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Missing an Old Friend

I never met Lynn Viehl (S.L. Viehl, Paperback Writer) in person but I read her blog for years and years. Way back when Thursday Thirteen and Blogspots were a thing, and long before I ever published anything. It’s how Sherri and I first met – commenting on some of Lynn’s old blog posts!

A lot of what I know and use about plotting and character development came from her posts. I still ask my characters “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” I wished I could find my copy of her write like a cheetah book (it’s out of print now) but I think it disappeared along with one of my old laptops.

Just this week, I was thinking about something I read on her blog years ago. Something about being a quantum writer. So I took a walk down memory lane today and went through some of her old posts. I was always in awe of how fast she wrote, and how she kept her stories so tight and organized.

She did a lot of ghostwriting even back in 2018 when she stopped blogging. I wish so badly that I knew what name(s) she writes under so I could continue reading her books. I loved the Darkyn and StarDoc series so much.

Paperback Writer, wherever you are, I hope you’re doing well and loving life. I’m still trying to be the light.

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Shop is Open!

I did a quick inventory update and will get some additional books ordered in case you’re wanting to shop for the holidays. I do have some shirts that need to be listed, but they’re still packed up from LLS. I’ll try to get to that this weekend.

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Mindset Recharge

I think it’s safe to say that allowing myself to switch projects has re-energized me.

Yes, partially due to being so happy back in House Isador, but my productivity has soared, even with devastating Evil Day Job news last week. I’m a high stability writer, but I’ve still been able to churn out several short pieces for the upcoming Queen Takes Blood prequel.

Coming back to House Isador is like coming home.

Even better, as I write these short prequels for each Blood, I get to go back through their existing scenes in Their Vampire Queen. I’m re-reading their introductions and refreshing my memory on their backstories. For some characters, I’m inventing the backstory since they never really got to have that page time. I’m also making sure that each character has a specific theme song, and I’m including them in the Their Vampire Queen playlist.

Some of the characters are still tricky to get deeper. Mehen and Ezra are prickly, but Mehen has had quite a bit of page time. I feel like I have him down pretty well. Itztli and Tlacel came on page together and just didn’t get a lot of solo scenes. I want to do them justice. Nevarre is tricky for other reasons. But it’s been super fun to figure out what each Blood was doing right before Shara called them to her side.

Each prequel short story is being posted on my Patreon as I finish them. Rik & Daire’s prequel will be available Nov 1st in a BookFunnel anthology that I’ll post more about once it’s live. Once I finish all of the stories–cursing Shara a little for calling soooo many Blood–I’ll make the combined Queen Takes Blood available free to newsletter subscribers, or available at all retailers. More to come on that.

The rest of this week, I’m going to focus on getting more packages out, and hopefully getting my holiday cards ordered. If I have time, I’ll also go through the inventory from LLS and update the shop so I can open it. I know there have been several people asking for some items! I just want to be sure I’m in a good place to get packages out quickly so there aren’t any delays.

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Exit Sign

The universe flashed a neon exit sign at me this week, and my entire perspective has been shifting to a new reality the last few days.

I don’t talk about my Evil Day Job a lot here, other than the fact that I still have one. I’ve been with the same company and team (though the team members have shifted across various sub-teams several times) my entire 27 year career. My coworkers are my friends, even though we live states apart now. When I go up for work, we hang out every night that I’m there because it might be years before I get to see them again.

Of course with any job there are highs and lows. I’ve been unhappy with a lot of my job duties for the past ten years or so. Basically I was asked by a now-gone manager, “What would you like to work on next?” I said, “I don’t care as long as it’s not support. That’s the only thing I DON’T want to do.”

And guess what I’ve been doing since then? Yeah.

The late night calls. 2 AM. 5 AM. One night I was called THREE TIMES with only a half hour or hour in between calls. The instant stress and anxiety when my phone starts ringing because it might be work. Getting up from a deep sleep at 7 AM on New Year’s Day to work for a couple of hours because five other people were called first and didn’t answer their phone. The stress of having to make on-the-fly decisions that could cost the company a lot of money if I’m wrong — when I’ve been dead asleep.

But the people matter to me, and this many years in, of course the retirement benefits matter to me too.

Guess what That Man took 50% of though… So of course, that’s weighing on me. An early retirement means I’d only end up with 25% of where I could have been. But it’s been tempting over the years.

Especially when I’ve cancelled pre-orders or shifted book plans in the past because EDJ work needed to come first. A late-night or overtime week meant that I couldn’t make my writing deadlines. My time is so limited, and my brain power is often consumed by work instead of plotting or thinking about my next book. So when I do sit down to write, I’m slow because I’m still thinking things through.

This far in, though, you think, “I can make it a few more years. I can hit 30. And if I hit that, I can hit 35….” And of course the health insurance is important, both for me and my adult kids who don’t have careers of their own yet. My youngest still has two more years of college that I’m helping her with.

Plus, it’s less frightening to know that I have a constant salary with good benefits, rather than trying to be a full-time writer without any benefits at all.

Until on a random Tuesday in October you find out that all of that is going away. Just like *snaps* that.

The universe hung a flashing neon sign right in front of me. I have approximately 12-18 months left and my career and all the people I’ve worked with for 27 years this December will be gone.

Sure, there’s a chance that they could find a spot somewhere in the company for an old dog like me, but the reality is that my technical skills are limited to the job that I have been doing. I’m not well suited to move to another team with modern technology. I’m only GOOD at the programming language that we’ve worked on for 27 years and that’s going away. Maybe I could take a chance and find an entirely new area of the company to work for. It would likely involve a demotion and pay cut. Is it worth it to keep my benefits? I don’t know. Right now, my gut says no.

My gut sees the writing on the wall and the flashing sign. Exit now. Arrow here.

It’s time to go.

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The Waiting

I know in the scheme of problems, having to wait for something isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s one of things that hit me the hardest. The uncertainty. The constant what ifs. It takes such a toll that I have little room in my head for anything else.

I’m still waiting for news on the latest round of divorce court proceedings to be resolved. No news is good news I guess, but I wish I knew what was going on.

The weight of not knowing hangs over me like a leaden cloud. I trudge onward because I have things I must/want to do. I’m just so. So. So. SLOW.

I had to bump the pre-order date for Evil Eyed again. I have been chipping away at it as regularly as I can but I just can’t seem to make that shift into high gear to power through to the end. Of course that puts me behind on everything else I planned for this year. I can’t work on the final edits for Monstrous Heat until Evil Eyed is done. I can’t get back to Darkness3 until both of these projects are done. But now it’s taking me so long that I need to shift over to Blizzard Bound first or I won’t make that deadline either.

I am deadline driven. But this is getting ridiculous, even for me.

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Shop is Closed

To prepare for the upcoming Literary Love Savannah conference, I’m closing the shop until at least 9/1/2022. Once I’m back from Georgia, I’ll refresh my inventory and list bookware and jewelry that I made for the conference that’s still available.

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ARC Team Interest Form

As you’ve seen the last few days, I’m making a big push to clean up some of my older stories, get them available wide, so I can make an even BIGGER push to wrap up Sunfires and Darkness. 

Because Shara is demanding my attention. Soon. 

If you’d like to join the ARC team and are willing to review BOTH older and newer stories, drop your info in my ARC Team Interest Form. I’ll be looking to add some new Blood in the coming months!

Note: please do NOT sign up if you’re only interested in Shara because it’ll be months before I’m ready to share her yet. Inactive members who haven’t been reviewing other books will be removed from the list prior to her return.

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Long Overdue Overhaul

Once I finally get started on something, it’s hard to call me off!

Since I started working on old backlist books Saturday, I’ve been going ham on all my admin tasks that I’ve been putting off.

  • Re-edit Free My Dragon
  • Re-edit Save My Dragon
  • Fix all the back matter through the Shanhasson series and reformat 4 books plus the boxed set.
  • Which lead to updating my bibliography document with all links (it was really out of date).
  • Fix all the back matter through the entire Connagher series in preparation for loading it wide. Reformat 7 books plus the boxed set.
  • Reload what I’ve already published to KDP, Kobo, and D2D with updates.
  • Update all of the books2read links with as many retailers as possible, especially for audio books.
  • Started hacking up the website, trashing a bunch of old pages that were cludgy or out of date.
    • Broke some stuff because I deleted it lol
    • Rebuilt missing pages and menus
    • Created missing book and series pages. (I still have a few to do but the current ones are updated.)
  • Created a new ARC list form to submit links. Preparing to do some clean up with this big backlist push to wide retailers.
  • Submitted another BookBub – braced for a YES this time! Please and thank you!

I still need to take a look at Their Vampire Queen back matter and reformat. It’s less bad than the really old stuff but it needs to be updated. I also created a mess for myself by changing my mind on how to handle the spinoffs, so I need to clean up my series numbering on KDP.

I’m still waiting on my Google Play and B&N accounts to update and let me publish, but I got my first book pushed through direct at Apple/iTiunes. Definitely needed a how-to guide for that beast! (And yeah I need to fix the blurb – I don’t like how it’s formatted.)

Getting there!

The next thing will be… deciding when to pull Their Vampire Queen out of KU and take it wide. I’m still on the fence on timing, but I’m hopeful that getting all this groundwork done will help me make that decision.