hide in the Westin lounge while chomping on a Willy’s burrito and hoping my quiet corner doesn’t get Bogarted by a podcaster who can’t read hunched hermit body language.

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This is Sam’s quiet corner. Go away! We eats you! We eats the bad interviewer!

What’s In A Name?

In Sam Argent, a lot. When I chose to publish professionally, I decided to go with a pen name. My birth name looks deceptively easy to pronounce, but it’s butchered too many times. So I wanted something simple, and a name I would answer to if called it in a crowd.

Sam was the make-believe name I went by when I was little because all gumshoes walking the streets were called that. I probably went a little overboard christening my late iguana with it too, but even back then I didn’t scrimp on creating stories.

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Solving crimes and threatening jerry curl activators.

When I hit my teens, I actually went so far as to look up private detective licenses. Unfortunately, my mom said ‘Hell no!’ to that unrealistic career choice(heh heh, and yet I went into writing). Around that time, Anne McCaffrey used dragons to steal me from my mystery obsession, and Eddings made sure I stayed stolen by introducing me to Polgara. I earned the nickname ‘Sorceress’ after that and rocked a silver streak in my hair.  I wanted to incorporate those early years of my imagination with who I am today into my pseudonym, so it would have meaning and make me smile whenever I heard it. Thus, Sam Argent was born.

Now, I have run into one problem. Back in the day, Sam was more gender neutral, but I’ve seen fewer female Sams recently. That’s probably why I’ve seen some people refer to me as ‘he’. I’m not offended, it’s just an observation about trends. So, yes, I’m a woman who goes by Sam, Sammy, but never Samantha. That manth sound makes my ears itch.

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Female Sams will make a comeback goshdarnit.

#WIPInsanity

Alrighty. My thirtieth birthday is on the eleventh, and what better way to celebrate than to make April one of my crazy goals months. This means multiple first drafts, and by golly I will finish editing Witches for Hire. Yes, there will be an Orwell story in the mix, but I don’t know which one is taking the second slot. While the optimistic goal is finishing all of my checklist, the main one is to see where I’m at production-wise. I’ll try to post my progress here and on twitter, but there will be a few days of radio silence when I’ve reached ‘fuck-it-all exhaustion’ and I’m binge watching Supernatural while eating ice cream. I know this sounds unhealthy, but I love testing my mental limits.

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There are worse habits.

I’m Not Weird.

Okay, I’m totally weird, but I’m not alone. One of the reasons I wrote Sebastian was because I wanted more gay pairings in fantasy that was true romance. No tragic hero to walk off into the sunset alone, and no thinking ‘If I wanted to see something that depressing, I’d just turn on the news’.

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A loner’s gotta be alone.

In general, I don’t mind sadness in stories. I like romance because in the end, you know the pain will end unlike the lack of guaranteed happy endings we have in the real world.

On to less bleak worldviews from a realist. The upside is no matter how many observations I make, I can’t predict what’s going to happen. So moments like seeing Sebastian’s sales take off came as a total surprise. Going on data from publishing research, the publisher I chose, and how much I loved writing Sebastian, I expected decent sales. What I’m seeing across multiple platforms are double the numbers I anticipated. I thank readers for that because, again, I’m not the only one who wanted to read a book like this.

The Countdown Is On

Or at least a short one because I do love to procrastinate. One more day and Sebastian is out in the wild without adult supervision. No matter what happens, I’m going to remember how much fun I had writing it and how it helped me find myself as a writer. Those were my goals when I wrote Sebastian, and I’m still proud of what I accomplished.

In the meantime, the other Orwell voices are buzzing in my ears. So many liars and a con or two that was running in the background of the first story under Sebastian’s nose. There are pirates to fight, a revenge quest from the unlikeliest of the bunch, and a few heists in the future. I hope readers stick around to watch because it will be a hell of a time.

My Inner Editor is Very Confused

I have this weird hang up about my writing voice(mostly childhood asskickings for being myself). I can understand why people like it in my blogs, but I have no idea why it’s not stupid in my writing. Blogging for me has been for goofing around anonymously, so I see strong voice as being meant to be there. Stylistically, I know being a weird goofball churns out my best writing, but I still have to remind myself that it’s okay and a fairy won’t appear out of nowhere to rap my knuckles for letting loose while I write.

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Bring it, giant writer!

On to the next hang up. I’m having trouble finishing my last round of edits on my current wips. I look at them and think there’s too much wrong with them, so why bother? Then the lightbulb came on this morning. Because this is my first time editing so many stories at once, I don’t have the mental dividers built yet like when I’m writing. I’m looking at the character development issues in one wip, the plot issues in another, and telling myself that I suck at everything.

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This is horrible. That is horrible.

So, instead of combining all of my Inner Editor’s criticisms into a Captain Planet of negativity, I’m hammering my brain to only see a single story’s flaws.

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Brain, don’t be this guy.