Monday, November 30, 2015

The wait is over

My first officially-published novel has been released. Chaser went live on Amazon earlier today.

A bit of background on how this book got started and how it developed along the way:

Chaser started as a short story way back in 2006, if I remember correctly. It got turned down by every publisher and magazine editor I sent it to, like everything else I sent out over the years. Only two of the editors told me why (beyond the form-letter "it's not right for our magazine, but good luck with it elsewhere" rejection). One of them had a silly objection to it: the story had advanced genetic engineering and cybernetics technology, but the characters used only slightly futuristic guns that fired bullets, instead of ray guns. That made no sense to me because technology doesn't advance at the same rate across the board. Right now, we've landed people on the moon, sent probes to other planets, moons, and comets, and most of us carry around computers in our pockets that are more powerful than the ones used in the Apollo program ... but at the same time, we haven't cured cancer or the common cold, we don't have flying cars, and we still dig holes with shovels. So I was never able to wrap my brain around that as a reason not to accept the story.

But the other one was even worse because it was pure bullshit. In the original story, there was one very small bit with the main character wanting to celebrate her first success at her new job, and trying to decide who to invite on a date so she could share her good fortune. Just two or three sentences where she thought about calling a guy she'd known in high school, and then a girl she'd known in the same school ... and then she thought about asking both of them out. Then the villain started gunning for her and she had to spend the rest of the story dealing with that, and the dinner date never came up again.

It was just a little thing I tossed into the story because I thought it made the character a bit more interesting. But this editor said the story "deserves to be published" (his exact words) yet he rejected it because of that one tiny bit of business. He told me that he would publish it if I rewrite it and remove "all the lesbianism" ... as if the story was nothing but this character going to town on her girlfriend or something, rather than one brief mention of it that had no affect on anything else in the story. I went back and forth with this guy a couple of times through email, but he wouldn't budge. Okay ... he had no objection to the violent content and the hero brutally killing the villain, but he had a problem with the hero being anything other than straight? Uh-huh. Guess what, buddy? Kiss the darkest part of my pasty white ass.

So I told him no, I wouldn't compromise the character to suit his bigotry. I told him that I'd get the story published without him or that rag he edited. And even though it took a few more years, that's exactly what I did.

I decided to flesh it out into a full book, and I added a subplot with the main character dating both of her high-school crushes, and had the relationship work out, because screw that guy.

So the book went through a few more drafts. Something about it still wasn't really clicking into place until I decided to change it to first-person perspective just to see if that had any effect on it. And that's when the book really came to life.

I started submitting it to publishers again, and finally one accepted it. I got the email soon after I moved to Tucson. Couple more drafts, some polishing, etc. -- and now it's done. And damn, it's good to see my first officially-published book there.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Catching up

Time for a long-overdue update. I haven't been active at all here for the last few weeks, and I'll try to briefly explain why without turning it into a "poor me" rant.

Basically, a few weeks ago, I was almost evicted from my apartment because I didn't have enough money to pay the rent, so as you might imagine, I've had too much on my mind to focus on writing any of my current works-in-progress or promoting Project Revenant. Over the past few months, my car's engine blew up and I couldn't get a loan to replace it, my hours at work were cut because it's a delivery job and I had to use my own car, then I couldn't make the next car payment and had to let them repo it. The manager let me work in the store, doing most of the dough prep for the next day, so at least I kept my job. Still, the paychecks weren't big enough and I fell behind on the utilities and the rent. At the beginning of November, I used my entire paycheck, plus what little I had left from the previous one, for the rent, and was still over $100 short. I hoped to cover the rest with the next paycheck, but got a 5-day notice to pay the rest or be tossed out.

The good news is, the day I got the notice turned out to be the day my workplace got a company car to use for deliveries. I'm still not sure how it'll turn out because, from what I was told, the car was going to be rotated through each store in the area, staying at each one for a few days. But it's been at my store pretty consistently since we got it, and I've been able to go back to taking deliveries and getting tips and going home with cash in my pocket at the end of each shift. Between that and a little money I was loaned from friends and family, I was able to pay the rest of the rent by the skin of my teeth, and also get caught up on the utilities. So if the company car remains available, I'll be able to hang on.

The company car they've got me driving, by the way ... well, there's something quite amusing about it. There's a car in Grand Theft Auto V that looks almost exactly like it, except the little rear windows are a slightly different shape.

The real car is a Scion iQ ... but I always think of it as "the Panto."

For extra laughs, here's a video someone made when the car was first added to the game. The one I'm driving for work doesn't have that paint job, but I kinda wish it did.

Anyway. I've finally been able to get back to writing now that the worries are kinda sorta over (until the next thing that goes horribly wrong ... and there will be another one sooner or later, because there always is). I had just started NaNoWriMo, and was ahead of the goal by 2,000 words, but fell so far behind due to the near-eviction that there's no chance of catching up now. Which is a shame because it did motivate me to keep working on Uncharted Territory, but now I'll just keep chugging along as best I can, and I'm hoping to have another chapter finished soon.

After getting past this latest bit of unpleasantness, I needed to get back to work on something fun and low-stress, something that didn't have any high-pressure stakes like getting accepted by a publisher. So I finished the latest chapter of one of my just-for-fun projects, Freelancers. Over 125,000 words now, and it's barely gotten started ....

Next I'll be getting back to work on writing Uncharted Territory and promoting Project Revenant. Once I get past the beginning of next month without falling short on the rent again, I'll be able to breathe a lot easier and get a lot more writing done.

Oh, one last announcement regarding my upcoming novel, Chaser. The cover art has been finalized, they sent me the galley (which had some technical glitches that have now been fixed), and as far as I know, it's passed the final hurdle. The publisher is hoping to get it out before the holidays. So I'll finish this with a look at the cover art.

Monday, November 2, 2015

NaNoWriMo Update

Just a quick one tonight. I managed to hit the word-count goal for NaNoWriMo earlier this evening. Probably won't be able to keep it up, but I'm off to a decent start.

To take a break, I made a quick video of my GTA Online character rocking her Evil Pumpkin mask, bitchin' hearse, and Edgar the Minigun. XD No real point to it, just showing off the mask. These days, I need all the laughs I can get, and I can't even look at that mask without cracking up.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sweet Ride

Another quick just-for-fun post. Yesterday morning I got my hands on the bitchin' hearse for my GTA Online character. Here's a few pictures, and later on I'll try to record a short video.

One little detail that cracks me up is the way the arm on Frankenstein's Monster jiggles and sways when I drive ....

And in writing news, just a few minutes ago I put even more pressure on myself by signing up for NaNoWriMo. I'm using Uncharted Territory even though I'm already four chapters into it. I'm starting the word count in the middle of the current work-in-progress chapter, beginning with the next scene I'm about to start writing. I've been having a bit of writer's block combined with spending time promoting Project Revenant on Inkshares, and haven't made much progress on UT for several weeks. I'm hoping this'll motivate me to get back on track.

Now, I'm off to pour another cup of really cheap, really bad coffee, and then get started on the next scene. I'm hoping I'll be able to hit the required daily word count or even exceed it before I get to the video mentioned above ....