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Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Well you can tell that I’m not busy and stressed as I was as here is my next post, really soon after the last one.

Today, I started the polish of Moonfall. Normally, I’d wait a few weeks between the tidy up and a polish to get beta reader feedback. However, as the MS is booked in with the editor I can’t really wait.

Because I have RSI and arthritis and so on, I have to be careful how long I spend on the computer. The longer I spend on the computer the more attention I have to pay to ergonomics. One of the ways I tackle this is that I print out the MS in bits, read them, edit them and then key in changes later. On the weekend, this was proving a bit difficult so I went to Office Works and bought a copy stand. This allows me to have the MS held up at screen height, next to the screen and made the transcribing of the corrections so much more quicker, but also less demanding on my neck. I have a small space to work in and that meant holding the print out and trying to type stuff in. With the copy stand I have both hands free.

Here is a picture of it here. I was quite lucky because it was only around $50. I was expecting it to be more.

Today I started on the polish, now that I have sent Moonfall to beta readers. I’ve been having problems with the beginning of the book from the start. Not only because a mad woman wrote it. I fixed up the continuity stuff but then found I went on a bit. I was downstairs washing dishes and thinking about the problem when a solution came to me. I was so pleased. I managed to cut about 2000 words out of the first couple of chapters and reorganise it a bit better. I am pleased with the day’s work. I think the rest of the story is going along nicely so we will see how it goes tomorrow.

Writing books can be hard work. I think I drove myself to the very edge on the weekend. I’m surprised my brain is even working at the moment.

I believe going to see the new Solo moving probably helped me wind down. I loved it. Then again I loved the old Solo tie in novels, Han Solo at Stars End and so on. Matthew and I are both geeks and love Solo so we enjoyed the film. We saw Deadpool 2 last week. What a ripper! So funny and in your face. I like how it is so meta…aware of itself, Deadpool speaking to the audience as well as the other characters. Next one we are looking forward to is Ant Man and The Wasp.

Meanwhile…back at the book farm…I have uploaded Dragon Wine Volume Two. This is the third and fourth book in one volume and at a price that is cheaper than buying them separately. I intend to do a box set of the final two books too, maybe early next year and then the complete box set. Right now Dragon Wine Volume Two is only up on Amazon, but it will go up at other retailers soon. I just have to update Calibre before I can convert the file.

And once I have had a peek at the edit of Skyfire (due today) and work out how much work I have to do, I will put Skyfire up for pre-order. That’s my big news. I’ll come back here and let you know when it’s up.

So as a tease, here is the cover of Skyfire, coming soon to preorder status. The cover is from Frauke at http://www.crocodesigns.com

 

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It is interesting that sometimes you can’t tell that you are suffering from stress, or if you do how much it affects you, until the stress is gone. I feel so much better today.

The tutoring is over until semester two and the marking. That’s one big thing.

I had a paper to write for a presentation. I was stressed about that. I’ve drafted something. It’s pretty crap but at least it’s on paper and can be edited into sense.

The tidy up of Moonfall is done and it’s gone to beta readers. Phew! That was way behind schedule. The delay is related to the teaching and marking mentioned above and that some crazy woman wrote it and tidying it up was a huge think drain. Luckily, once I got past the beginning of the novel, it got easier. However, I’m still behind and will have to start polishing it now, rather than waiting for beta reader comments. Moonfall is booked in with the editor and I hate to not meet that deadline.

This morning I realised that I don’t have to be stressed about that. I should just take the time I need as I’m not tutoring and I can play around with my own timetable with the PhD. Once I have Moonfall out, all I have to do is focus on revising my novel and my exegesis (which I have not finished yet!!!).

All in all, I’m travelling okay!

Here is a peak at the cover for Moonfall. It is coming soon!

Moonfall-highres(1)

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This blog post is brought to you by systems failure. I have marking to do but the Uni’s website is down and all marking is in the computer system so damn…I also have face to face marking from 12 but that has a work around. I can’t even access my schedule. So either I’m going to sit there or the system is coming back on line and I’ll know when it is over.

This blog post is brought to you by a glitch…I think that would make an excellent short story title for the domino effect of a glitch and the end of the world. I’m sure someone has already written that. But there would be on evil overlord because the necessary spreadsheets for world domination would be inaccessible.

This post is going to be about writing. If that bores you look away now.

I’m currently revising or tidying up the first draft of Moonfall, which is the last part of the Dragon Wine series. This is a daunting task. You see the draft was written by a mad woman who obviously had no idea of continuity. I was suffering from RSI and some sort of brain fugue at the time of drafting and I wrote it in half hour sessions…and it shows.

I am up to chapter four. Oh man I want to kill this MS. I want to stab it in the heart. I want to pull my hair out. I wail into the darkness – why am I doing this?!

It’s painful. I can’t tell you why apart from the above. I have to think to fix the ms just to get it to beta readers. Then when they tell me what’s shit about the draft I have to think again and fix it. Then I send it to the editor who will no doubt tell me how completely shit it is again and I’ll have to take vitamin pills and think up some more stuff.

Why? Why am I doing this? Writing fiction? Writing any goddamn thing? I must be completely mad. I could be sewing or vegging in front of the tele or reading a book or drinking tea with friends.

If this sounds familiar to you then I am not alone. If you haven’t been through this then maybe you’ll recognise the signs at some stage. If you write perfect drafts without pain and are marvellous and gorgeous I could hate you.

I have to face the music. I was happy with the draft when I drafted it. It was the final instalment and I thought it kicked ass (arse!) but in the cold light of revising I can see so much wrong with it I want to cry. I don’t cry though, I get ranty.

Here I am ranting!

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I always forget all the things you have to do when you travel and all the costs involved that you don’t think about when you book that fateful ticket!

I had a big score today. My travel insurance is through my credit card and I don’t have to pay extra for coverage. Big win. I did, however, need to pay for a new passport.

I am not quite excited yet. I leave on Thursday morning from Canberra, fly to Sydney, then Sydney to Dallas and a late fright from Dallas to Indianapolis. I leave and arrive on the same day. It’s a weird kind of time travel. On my way home, I lose two days.

The other weird thing is that I booked to go earlier  so I could get a cheap flight. Hahahaha! Then I spend $1000 for accommodation for that week that I’m there earlier. That’s just stupid. I put up my hand. Yes, I’m stupid.

Being a writer, however, I can make use of that week, exploring the city, observing the culture, the food, putting all that experience to good use.

The reason I’m going is for the PCA conference where I’m giving a paper on my research. This is the first foray into the research results from the romance writers and readers. A good test run because when I get back I must start on the exegesis, which is an in depth look at the research. Even then, I probably won’t cover all of it as there’s just so much. People are talking about a book. Oh well, if I get funding I suppose I can write the book. I can relax a bit better now that I have the first cut of the presentation done.

I wanted to try to catch an SF convention while I was in the US but the PCA runs into Easter so I can’t. I have a couple of days after and they are hard to fill, mostly because I’m finding it hard to decide. Should I go to Chicago and check that place out. I have some stories set there so I could research the location. Or should I hang around Indiana and go up north to check out the Amish museum and stuff. Should I go or should I stay??? Argh. Then I had a thought to go to Nashville, or just fly to Dallas early and check out that city. Man oh man. Decisions. Decisions. DECISIONS!

I’ve sent Skyfire off to a beta reader for comments. My other beta readers are reading Sihe, my phd novel. I might have mentioned my editor for Dragon Wine Series went back to work at Pan Macmillan so I had to find someone else. That was good. All booked in for early May. That means a lot of hard work in April to get it ready. Yesterday I started on the tidy up of Moonfall, as that has to go to beta readers by the end of April if it’s to get to the editor in June. Who says there aren’t deadlines when you indy publish? You can’t muck people about. If you book something in it has to be ready. If the editor smashes it and tells me it needs more work that’s on me.

Also, while I’m away the Aurealis Awards will be announced. I have finally got Beneath the Floating City in Print. Here is a link to Amazon.

 

 

So the upshot is that I can safely say that Skyfire, Dragon Wine Part Five and Moonfall, Dragon Wine Part Six are coming soon.

A stay tuned for Donna’s travel blogs from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA>

 

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…and now I beg you to help me make sense of my life…

Haha. That’s what it feels like at the moment…chaos!

No, not really, but it’s a bit of a bumpy ride.

I was looking back on My Plans for 2018 post to see if I could get some perspective.

On the PhD front. I have finished the first draft of the PhD novel and it’s currently being read by writer friends before it goes to my supervisor. This certainly helps me sleep better. (TICK)

The data analysis is okay…sort of…we transferred the data in IBM SPSS, in layman’s terms, a program for social science related data. All was going well, but then something went wrong with a couple of questions. I’m still waiting on the person helping me to see what the problem is. This means the my presentation for the end of the month at the PCA in Indianapolis is not written yet. This has caused me to freak out a tad. I mean I still have all the data and I have Survey Monkey and I have looked at bits of it and to tell the truth I have started the presentation. Yet, I look at the date! Yikes and go into meltdown to freakout mode.

At the present time the Exegesis can go play with itself. I’ll think about it when I get back. My supervisor says I have plenty of time. (NO TICK)

The other thing is that I’ve taken on tutoring in two subjects at uni. This is positive excitement and stress. At first it was taking up the whole present mind thing. I’m a bit calmer about it now. I even did one better than I was expecting, I wrote and delivered a lecture on The Protean Career and I’ve written one more that I’m giving when I get back from the US. They were a lot of work. I’m talking days of work, but I am not sure but I think I feel good about the experience. (NO COMMENT)

My physical issues are better. My left foot went ow but now it has calmed down. I’ve had some treatment on my neck and back and I’m functional. I’m working on the diet. (OKAY)

On the Dragon Wine series side of things. I lost my editor. I mean I know where she is and all that…she just went back to full time work. Her timelines were so far out that you wouldn’t seen the last two books until early next year and that wasn’t acceptable. However, I have found another brilliant editor and things are back on track. Now, I have editor deadlines. I have to get Skyfire ready for the editor by the end of April! I’m about a third of the way through. Moonfall will follow after that. I think I must be craycray! I finished drafting Moonfall in January. (RIPPER TICK!)

Craft

I have started some new pieces for a quilt. I’m working on hand quilting the Japanese kimono pattern quilt. These last few weeks though I haven’t had the energy. (BLAH)

Reading and general stuff

Because I am tutoring in a literature studies course, I had a mad impulse to read the books so I have read

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence (Loved it)

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (The first part was difficult for me. Lots of triggers. But an amazing fantasy story and retelling of Snow White and Rose Red and a little sad)

Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (The voice was annoying but I could see the beauty of this story).

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (traumatised but an amazing book)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood (so beautifully rendered)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Phillip K Dick (so different to the movie. Different stories but as always -thought provoking)

Currently nearing the end of American Psyco Brett Ellis (an amazing book but the violence is ‘look away’ extreme)

On Audible I listened to Downbelow Station by CJ Cherryh. This took me a long time to get into. I also found it tense and hard but by the end I was a bit gobsmacked. A complex and emotionally draining and thrilling (I’ll admit) ride. I think the issues with refugees in the story is really topical in the world right now. The situation for them in this book was horrible. If you became a refugee in Cherryh’s world then you had nothing. I can’t begin to tell you how that affected me.

I’m currently listening to Uprooted by Naomi Novik and I can’t stop listening. I find it gripping. You know I looked at some reviews on Goodreads and wow, some people really get a thrill out of pulling people down and rubbishing their work. I mean the really rip them apart one star reviewers who have their own following and they all get together and feed off each other like frenzied fish. (ROCKING THE READING THING)

I saw this happen to another book I listed as read. I don’t think I’ve seen it that extreme before this. Maybe I’m just naive.

And other than the above, I’ve done zilch on the Indie publishing front other than sending a newsletter, apply for a Bookbub once a month for Argenterra (and get rejected) and try to get Beneath the Floating City into print. I keep finding little typos. It’s so annoying really. I’ve been meaning to lower the price of Argenterra and I probably will for a short time. (MINUS TICK)

And this morning I have finally booked some accommodation in Indianapolis. My trip to Chicago is a bit up in the air for after the conference so I’m looking at doing something local. (HALF TICK)

 

 

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I’ve been trying to get Beneath the Floating City into print. With generous help from friends I have lodged the files with Createspace. However, Createspace threw a spanner in the works and I haven’t been able to proof the file until I can prove I own the copyright of my stories. I understand the precautions, I really do. But I was kinda in hurry because post takes ages from the USA when you can’t afford express international etc. So the odds of the book being here in time for the awards is fast disappearing. Oh well.

I received my first pay from tutoring. A small amount this pay, but it paid me back for the uni fees I had to pay out last week. Next pay I have probably already spent too. Just a whiff of money and I go cray cray!

My draft of Sihe continues. I was going to say apace but nah that’s not true. Although I hope to get the MS to 60,000 words today. I’ve skipped ahead and am writing the ending without having written the crisis. It seemed like a good idea because the ending was pushing against my mind and so on.

Today I have to work on the analysis of my surveys. We have transferred the responses to the Uni’s IBM SPSS program. That means a lot of manual stuff from me to get the files ready for showing me stuff. So I’ll do that today. I had to wait to get the program installed on this Mac and the Mac randomly freezes still. I have no idea but I’m over it. It’s been so unreliable. Different things get blamed. The updates. The Endnote. I have PC native files. Or something else goes bang. Picture me rolling my eyes and being very unimpressed.

I’ve been reading up for one of the tutorials I’m doing. So far in the last few weeks I’ve read, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger, Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence, Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan and I’m currently reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K Dick (very different from Blade Runner). I’ve also started on American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I have more books to read, but I feel a lot calmer now about teaching. None of this reading is for my PhD, just for teaching.

Teaching is a bit distracting. I hope I calm down a bit. Lots of little things to do and being across things. You get paid like an hour to prepare which is nice but it takes a lot more. I’m also delivering a lecture next week and that took ages, like 6-8 hours to prepare. Although money is good to have, it will all get spent. Hopefully I will do something useful with the money like pay for the cat run.

I have stockpiled book earnings to pay for edits of Skyfire and Moonfall.

I saw Black Panther last night and had nice cosy dreams about Chadwick Boseman. I have no idea what they were but  they were pleasant. The movie didn’t finish until after midnight so no time to wind down. I loved so many things about that movie. I wished that Wakanda was a true place. It’s a really lovely fantasy. I also liked the Africaness of the place and the movie was so owned by African -descent peoples. I also loved the women. Proud, strong, capable women. All of them were my favourites. Just awesome. Michael B Jordan was really something to see as the villain, great performance and well as Winston Duke-totally cool. Well done Ryan Coogler. Awesome movie. I hope to see many more like this. I’m also hanging out big time for Avengers Infinity Wars that I hope Matthew takes me to see for my birthday in the premium lounge (hint! hint!)

In other Dweebish news, Star Trek Discovery kept me thrilled to the end. Some great performances and favourite roles and great writing in places. I loved that I was shocked and awed and kept on the seat of my pants. My youngest daughter checked online and apparently we will see more of Lorca and  Ash Tyler in the next series which doesn’t drop until 2019!

I’ve also started on Altered Carbon. It helped that I finished the audio book. There’s a lot of action in the second half of the novel that will probably be better visually. It’s the second time I’ve seen Purefoy’s member and I was equally stunned and impressed as I was when he played Mark Anthony in Rome.

The Good Place is really a good mood lifter and I started on IT Crowd which I had heard of but had never binged watched before.

I’ve run out of detective series (not really) but I binged watched Wallander-loved it. Finished Shetland (first two seasons), watch River twice. Finished Whitechapel ages ago. I found Luther excellent but way too intense for me. I may go back to it. I had tapped out the Hinterland series on Netflix but I’m hoping for more. With the second season of The Crown consumed and Victoria I need more recommends.

Anyway, back to the novel. I’ve been procrastinating enough.

 

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We can call them goals for want of a better word but goals seem like a things that make you feel down if you don’t meet them. Whereas, plans are things that can change and can be added to and things can be taken away. I think plans are more strategic.

First and foremost is my Ph.D.This is my last full year run at things. I have to analyse my data and do that soon, because I’m delivering a paper on my analysis in March in Indiana,USA.

I have to finish my Ph.D. novel, Sihe. By finish I mean finish the draft, have it beta read by people, revise it and polish it, get my supervisor to read it and take up my supervisor’s comments and polish it again, again.

I also have to draft my exegesis. This relies mainly on the analysis of the two surveys that I undertook of readers and writers of romance fiction. That kind of sounds easy and kind of doesn’t. Time will tell. I’ve done my literature review but I have to keep it current until I submit. The literature review is like a chapter of my exegesis.

I am also delivering two to three papers at academic conferences in 2018. I haven’t written them yet. I also need to get a couple of academic journal articles written and published.

There are things that I can do if my plans don’t go well. I can switch to part-time study. But that means I won’t finish for another two years or year and a half. I’m not sure I want to keep on doing this. Because just as soon as I started my Ph.D. I wanted you to do other things as well. And even though I don’t have any other job besides the Ph.D. and writing there is only many so many hours in a day. And there’s just not enough hours for me to do everything I want to do. Also, I have a growing list of physical issues that impact on my ability to work (see previous post).

On the personal side, I really want to manage my physical issues better so that I can maximise what I can do without incapacitating myself. At the moment, I’m waiting on a bunch of results from blood tests to make sure that I don’t have some horrible autoimmune disease. Fingers crossed!

I’d like to do some tutoring at University this year. I was offered some opportunities in the second semester in 2017 but because I was in Europe for two months of the semester I couldn’t do it. My trip to Indiana in March is short and in a semester break so if I do get any tutoring I’ll be able to take up the opportunity.

Writing/publishing

My plan is to finish the draft of Moonfall as soon as possible in January. I’m nearly at 35,000 words today and if I keep working at this pace I might achieve that. The first cut of Moonfall should be 80,000 words, maybe a little bit less. I tend to increase my word count when I’m doing my revisions and polishing before sending to beta readers because there are scenes that I have not fully explored  and/or atmosphere settings that I’ve missed out. It’s where I really start crafting the story. My aim when drafting is to get the story down and make sure the plot works. This means that in 2018 I will have both Skyfire and Moonfall to revise and edit and publish. I aim to do this in the first half of the year and work around my Ph.D. at the same time. I think it’s doable.

All other new work  has to take a back seat to the Ph.D. I’ve got some ideas and I have some previously drafted work that I could revise and polish on the backburner so that there might be new work later in the year. I have a sci-fi romance drafted. I have a Regency romance drafted and I have a two steampunk series that are close. And I have a lot of ideas for more stories in the Silverlands world, the Dragon wine world and in the space pirate world as well a completely new stories and some old stuff that I started but never completed. That all might need to wait until 2019.

Craft

I’d also like to do some craft projects. I’ve got some lots of unfinished craft projects but I’d really like to make a quilt as well is finish off some of those unfinished projects. I’m attending the Jane Austen Festival in April and usually make something for that. I’m almost finished making my Regency corset. And I’ve got a bonnet workshop in January.

Reading and general

I’d also like to get a lot more reading done. Not only romance but in other genres and the academic reading. I’d also like to create time. Ha ha!

I would also like to keep up my social activities and enjoy time with my friends and family. My son is going to pay for me to go to China to visit him in Shanghai. I just have to find an appropriate date.

On the indie publishing side of things I would like to learn more about marketing and book formatting and the industry in general but as said above I can’t really commit to a lot of new work until the Ph.D. is done. Yet a think providing the last two instalments of the Dragon wine series will please fans of that series and that’s very important to me.

House projects include developing a cat run so that Gin, the cat, can get outside. Generally, I’d like to see that we keep our garden in better order. We’ve hired cleaners once a fortnight for inside the house and that has helped a lot and I hope to continue that. We have to be tidier to get the full benefit of the cleaner but I can’t see anything wrong with that. However, Matthew likes a bit of chaos around the house.

Most of all I hope I am resilient enough to cope with what life throws my way this year.

I wish you well in your 2018 endeavours.

 

 

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