Tag Archives: Family of Lies

A Pain That I’m Used To

Daylight

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.

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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.

The Last Lap

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.

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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.

Mayhem Managed

Sort of. This past year I’ve found my groove. At least for now. My mojo comes and goes, but this has been the longest streak yet. I’ve been jumping around three stories, and none of them are backtalking me right now. The key for me is not thinking about speed or wordcounts. Those thoughts add too much pressure which forces me not to think of the story first. I do work on a random wip during downtimes, but I’ve got into the habit of not naming them unless I KNOW they will be finished in the next couple of months. All part of the ‘No pressure’ strategy I’m following. And yeah, this mindset is hella different than from when I was unpublished. I believed selling wouldn’t change how blasé I was compared to when no eyes were on me, but I was wrong. As for the three tales in question:

Veiled Dancer(formerly known as Royal Persuasion) – went through a huge revision and added about 15k after I said I was done editing it.

Family Of Lies: Kevin – has not encountered the ‘Sequel Blues’ yet, rewrote the ending, and the back half of the middle still requires some planning due to a heist where Kevin is getting much deserved payback against a troublemaker sibling. I definitely see a lot of editing for the beginning to add in more of Luke’s voice. He was hard to nail down because guilt for the weapons a warlord forced him to make made him cautious about opening up to anyone. That’s why Kevin is so perfect for him. The Orwells do so many fucked up things that Kevin isn’t shocked by Luke’s past and thinks it’s hypocritical for him to be judging anyone.

The Strongest Sword – I expected a portal Scifi/Fantasy YA would be a pain in the ass to write, but after the first two hellish chapters, this baby is rolling along. It helps that the mc, Ryan, has a charming confidence about him that let’s him jump back on his feet no matter how many times I knock him down.

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.

#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.

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.

The Sound of a Thousand Squees

And now, I invite you to relax, pull up a chair, as I kindly present: Sebastian

FamilyOfLies-Sebastian - Copy

Sebastian Orwell did the only thing a smart wizard could do when he stumbled upon the wounded Crown Prince: he healed him and dumped him in a tavern where he could continue not being Sebastian’s problem. Unfortunately, the prince isn’t content with being alive, and he hunts Sebastian down to thank him personally. Not only is Sebastian stuck with the prince’s unwanted affections, he’s also confronted by growing evidence linking the assassination attempt to someone from his father’s past.

Lord Orwell is a lot of things: thief, liar, drunk, and all around horrible father, but Sebastian knows he’s no murderer. In order to prove it, Sebastian has to keep the prince alive long enough to discover the truth—a task made considerably harder because the idiot prince prefers wooing Sebastian over securing his own survival. On top of everything, Sebastian needs to save the day without revealing his magical powers and the real reason he hides his appearance.

Sebastian had no intention of playing the hero, but whoever is stirring up shit in his country will pay for destroying his quiet life.

Linky here. This book has been in my noggin since 2012, and I’m glad to see it real and available for pre-order. It officially comes out on March 18, but go on, you know you want to click that buy button.

On to writing news. I’ve been editing my ass off on a couple stories, but unlike Sebastian, I haven’t been able to see where their final finish lines are. So, my brain took a back seat, and I searched my feelings like a Jedi to come up with three rules:

  1. Do I care about my characters all the way to the ending?
  2. Do I get lost in the story when I’m supposed to be editing?
  3. Does the ending make me feel like a satisfied reader?

These rules will probably find space on my wall somewhere, so I can remember my end goals. Now I leave you with today’s celebratory song.

I am totally singing this in my evil scientist voice.

Invisible Monkey On My Back

It takes a lot of confidence to decide that you will write a book and sell it. You’re pretty much shouting to the world you want to be Hokage and you will train to be the best.

 Naruto - Copy

#1 Hyperactive Knucklehead Writer

And that’s why I’ve made it this far. I’ve written five stories and I’m on my way to finish my sixth one. My biggest hurdle is keeping my confidence throughout this journey. I have no Kakashi or Iruka Sensei, so I have to push myself every day. I have to call out my mistakes, reward myself for goals reached, and determine whether or not my writing is improving. The best way to describe how I manage this without giving in to laziness and doubt is that it’s like having an invisible monkey riding my back.

Monkey Shines

 

If I don’t want to open the current document I’m working on, head slap from invisible monkey. If I want to procrastinate by searching for pictures of Sailor Jupiter in regular clothes, monkey gets angry.

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 The things my parents let me watch when I was five.

I’ve needed that monkey since 2010, but I’m giving him a vacation. Family of Lies: Sebastian(a.k.a. Grumpy Pants), has sold to Dreamspinner Press. I don’t know what to expect from real human encouragement, but my back could really use the rest.