Writing Progress Report

I’m going to try to do monthly-ish writing progress reports (they may happen every month or every 3 weeks or every 5 weeks, one just never knows with me).  This is where I’m at now:

  • Terrorific Tales has published in ebook form and the paperbacks are in progress.  Just waiting on the final edits from my editor.  It has one Amazon review…
  • Triggered Reality is with the editor.  I have her notes on Eric Clachan’s story and am now awaiting her notes on the other serial killer story in it.
  • Flawless Dreams is about half done and I suspect I will send it to the editor the first week of April.  I am planning May release.
  • Movement in the Shadows has one story done.  So far, it is making me broaden my writing horizons.
  • Death Demon Trilogy Book 1:  Legacies Awakened has six chapters done.  These are the continuation of the Brenna Strachan novels and will center on an adult Callie Strachan.
  • The next Dysfunctional Chronicle has begun to take shape in my head.
  • Ritual Dreams has a plot and a serial killer.  I’ll begin work on it pretty soon (after I finish Flawless Dreams).
  • The second Reality book doesn’t have a title, but will feature the character stories for Brent Timmons, aka the Tallahassee Terror, and Turkish Jack.
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What Have I Been Doing?

I decided to give a progress update.  I’ve been juggling a lot of different projects and some are moving faster than others.  So, feel free to ignore this post if you don’t read my books.

  • The first round of edits on Fortified Dreams is complete.
  • I have 6 days to finish a Dysfunctional Chronicle which has been giving me fits.  I’m just not feeling funny right now.  I’m trying to work on that by re-reading Good Omens.  It is one of my favorite comedies.
  • I am beta reading for another author… Love the book so far, but haven’t had the time to dedicate to it that I had expected.  I feel bad about that.
  • Legacies Awakened – Book 1 in the Death Demon Trilogy finally found traction.  It is going to piss off a lot of Strachan fans, but it has been a great motivator for the series.
  • Flawless Dreams is started.  I have the first serial killer chapter written as well as the first few regular chapters.
  • Ritual Dreams also has the first serial killer chapter written.  Nothing more though.
  • I have been in a dark mood lately, I think that’s why Fortified fell out as well as it did.  I think that also explains Legacies Awakened finally coming to life.  And The Dysfunctional Beginning suffering from a lack of funniness, really, I want to have Nadine with a flame thrower solving most of the problems in her life and that just doesn’t work.
  • The new Facebook and Twitter banner has been completed.  I can never sing enough praises for Angela’s work.  Covered Creatively has been a god-send.  She just gets me and my writing.  It’s amazing that she can create art from adjectives.
  • I failed to get out swag, but it is coming!  I promise to have it done and in the mail no later than Tuesday.  My personal life has overwhelmed my writing life at the moment and I feel beaten down (which might be why I want to start killing off fictional characters, it’s stress relief).

Ok, more later.

Where The Hell Have I Been?

I know, it’s been two weeks since I graced the site with a post.  Mostly, I’ve been thinking and wondering and trying to figure things out.

First, Lola the Puppy does not like my laptop.  This is a huge problem.  She attacks the board when I attempt to use it or she barks at it like it has just sprouted teeth and is set to devour her.  One afternoon, it bothered her enough that her hackles actually raised as she barked at the thing.  I don’t know if produces a sound she doesn’t like that I can’t hear or what… Regardless, this means that writing anything has been a chore.  Could I use my tablet to write a blog post?  Yes, but I hate trying to type out a full page of text from a tablet.  Ditto for my phone.  So, I’ve just been avoiding the dastardly device.

Second, I have undertaken a challenge that I’m pretty sure confirms that I have lost my mind.  Thankfully, I have a year to figure out the logistics.  As most know, the writer Liz Schulte and I reside in the same city and we meet irregularly for breakfast/brunch.  She is doing something insane in 2016… And I agreed to do the same in 2017.  It will require me to write a book a month as well as publish a book a month (of course, I will not be publishing the book I write in January in January, there has to be time for editors and beta readers, meaning I will need a few books up my sleeve, so to speak).  This means my 2016 just got a little busier.  I had planned on releasing 3 novels plus 2 novellas in 2016 and I still intend to do that, but I will also be writing ahead for 2017.

Third, taking up this friendly challenge has created a writing flow.  I had been missing it for some time, but the moment I said “if you do it, I’ll do it” the words began to scream in my brain to be released.  Of course, this hasn’t gone as well as planned because of the first thing on this list, but it will get better.  Thankfully, oh so thankfully, it removed the funk I had been feeling all year.

Fourth, it’s December.  December is a month full of challenges.  I have trouble getting into the holiday mood.  Perhaps it is because I have just finished 2 huge holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving) or perhaps it’s some other weird thing, but it’s hard for me to find the Christmas mood.  I have the spirit.  I love giving people gifts.  I love watching them open them.  It makes me feel good to do it.  However, the decorating, the planning of holiday meals, the get togethers, the time spent with family, and all the trimmings that go with Christmas fills me with anxiety.  I bounce between feeling great to feeling like I’m on the verge of a panic attack all the time.  I have more migraines in December, something I didn’t think possible, but it turns out it is.  I have more heartburn and I randomly get a shaky feeling for no reason, like my blood pressure has either bottomed out or skyrocketed.

Finally, I’m having shoulder issues.  It has been dislocated a few times in the last couple of weeks and continues to be inflamed and achy.  Typing is a problem when it bothers me.  I also lose some of the feeling in my fingertips, which seems to impact my typing ability.  While most typing is muscle memory for me, not all of it is.  It’s my left shoulder and I’m right handed, so I’ve been trying to rest it, but it turns out that while I think I only type with it, I do other things too (like hold a fork, sleep – and sleeping on it can cause it to dislocate, pick things up because despite the damage done to it 12 years ago, it remains my stronger arm, and I carry around a backpack most of the time, which I absently sling over it from time to time, and the big one; hold the dog leash in it without thinking about it until she has run to the end of her sixteen feet tether and jerks me forward because she is getting very strong).

Well, now you have a little preview of things to come as well as an idea of why I’ve been so quiet lately.

My publishing schedule right now for 2016:

  • Mutilated Dreams (March)
  • Apex Dreams (November)
  • Untitled Horror Novel – Stand alone ghost story (July)
  • The Dysfunctional Beginning (Unknown)
  • The Dysfunctional Birth (Unknown)
  • Maybe a story (set?) from the Reality side (Unknown, the first draft sucks of this, Malachi just has no personality)
  • Maybe one other Dysfunctional Chronicle
  • And maybe a book of short stories
  • (The bolded ones will definitely be published, the others are all maybes)

My plan for 2017:

  • 6 Dreams & Reality Novels
  • All 3 Death Demon novels (Strachan Spin-off)
  • 3 unknown novels of some sort (I might even climb out of my comfort zone a little with these and try my hand at some new genres)
  • 4 Dysfunctional Novellas

Legacies Awakened (Death Demon Trilogy Book 1)

My seven year old daughter, Lasha, lay on the floor, coloring in a book.  Her head bobbed to music that only she could hear.  The movement made the sunlight dance and glint off her beautiful emerald skin.  Her horns already cast long shadows on the floor in front of her.

Like most little girls, she loved coloring, unicorns, and liked to pretend to be a princess.  Unlike most little girls, her skin left burns when she was angry, she could conjure shadow beings that could attack, and she could talk to the dead.

Lasha was a miracle child, literally.  I had no idea who her father was because I had not been with a man in some time when I found out I was pregnant with her.  Her appearance didn’t help the mystery, because she looked like a demon and only a demon.  Yet, I had never been with a demon.  My last lover had been nine years ago and he’d been a vampire.

She had also been the last child born in the Elder world.  There had been none since I had gotten pregnant with Lasha.  Even the most zealous of breeders couldn’t manage to reproduce.

Some thought it was my fault.  Some thought it was my great-uncle’s fault.  I believed it had something to do with my daughter, but I didn’t know what.

“Mommy,” Lasha looked up from her coloring book.  “Can we go play with Pegasus later today?”

“Sure, honey,” I told her.  Pegasus was an ever present figure at our house.  While he was a winged-horse, he was a giant winged-horse with glistening white feathers and very light gray hair.  He also occasionally ate Elders.  Pegasus could see into the souls of every living creature on the planet and he ate those that had become consumed with evil.  However, he liked to hang out at my parents’ fortress because he liked me.  We were kindred spirits.

In theory, I was a demon/vampire with some witch blood flowing through my veins.  In reality, I didn’t have a single vampiristic power in my body.  Like Lasha, I looked like a pure-bred demon.  Long horns with no hair on my head or anywhere on my body, jewel colored skin, and I was stocky, like my grandfather and his brothers.

Also, like my mother, I had very limited powers.  I could hold a lot of magic, but I couldn’t use much of it.  I could raise the dead, talk to the dead, lay the dead to rest, bring death to anything living, and even read the minds of the dying.  I was a Death Demon.  Which was why Pegasus hung around me, we could both bring death to immortals and like Pegasus, most beings were terrified of me.  I was the only Death Demon to ever exist.

Being connected to death, as I was, I could also feel it coming.  Sometimes, if there were going to be many deaths, I could feel it days or even weeks before it happened.  Two months earlier, there had been a major volcanic eruption of Krakatoa.  It had killed hundreds of thousands of humans, I had felt their lives diminishing for over a week before the eruption.

The last day or so, I’d been feeling it again.  Elders no longer interacted with humans, we hadn’t for over sixty years.  They had essentially kicked us out of their world thanks to my aunt who had built a cult and tried to bring about the end of the world.  Not that it would have mattered, I couldn’t have told that was going to happen to them, just that something was coming.  I wouldn’t even have been able to give them a timeline.

It was unsettling to know that beings were about to die.  There was nothing I could do to alter their course.  I couldn’t heal them.  I was the first demon ever born to not have the innate gift of healing.

“Come on, Munchkin,” my cousin, Ginger stood up from the couch.  “Let’s go see what kind of mischief we can cause while we wait for your mother to get ready.”

My cousin Ginger had no children of her own.  Instead, she had helped me raise Lasha.

©Hadena James 2015

This work may not be reproduced or copied without expressed written permission by the author.

An UpdateOn The Break

Despite the physical mishaps, break is going great!  I feel creative!  I feel productive!  Some of this could be the meds, I am still taking some, although I have replaced the Percocet with Tylenol.  My broken tooth doesn’t hurt, which is amazing.  Although, I have not made it to the dentist.

I’ve finished The Dysfunctional Delivery and sent it to the content editor, who really didn’t like it.  I’m kind of hoping to have it back in a week or so with her notes so I can make it better.

The first Reality book is well underway.  I’m about 12,000 words into it.  Malachi appears to have a guy-crush on Caleb Green and he seems to have zero real personality.  I’m not sure why either of those things have happened, but I’m going to hammer out the story and then he and I will work on the details of his oddness… And I really do mean he and I.  To most, the fact that he’s a fictional character means that he should conform to what I want, but none of my characters bend to my will, because in my mind they are all individual people.  They even talk to me (yes, I know they make meds for that, but it isn’t that sort of problem).

I’m about 10,000 words into Legacies Awakened: Book 1 of the Death Demon Trilogy.  It’s going ok.  I’ve always had issues imaging immortals as “grown-ups”.  If one knows they can live forever, why should they have to be adult-like?  They don’t experience the myriad of things that us poor mortals experience, like loss and if they fail, well they have eternity to figure out how to make it work.  So, while most people think ancient beings would be very wise, I picture them as having the same attitudes as teenagers.

I’ve had some ideas for the next Dreams book, but I haven’t started writing it. I can’t have both Aislinn & Malachi trying to talk to me, I’ll go crazy and possibly start needing the medication for that sort of problem (I can only deal with so many crazies at one time).

And I just finished reading two books; one is called Pawn and isn’t available to the public yet, but was really good.  The other was The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker and it was amazing.  I haven’t read any other fiction books lately… I am reading a biography of Nikola Tesla that isn’t exactly what I expected it to be, the author has made some wild claims about some of Tesla’s “missing years” and “mysterious projects.”

Belladonna Dreams Release Date

So, I’m behind on Belladonna Dreams.  I find myself saying that pretty often anymore. It’s a sign of burnout, while I love Aislinn Cain, I just need to get out of her head for a while. Life and profit are getting in the way of creativity.  Hence, the upcoming break.

In the meantime, I still need to finish Belladonna Dreams.  And I will, as soon as I get back from my much needed vacation.  But at this time, the schedule is off.  Meaning there is no firm release date.  It will be in September, that’s all I can say for sure at the moment.

Not to worry though, as soon as I get some of my other ideas down on paper, there will be more Aislinn Cain novels.  I’m not killing off the series, but I need variety in my life and have discovered that writing only one series is tedious.  In other words, I’m more Dean Koontz than Jim Butcher.

I also don’t have a firm “return” date.  I know I will not publish anything after Belladonna Dreams in 2015, but I don’t know whether I’ll start publishing again in January, February, or March of 2016.  I’m sure it will be one of those months.  I think it will be good for me and for my readers.  There will be more options for reading.  I’m thinking about some Dysfunctional Chronicles, the new Death Demon Trilogy with Callie Strachan as the star, a stand-alone novel or two, and maybe some of the Reality side of the Dreams & Reality novels.

Should be interesting…

Publishing Schedule Changes

I have a ton of small projects started.  I want to write the Death Demon Trilogy (it’s started).  I want to work on some Dysfunctional Novellas.  I want to re-work The Dysfunctional Affair.  I really would like to the start the Reality side of the Dreams & Reality Books.  I have started a stand-alone horror novel (a real horror novel, about a monster, that might turn into horror comedy because I’m like that).

But I never seem to have time.

It dawned on me when I released Battered Dreams that this is silly.  One of the great things about not being tied to a contract is not producing work on a publisher’s schedule.  I can release it on mine.

After much thought, I am sorry to say, that Belladonna Dreams will release in September, but it will be the last scheduled release of this year.  I know everyone is always waiting on the next Aislinn Cain novel and I have people clamoring for the Strachan spin-off (Death Demon Trilogy) or a Dysfunctional Novella… But as much as I write, I can’t seem to get everything written at once and since the Cain novels are always the easiest, I always write a Cain novel.

My hope is that in the next 8 days, I finish Belladonna Dreams.  It will go to the editor and get a cover designed.  It will go to betas after that and then go on pre-sale 1 August.  It will release 1 September.  Or I can push this back if you would prefer and release it in October so you don’t feel like you have to wait as long to get a new book from me… your choice.

Then I will write blog posts and work on these side projects for the rest of the year.  My goal is to get book 1 of the Death Demon Trilogy written and book 2 started (I intend to write all 3 before I start releasing them to the public).  I have learned to hate The Dysfunctional Affair and I know why, so I’m going to work on doing some major revamping (this is by far my worst selling series, seriously, I average 10 sales of the 5 books in one month – meaning if I sell 2 copies of each book, I’m doing good on it – and that is way low considering how many I sell of the other two, in this case sales are an indicator of how much it sucks).  I really want to get my monster book written.  I want to attempt to get at least 2 Dysfunctional Novellas down.  And I really do want to write a Blake book (this may turn out to be a novella or novelette or a collection of short stories & novelettes, not sure I can stay in his head for a novel).  Also, I’m sure I’ll write a Cain book in there somewhere.

So, if everything goes as planned, next year’s publishing schedule will be a little easier for me to handle.  There will be more novellas and novels in my back catalogue waiting for release.  It will also provide you, the readers of said books, with more variety and that is always a good thing.

I’m kind of sad about it, but also kind of happy.  I have been wanting to do all of this for so long and it just never gets done.

Writing In Progress

Yesterday I was asked if I was working on anything new.  Um, yeah, you could say that as long as I am drawing breaths, I’m working on something new.

However, I rarely talk about “what” I’m working on… Usually, I just give the title of a book.  Tonight, I’m divulging what sort of books have been rolling around in my brain.

1.  Belladonna Dreams – It’s about a 1/4 of the way written and will be book 9 in the Dreams & Reality Novels.

2.  While we are on the subject of Dreams & Reality, when I originally decided to publish the first Aislinn Cain novel, I had a plan: Cain novels would all be “Dreams” novels (Aislinn means Dreams), Blake stories would be “Reality” novels.  I haven’t written a Blake novel.  Honestly, I can’t stay trapped in his head that long, it’s brutally painful.  That doesn’t mean I have scrapped the idea entirely though.  Battered Dreams gave me my first idea for a Blake story, but I’m still unsure about the execution of the project.

3.  I do have a Dysfunctional novella written… sort of.  It’s written and I hate it, a lot.  It isn’t funny, the premise is shaky, and the plot is hurried.  I am waiting for my “funny-it-up” person to get to a point in life where she can take a look at it.  Or I need to scrap it and start over, I’m not sure which way to go yet.

4.  The Callie Strachan books, The Death Demon Trilogy, is up and running.  I finally got more than a few paragraphs written.  It actually has 4 chapters.  The problem with any series is starting it, by the time I finish book 2, I tend to hate book 1 (This is true of Dark Cotillion, Tortured Dreams & The Dysfunctional Affair…).  As a result, I may write book 1 and 2 before I publish either of them.  Maybe I will actually like the first book if I can go back and change it after book 2.

5.  Surprisingly, despite all the novels and novellas I write, I still write short stories and flash fiction pieces.  It’s nearly impossible for me not to write every day.  However, there are days when I can’t find my path on any of my novels or novellas, so I pen short pieces to keep the writer’s side of my brain sane.  There are also days when I just don’t have time to commit a thousand or more words to a page, but if I don’t at least get something out, I don’t sleep, those are days for short pieces as well.

6.  Finally, I have been working on a non-fiction book that gives a candid look at life with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  It may not seem like we need one of these, but I have never found a book that made me feel “better” about the condition (most make me feel worse).  They are too clinical or they leave out important stuff.  Originally, the idea seemed ludicrous to me, I’m not a doctor, but then one of the women in my support group told me “it was needed.”  I’ve always been very open about it, even the parts others shy away from… So, maybe she’s right, maybe it is needed, maybe I will make one person feel better.  I don’t know… we’ll see how it goes.

That’s my “in progress” list.

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