Forcing My "Reading Brain" to Edit

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! This week has been a roller coaster ride of awesomeness and busyness and a little bit of frustrated-ness. I got a critique back from one of my CPs and I’m expecting another any day. They both liked StO (yay!) but I still have some characterization to work on (boo!). I should finish the edits on my FE short story today, and I’ll be sending it off to a few new readers who don’t know anything about the FE universe to make sure it’s not confusing as all hell. Why are 100k word books so much easier to write and edit than 5k word short stories? (On the plus side, StO is now just under 100k)

TheEternaFilesI finished ATLANTIA (I’m disappointed to say there were never any mermaids in it, although I liked the ending) and started a CP project that I’m thoroughly enjoying so far. I tried listening to THE CITY STAINED RED audiobook, but as a fantasy there are too many strange names and I need to see the words because I’m a visual person. I’m going to see if I can read the free sample on Nook and hope it gives me enough of an idea of what the names are that I can continue listening to the audiobook without being completely confused. In the meantime I have THE ETERNA FILES to read, and I can’t wait.

I know I’ve mentioned my weird writing cycle before, and right now I’m in the READ EVERYTHING phase of it, which is making edits slower than normal. If I was in my writing/editing phase they’d be done by now, but my brain just isn’t in that headspace right now. The next phase is for video games and HGTV, at which point my editing brain will be utterly useless, so I’m really trying to get these edits done now. Am I the only weirdo whose brain has these very specific phases of when it will work on certain things? I can’t wait for the writing/editing portion to come back around (it should be here around the end of Feb, which is the due date for this round of CPs to get StO back to me. Good planning, brain!)

In any case, I’m off to force myself to finish editing this FE short (if you missed last week’s Fie Eoin Friday it’s a cut scene from the short story) and do more CPing. Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans!

StO Draft Three is Done!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! I finished the third draft of StO this week, and I’m doing a read-through to make sure I didn’t screw anything up before I send it to my next round of CPs. I’m fairly sure the plot is solid, and the characterization in the beginning is much stronger, so I’m hoping this round of CPs can help me really pump up the emotion. After I fix their edits I’ll send it to my grammar/sentence structure CPs for the final polish, and then…query time! I’m really hoping to be back in the trenches by June, that way I can hang out on the beach with a margarita to keep my mind off it 😉

I’m trying to decide what to work on next, and I think I’ll probably end up going back to Fie Eoin for Pike’s Revenge. I’m not ready to work on Nameless again, but I miss home. I can only stay away for so long before I need to get back. Plus, Karigan is my favorite character to write!

In the meantime I’m working on a short backstory for Finn which I plan to post as an FEF soon.

AtlantiaI also started reading Atlantia by Ally Condie, which is not a mermaid book. I don’t know why I assumed it was a mermaid book (maybe because of all the talk of “below” and “above” and “sirens”), but there are no mermaids in it so far. It’s still good, just not what I was expecting. Either way it’s the first book I’ve read since I finished Gone Girl a month ago. Yes, it took an entire month for my brain to get back to reading after that mind-screw.

Speaking of mermaids and such, have you seen this week’s Custom of the Week? It’s a freaking amazing seapony custom that’s so detailed and bright! I’ll have another awesome custom this weekend that fans of Spirited Away should love 🙂

Have a great weekend, Aledans!

On A Roll Again!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! I’m happy to say that I’ve finally made it back into writer-brain, and I’ve finished just over half of Draft Three of StO this week! I’m currently writing a brand new Erie scene, and I’m really liking the changes I’ve made for her. She sounds more mature in this draft, and has actual goals beyond just doing whatever she can to survive (although that’s obviously goal #1). Finn’s still good ol’ Finnegan – he needed toning down on the misogynistic dickishness, but not a complete makeover like Erie did. The first half of the novel needed mostly characterization work, so now the real editing begins *cracks knuckles* Time to get out the axe and delete some scenes!

onelastsong_600x900I spent last night at a fancy dinner to celebrate SK Fall’s (re)release ONE LAST SONG, which is dark and twisty and I love it. We spent the night talking about writing and sex scenes and how amazing the food was at The Oridinary. I seriously ate so much I had a stomachache for a couple hours. A completely worth-it stomachache. There’s nothing better than good food and great conversation with best friends <3

If you missed it earlier this week, both Custom of the Week and Science Tuesday are back for the year. And I have the most amazing custom for you guy this weekend. It’s a seapony and I think you’ll love it just as much as I do!

And one last note, I’ve joined the new social-media site Tsu (because who doesn’t need more to keep up with?). There’s quite a nice little  writer community on there already, so if you want to check it out here’s an invite:

That’s it for this week, Aledans. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of ONE LAST SONG, and remember to stop by this weekend for the awesome seapony custom. Hopefully by the next update I’ll be nearly-done with this draft of StO! Have a great weekend!

Getting Back to the Normal Routine

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s a balmy 26F in Charleston today, which kind of makes me want to punch things. I didn’t move a thousand miles south to deal with this kind of weather! Of course, if I were back home in MI the wind chill would be below zero, so I guess I can’t complain too much. Poor Hubs comes home from a conference in Florida today, where he’s been enjoying warmer weather, and I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he gets out of the car 😉

I think I’ll spend the day in Key West with Finn and Erie to stay warm. I’m slowly getting back into my writer headspace by reading up to the point in Draft Three where I had to stop for the Holidays. Coming back to it with fresh eyes after a few weeks away was probably a good thing, and I’m pleased with the changes I’ve made so far. There’s still plenty to do, though, and I want to get it done by the end of the month.

Since things are getting back to normal around here, I’ll be posting the first Custom of the Week this Sunday, and Science Tuesdays will be back next week! I hope you have an awesome, productive and/or relaxing (whichever you need) weekend, Aledans!

Hops extremely muddy, and extremely happy to get back to the normal routine at the dog park.
Hops extremely muddy, and extremely happy to get back to the normal routine at the dog park.

Happy 2015!

Happy 2015 Aledan Merfolk! I’m back from my holiday hiatus with a new blog theme that’s as bright and cheerful as Erie the mermaid! After spending ten days in the car travelling to and around Michigan, Hubs and I are back home relaxing for the long weekend. We shook our fists at winter last night and had grilled hotdogs and potato salad – summer in January!

The long days on the road kept me brain-dead enough that I haven’t worked on any writing since mid-December, so I’ve mostly been playing Pharaoh on the laptop. I do plan to have the third draft of StO finished and off to CPs within the month, and I’m hoping to have something awesome to read from one of my CPs soon, so I’ll get back to the writer-brain asap.

After I beat this level of Pharaoh. I’ve restarted it four times already!

I hope you all had a wonderfully calm holiday season full of love and laughter. Any big plans for 2015? I’ll be here to cheer you on!

Hanging out by the campfire with Pike the cat.
Hanging out by the campfire with Pike the cat.

Holiday Hiatus

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, Aledan Merfolk! This is just a quick post to let you know I’ll be on a blogging hiatus for the rest of the year. I always forget how busy November and December are at work (who knew nuclear chemistry and retail had the same busy season?), so I need to focus all my energy on the dayjob and the next draft of StO. Three of my CPs sent their critiques back (within 24 hours of each other!) and they all said basically the same thing: StO’s narrative arc is solid, but I have a lot of characterization to work on. I already have a plan to re-write the first chapter, and plenty of changes to make in the middle, and I think this draft is going to be really solid.

I’ll see you next year, Aledan Merfolk, and I’ll have a new blog theme based on Erie! Have a safe and happy holiday season 🙂

Erie is even more beautiful in person!
Erie is even more beautiful in person!

#ScienceInSF Guest Post

Happy Wednesday, Aledan Merfolk! I’m happy to say I’m cruising along on the re-write/edit of the first four chapters of StO. The first chapter is finished, and I’m working on the horrible third chapter right now (third chapters are always my difficult chapters). The second and fourth chapters have their fixes plotted out and written on stickies. I hope to be finished by the end of the week, but that’ll depend on how this bar scene in the third chapter goes.

But that’s not really why I’m posting on a random Wednesday. I’m here to tell you Dan Koboldt invited me to write a guest post for his Science In SF series and it posted today! It’s all about Proper Lab Technique – if any part of your novel takes place in a laboratory, check it out and make sure you aren’t misusing a pipette in those scenes. Trust me, as a scientist reading your book things like that stick with you 😉

I didn’t have a chance to get Science Tuesday up yesterday, so I’ll be posting it tomorrow instead. All of Octobers best science news, all in one place on my blog!

I Have a Brain Cloud (and the final day to vote in #PonyFest14!)

Happy Friday Aledan Merfolk! I disappeared for most of the week because I caught the monster cold that’s been going around (apparently the whole country, because I had friends in Maryland and California and a cousin in Colorado with the exact same symptoms), so if you were wondering why your social media streams were suspiciously absent of PonyFest14 nonsense, you can blame my two-sizes-too-big head.

Speaking of PonyFest14 – today is the last day to vote! You have until midnight EST today (Friday) to chose your favorite design here! The winners will be announce Sunday, although I already know who won the Judges Panel vote >: )

And if you missed my post a week ago: I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF SPEAK THE OCEAN!!!

Mermaid tail ring from Juliana <3
Mermaid tail ring from Juliana <3

The excessive celebration last weekend may be the reason my immune system was so compromised that I was able to catch such a nasty cold 😉 But if that’s the case? Well worth it. Next week I’m going to re-write a couple chapters in the beginning that need work, and do a read-through for typos and easy-to-fix edits, then send it off to my lovely CPs to rip into shreds 🙂 I do so love getting a shredded manuscript back!

And this is pretty much all that my brain-cloud can take right now. Time for some lunch and hot tea to sooth this throat. Don’t forget to vote!

Speak the Ocean is DONE! (Well, the first draft is…)

Happy Friday night/nearly Saturday morning, Aledan MERFOLK! I’m happy to announce I just wrote the final scene in the first draft of SPEAK THE OCEAN! It took far longer than I ever expected to write this draft, but I’m hoping it’s stronger than most of my first drafts. I can see plenty of weak places already, and I’ve already been told I need to re-write Chapters 3 and 4, but if I don’t have to completely scrap it and re-write the whole thing four times like I did with NAMELESS I’ll call it a win 🙂

So have a song that always makes me think of my mermaid, Erie, to celebrate:

Nearing the End of StO!

Doctor Who nails have nothing to do with this update.
Doctor Who nails have nothing to do with this update, but I loved them!

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! The summer rush finally hit us at work (after all the interns return to school) and I’ve been busy writing writing writing, so I haven’t been on the blog much lately. Except to announce PonyFest14, of course! If you’d like chance to win a custom My Little Pony based on your novel, check out the link. It’s a super fun contest 🙂

I completely forgot to sign up for #WriteMotivation this month, but I’ve been pumping out the words despite it. I’ve made it through the climax and the resulting super-emotional scenes of StO and now I’m only seven or so scenes away from the happy ending! Happy compared to most of my books, at least.

I also have an awesome new CP who’s already ripped apart the first four chapters for me to put back together again. AND he ripped apart the first three chapters of Nameless and found the problem behind the “I just didn’t fall in love with it” comments I’ve been getting. So once StO is off to critters I’m thinking I’ll tackle Nameless one more time (I know, I’m crazy).

That’s it for me, Aledans. I hope you have a great weekend, and don’t forget to join PonyFest14!