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Give away!

I know I've been absent lately (sorry! Life has been insane, and only sometimes in the good way), BUT someone is giving away a signed print copy of my book! Also, she's sad that there are only two responses so far. So go, my peoples! Flood her comments! It will make someone happy, and you might just get the BEST BOOK EVER out of it. (That would be mine. ;-D)

http://shaihawkins.blogspot.com/

JB

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"A Little Weird" - signed copies!

Hey, all! I'm moving and cleaning things out. I have copies here of "A Little Weird" that I'd be happy to sign and send out. $15 if you want one! (I also have copies of "Second Hope" that I'm happy to do the same thing with!)

JB

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(no subject)

I find myself blinking between email and facebook in the hopes that there will be some human connection there. But the thing is, there isn't. Facebook keeps me sort of updated on what people are doing, but you can't say more than that. I might know that they are frustrated with their neighbor, but I don't know why or how they're dealing with it or any of the other mundane things that make a person a person. I have one fact, and that's all.

I'm looking for the community I had years ago, here on LJ, when all my fandom friends were here and I was part of groups where I actually knew people. When there were entries, like this one, about what was going on in peoples' lives. When myself and a dozen others would write essays almost daily, and comment at length about each others' posts.

None of us really have that kind of time anymore. But maybe I should start making the time. Maybe instead of spending twenty minutes on FB, refreshing the feed and hoping something pops up, I should start writing here and reading again. Most of my friends from here have moved on, but there are a few around, and there are always more friends to make.

I think that's a good plan. I hope I can stick with it.

J

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Characters

Do you ever accidentally create characters? Because I find myself doing it a lot. They usually end up being fun, at least. Just now I was writing a scene where a fight breaks out. It's told from the POV of someone who's infiltrating a... er, magical gladiator-esque slave ring. So, I'm writing this:

someone bumps into the tables where the heavies are sitting, and the heavies get up to Deal With That Shit. (Obviously, I'm paraphrasing what I wrote. >.>) Three men stand. Claire, Our Heroine, notices that one of them is her mark. His red hair is impossible to miss. The other two--

Wait. I should make one a woman! Yes.

Three people stand. One is obviously her mark 'cause of his hair. The other two she doesn't recognize: a man and a one-eyed woman.

Wait, no, because if they've got posters plastered around for advertising, a one-armed woman would be recognizable, surely. I KNOW. SHE CAN HAVE ONE ARM. Wait, no, that still defeats the whole unrecognizable thing. I KNOW. SHE CAN HAVE A PROSTHETIC ELBOW. Wait, wait, fantasy world. I KNOW. SHE CAN HAVE AN ELBOW MADE OUT OF MAGICKED WOOD. How am I going to describe that in a quickie one-liner so I don't break the flow? I KNOW. I CAN SAY THIS.

Three people stand. the mark, blah blah, other dude, blah blah, and a woman with a golem arm.

YES. THIS IS FREAKIN' AWESOME. GOLEM ARM. Women with golem arms are obviously bad ass, to have her arm cut off but she won the fight anyway and had enough of a fanbase for her sponsor to decide to put in the money to give her a golem arm!

...A golem arm is totally recognizable. OKAY FINE. NOW SHE'LL JUST HAVE TO BE IN THE BOOK, TOO. Because she already has wild black hair and she's a little crazy.

And that is how a woman with a golem arm came to be in my book. >.>

JB

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DOOM

Okay, I'm working on a book I've lovingly working-titled "DOOM." Because DOOM happens. (Also, a nod here to my cooperative writing buddies, who plotted out and wrote the short story version with me. ;)) (And who said, "Yes, JB, it was your idea! Of course you can use it for your book!") (They're awesome.)

So, here's the million dollar question: is the militia full time or part time?

The world as I see it: There's a large space of land that I'm going to refer to as The Good Country, even though the tribes within it would not consider it all one country. It has pasture and limited agriculture (small towns and villages) to the west, mountains to the north and east, and cliffs to the south. Farther to the west are ports and rapidly growing towns (becoming cities; give it another 50-100 years, and the whole culture will change), and inflowing trade. It's big enough that many of the Nine Tribes are still nomadic. Those who are not among the Nine Tribes are either the towns and villages, which have sprung up along the trade routes, or the Kavi, who live in the eastern mountains.

Toward the southern foot of the mountains they get much smaller and more livable, and beyond them is much more pasture and agriculture. This is where the trade routes ultimately lead; our story doesn't go beyond this southwest boundary of the country.

Got all that? Okay, well, it probably doesn't matter much. TL;DR: there's some nomadic tribes and towns and villages, and big mountains to the east.

Their northern neighbors have started warring/raiding. First question: I guess it matters if they're warring or raiding, because raiding would mean minor scuffles, warring would mean we need a bigger army to fight them off. I don't want to write about the end of a war; that story is too big. Can I just be like, "They've been warring for pretty much forever"? I don't see why not, if they're contesting boundary lines. The better agricultural land is definitely southward, and the northern folks could be improving their lives via warring and raiding, right?

So. Northern neighbors are intruding. It's enough of a problem that the Nine Tribes have banded together, at least in this, and all agreed to send their best people to be fighters. Second question: does it make more sense in a low population type setting that they wouldn't send fighters, but say, "Each village/tribe to itself!"? I could say that the population is big enough to support fighters. Maybe the trade/port thingy has boosted the populace and created more stability? Third question: Maybe I answered this question already. If they have a militia, they'd have to be big enough to support it. I'd rather they not have a part-time militia where people go home in between fights. How big would they have to be to support a small militia? (But a militia big enough to cover the border passes.) Fourth question: Where would they place a militia? The boundary is BIG. I guess they'd need a bunch of outposts? Would they train at each one? I guess they'd have to. I suppose I need to shape it like other large countries with large borders? Or maybe I could say the northern mountains have just a few main areas where people could pass through and raid, so they need fewer outposts. What seems realistic?

Okay. I think I answered some of my own questions. So...

I need a population big enough to support a small but steady militia, which needs to be placed at the northern passes where the bad guys cross through. Say three or four of them. So I guess the big question is, how big of a populace do I need? Can I get away with towns or do I need to start having cities?

...Actually, I think that's all I need to know. :D

JB

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Falling off the earth

Hi!

So... I fell off the earth a little bit there, huh? Here's something I don't tell everyone (not because it's a secret but because, really how do you work this into conversation?), but I struggle with clinical depression. I have ever since I was a teenager. Through therapy and a lot of books I've learned some methods of keeping it relatively well balanced, but around August my balance tipped, and I was having trouble putting things right again. Then, after all the fabulous reviews, emails, and comments I've gotten on A Little Weird, I got the sales back and it was a rather ugly surprise. Before I'd figured out what had happened (most of the distributors are lagging by a quarter), between that and the rough year I had a fairly nasty spiral.

But good news! Because of this nasty spiral, I finally went to a friend who's an actual psychologist and said, "I think I need help. These are the things I'm doing, but I can't keep my head above water." (It was a lot worse than that, actually, but K knows me well enough to know that if I say, "I need a hand," I really mean, "THE SHIP IS SINKING, MAYDAY, MAYDAY.") K called me right away and said, "Given what I know about you and your family history, I really think you probably have a chemical imbalance. How would you feel about medication?"

She did a lot of hand holding and breaking things down into tiny, manageable steps for my broken brain, and I got on medication. That was Thanksgiving day.

I emailed her a week later and said, "This is amazing. Do normal people feel like this ALL THE TIME? Where things are still busy and sometimes stressful but it's okay and you can deal with it?!" and she said, "Yup."

So. Apparently I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. Medication is amazing stuff, and I probably should have been on it 16 years ago. No joke. On the other hand, props to me for managing for 16 years with behavioral and cognitive shifts, despite having wonky chemical imbalances in my brain. I mean, that's like someone saying, "I survived for 16 years with walking pneumonia. Go me! Now that I'm on antibiotics, it's even easier. Glad I made it this long so I could get on the antibiotics!" Does that make sense? Anyway.

The last eight months, and then the really fucking awful month of November, pretty much killed my writing drive. Unless there's a miracle, it's unlikely I'll continue the "Weirdos, Queers and Freaks" series, which means it's now officially a stand-alone. (Since I wrote it that way in the first place, I don't feel particularly bad about this.)

Now that I'm medicated and breathing again, I'm very, very slowly starting to plot things again. The urge to write is coming back, but I'm not sure what to start with. I have an urban fantasy story I plotted, and I have my DOOM story that was originally a trilogy, but I've since scaled it back to a one-off. (I get great ideas for trilogies, but the fact is that I seem to do better with one-offs. I get bored halfway into the sequel.) I need to do some replotting for the DOOM story, but I think it could be really good. God knows I've put enough thought into those characters...

I also got a fax/printer/scanner thingy, so expect sketches! Someday!

Competing for time is the fact that I'm still trying to buy a house. I've shifted, though, as the housing market has gone up by $100,000 over the last year. (Ouch. Talk about being priced out.) So now I'm looking for land and I'm going to put a mobile home on it. WOOT WOOT. Which means figuring out zoning and whatnot. (Anyone out there know anything about that? Anyone? Bueller?)

Anyway, that's off the topic. I just wanted to give you all a wave, say, "Not dead yet!" and let you know that 'Queer' is probably off the burner altogether, with some fantasy novels on the back burners and my mental health on the front burners.

You know what I'd really like? Some fans so I can say, "I'm thinking of doing this!" and have people go, "SQUEE!" That's what I miss most about fanfic. Seriously, Quin (we're getting married, btw!) says, "You're so much happier when you're writing fanfic," and I'm like, "No, I'm just more talkative because I have other people talking to me about it." Maybe I shall harass Roos when I talk to her on Sunday. Hmmmm.

Off topic again! Hi! Not dead yet! Love everywhere! Uh. Look, a very content pit bull! (Also, my and Quin's feet.)

lily sleeping with us

Awww, <3 Lily.

Jenna
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Queer

Okay! I re-started Queer. Aside from the "SO MANY HANDS" reaction, good news! I'd had 100 pages (or so) of story that I didn't like, but in just a few days I'm up to 27 pages of story I DO like, and quite a few scenes that'll be salvageable from the other one. WOOT WOOT!

J
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(no subject)

So! I'm working on Queer. Last time I started working on it again, something felt wrong. I stopped, and re-read A Little Weird. After doing so I was like, "Ah! I see what's wrong in Queer: I've lost the character's voices."

Then I went and read "The New Topping Book," to sort of give me an inside look at what makes Doms and dos and don'ts. I did some of that already when I was writing Weird, but I felt like I needed more info -- especially as an important part of Queer is London learning to Dom.

After reading that, I was like, "Ah! And I see where I've gone wrong here, too, and how to fix it!"

Next, I went and started re-reading Queer with an eye toward fixing it.

Here's my problem: I'm not so good at fixing. I'm great at the initial re-write. But as soon as I start reading with an eye toward fixing, unless there's an obviously plot thing, I'm just not good at fixing a voice. As I read I can see that it's wrong, but I've followed the wrong down the rabbithole, and I can't see how to get out or where it starts or how to change it. Unless, of course, I re-write it completely.

Can you see where I'm going with this?

Short of re-writing it completely, I'm not sure how to fix this. (Actually, I wouldn't have to re-write it completely, and what I might do is rip out the scenes I don't want first, see what I'm left with, and go from there.) (On the other hand, because there is so much of it that I don't like, it might be easier to re-write it almost completely. I still like the first few opening scenes. It started to feel "off" around page 20. There are 100 pages written.)

Also, I need to get a clearer idea of what I want to accomplish here. So:

Mini spoilers!Collapse )

Initially, some of the stuff now slated for Crazy was in Queer, so that needs to be adjusted.

I also think I need to keep re-reading Weird to keep a handle on voices, at least until I'm back to feeling like they're my second skins. A crazy busy life has left me feeling disconnected from my characters, which leads to poor writing.

You know what? I just need to stop promising things like trilogies, and start just enjoying writing one offs. Or do it like i used to do multi-chapter fanfic: write the ENTIRE DAMNED THING before I publish anything. That way, if I hit major burnout or something happens IRL that stops me from writing for so long that I lose my ability to get into those characters' skins, I can just adjust what's been written so far, and declare it done without having to get back into the right mode and fix something that went wrong. Grrrrrr.

JB

*Edit: after a lot of hand scribbling to figure out what I wanted and what I liked, I think I have a clear path. It's... going to be a lot of re-writing. But hopefully good, solid re-writing that leads to another awesome book!
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Sooo... I'm alive!

Hi, all!

My life has exploded. I'm not ever sure where to start.

How about writing? I had to put aside "Queer" because it just wasn't going right, and I went back and read "Weird," the print version. It was kind of fun. :D the fact that it was in print distanced me enough to read it NOT as something I'd written, but just as a story, which means I could put aside that critical part of myself. It was... actually a lot better than I thought it was. *laughs* I mean, that sounds strange, but any time I read my own stuff I find lines that could be clarified or tightened up, so that even if I like what I read, I'm also critiquing it. Without the critique there, it was just fun. It's a hot little threesome Dom/sub story, and it made me super, super happy.

I won't know what the sales are like until the quarterly report comes in (late this month, early next month hopefully), but I hope it does well. I mean *I* love it. Shouldn't everyone else love it, too? Really, I need to pipe it to the BDSM community. Except it's not very hardcore, so then I get nervous. Which means I need to pipe it to the "Shades of Gray" lovers, because this is actually a healthy BDSM relationship, and mellow enough for the average person. I don't really know how to do that beyond advertising, which I'm doing now.

Anyway.

I have a ring! You know. A Ring. My sweetie gave it to me. :D We're engaged with no wedding date to be set. Maybe no wedding date to be set, ever, but we'll see. In the meantime! this is big stuff, and has pushed me into dealing with some of my commitment issues bit by bit.

"Commitment issues? YOU?" I hear you cry.

Um. Yes. As wide as the Nile is long. But good news! My beau has commitment issues, too, so we work at about the same pace. ;-D

Whoops! And now she's home. Gotta go!

JB