Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Solar System, Galaxy, Universe, Oh My!

How do you decide how far out your sci-fi story is gonna go? (Totally assuming you write sci-fi…of course, we all know what assumption will make out of you.)

So far, I haven't gone out of the Solar System…well once for a short story, but it was a super quick reference and no more was said about it. In Revelations of Tomorrow, I've been trying out a world build where civilization has grown to plant themselves throughout the Galaxy. There are lots of references and people mingled in who've traveled in from other regions. Like The Black Rose concept. (It's the story where a couple of medieval men head off into the wild unknown of China to explore the wonders and mystery, only to return and have no one believe them.)

Even with this concept, however, the actual story stays within one region of the Solar System. (Think a slice of pie - or bit of crumb - within a slice of pie, if you will.) This is because the pure concept of a single story crossing throughout the galaxy is just so over-consuming it boggles my still Earth-based mind.

Now, Saturday night I had a weird dream. It was about characters in Revelations of Tomorrow, but the story itself was different. All Sunday morning I tried to push what I thought was a subplot into my plot line. No matter which way I worked it, molded it, meld it, meshed it, or mashed it, it just wouldn't fit. Then my Einstein moment (don't laugh…I can hear you) smacked me as smartly as a Dallas character.

It may have been the series discussion I was participating in with some of my publishing house author buddies, but here it is: I think I might have actually spawned my very first viable series!

Once that thought binged me in the brain my Muse was off and running like she O.D.'d on Red Bull. Being so excited about this series thing, I eased my timetable a bit to allow a little planning on my idea for a book 2. This will allow me to explore writing throughout the galaxy - who knows, maybe even the Universe - without over stressing about the feasible technology so much.

I think that's why sci-fi lends itself so well to series, operas, and mega books. The world is so huge, depending on the level you build (solar system, galaxy, or universe). I mean, just within our little solar system things are millions of miles apart…millions…with a longggggg S. We're not talking a plane flight from here to China people.

Things just can happen within a few Earth days. Imagine how bored you get in just a 4 or 5 hour flight? Keeping a story interesting during a travel multiplied by goodness knows how much and you got to have some serious skill.

Well, that's my tidbit of randomness for today.

Good writing all!

Friday, August 27, 2010

SFR Publisher Showcase

Hi all!

Just FYI, I did my first blog over at SFR Brigade. Well, Gail Delaney answered the questions and Laurie Green really put the final touches on and really snazzed it up. If you have time, head over and check it out.

Desert Breeze Publishing: Showcase

Good writing all!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Author Page is Up

Hi all! Super excited. Checked this morning and found my Author Page is up at Desert Breeze Publishing. Wow, this is getting more real every day.

I need a breath here...and a little less coffee in the morning.

Manuscript preparation is going well on Duty and Devotion. I should be ready to send it to my Editor by the end of August, maybe first week of September if things get crazy at the Norris household. (Most likely, things will get crazy.)

I'm also still moving on the revisions with Revelations of Tomorrow. It's going a bit slower, but still heading in a good timeline. I should have the first draft completed by beginning of November. Then it's straight editing time. I'm hoping to have the manuscript completed by January.

Okay, that's the update from this edge of space.

Good writing all!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cover Image

I did it. I completed the publisher's cover art image input worksheet. It was a long 10 - might have been 11 - pages of my thoughts on the cover art for Duty and Devotion. It was grueling.

Not because I had no idea of a book cover, but because over the years I've had a million. There are so many ways a story can be portrayed visually. One thing I don't envy, the cover artist's job. She has to take a 200 page book and design a single teeny image that will convey the whole story and attract readers.


Now, I have to call on my patience - which left in the early 90s during the Nirvana phase - and wait calmly to see what Jenifer comes up with. If it's anything near the quality of the other books she does for Desert Breeze Publishing books...it'll all be snazzy as a Sunday BBQ.

Good writing all!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

You Remember...Remember?

Decades. Duty and Devotion has been with me for decades. It started out the passionate whims of a teenager. The plot and characters nothing more than a preconceived idea of what adult life is like. Over the many years, it was rewritten several times, tucked away for several years, and reborn out of those childish dreams. What came to be was a story I'm both proud of and something I think will resonate with many readers. (Cross those fingers....Hurry! Hurry!).

I knew I'd done what I could and what would come of it was up to the Publishing Gods. Either it would stand on its own and sell, or fade quietly into my fondest memories. Well, thankfully it was picked up and will be shown to the world. It's one of my greatest prides. So, when I got my first editing tasks, I found myself feeling a little weird. Making the needed changes for the publishing house as been easy...no heartbreak. No devastation. Just...easy.

I'd moved on, and though I look at it fondly, my very being is no longer attached to the story. I gave it everything I could, and now it's a partnership between the editor, copy editors, cover artists, and I to polish the last bit of rough spots and send it out into the world.

It's not my toy anymore and I'm okay with that. I think it's a good sign for a writer to know when they are truly ready to reach that next step. When they realize that the final product is not just theirs, but a team effort.

Just my thoughts on it any-who. And now, I can look back at the story and point to my hubby. "You remember when this was THE story? You remember...remember?"

Good writing all!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Order in the House

The little Project Manager inside me woke up this morning and just about had a heart attack. Poor little guy saw the workload, dropped his coffee all over his new shoes, and keeled over faint. Once he regained consciousness, the little man got out his mental project board and started shuffling, panic still in his fierce little eyes.

He even created a list:

Publication preparations for Duty and Devotion. Lots of requirements sent over by the Editor in Chief (heehee, that's so cool to write/say). Author information sheet, cover art input sheet, manuscript preparation checklist, house style modifications, and banners and images to put on my Internet world. This all before the real editing phase begins and I cry a flood of tears from the Editors first scratches onto my work.

Completion of Revelations of Tomorrow. Halfway finished with round one revisions. I have two more focused revisions before the editing phase begins. This means I must prepare for and schedule two more rounds of research and several mini writer meltdowns.

Blogging. Blogging keeps me sane. Blogging keeps me on the path. Blogging is fun. I need to ensure I do a minimum of two blog entries a week. I've been really having fun with daily posts, but realistically I'll probably be riding near the minimum for the next six or so months.

Okay, three major headers with many activities in each. Project Manager created a worksheet.

First Column: Major tasks
Second Column: Subtasks
Third Column: Estimated hours/days needed to complete each subtask
Fourth Column: Date Needed by
Fifth Column: Completed Y/N

Now my little Project Manager is happy as a lark and my Muse can continue on with her business of creativity. And me? Well, I don't lose my mind.

Good writing all!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Did It!

OMG (yes...you can add the valley girl accent 'cuss I'm geeking out THAT much).

I just got an offer on Duty and Devotion from a great epublisher. I don't want to give details until it's official and the contract is all signed, but I just wanted you all to know.

I'd banned myself from the Internet this evening to focus on Revelation of Tomorrow revisions. Yes, on my old laptop, which was making some weird noise...sounded just like a cough. (It was totally weirding me out ya'll.)

In walks my Hubby like a knight and shining armor, carrying my fixed laptop. Not only fixed but he surprised me with an operating system upgrade to the new Windows 7. I had to explore and check it all out....soak it all in.

I open up my email and there is the new message glaring on the screen. I was so happy I almost didn't open it tonight. As a writer you get a little jaded, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. It makes the process easier. I didn't want to ruin my good mood with a rejection.

But, I was happy enough to throw caution to the wind. There it was, an extended offer.

*WARNING: Cliche about to be written. Avert eyes if allergic.*

I had to read it a second time before I really believed it. Then a third before the delayed excitement smacked me in the face and tickled my eyeballs.

I'm a published novelist (or will be next summer)! I'll post details as soon as the contract process is completed.

Good writing all!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Those Darn Obstacles

Things aren't going well with my revisions. Am I having revision issues?? No. Am I having time constraint issues?? No

Then why aren't things going so well since Sunday evening? You might ask.

Because my laptop decided to hop on the crazy train. It has drunk the electronic kool-aid. I must now pull out my older laptop. But can I just dive in and continue on my happy-frickin'-way?

No, no, no.

My older laptop does not like my shiny new version and won't open the documents. So now, this evening, I must change my files to an older version. (Thank goodness I emailed them to myself when the new laptop started acting loopy.)

We all get obstacles. This one I can beat. If not, I'll take my mental explosives and blow it sky high. Or, if I want to be reasonable, I'll walk around it....nah. I like the boom part of explosions, even mental ones.

Good writing all!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Re Vision

I had it all laid out. I thought the creature planet scenes were outlined just how I wanted them. They fit the vision I had...and they didn't work. Re-reading it, I realized two things:

  1. The order of events were not natural
  2. The action and reactions of both the characters and the creatures were wrong
Okay, okay. Not a major disaster. I'll just grab the scenes, throw them onto my revision document and rework it a little bit.

Uh...the scenes equalled 13K words. Oh boy. 36 hours later I had cut of 5K words from original, added 6K new words in, performed a complete wobble shuffle of scene order, and totally reworked 2 main character's motives.

You'd think I'd feel frustrated, disappointed, and discouraged. You'd be wrong. I'm feeling exhilarated, content, and productive. A year ago I would've felt all those first ways, but I've learned some things on this journey.

The writer's original vision of a story is not always going to be the final vision. Sometimes it is, but for the most part it's just the spark. That spark is just a spontaneous moment of idea, either through an "ah-ha" or a dream. You as the writer need to take the spark and mold it into a real story, which means some parts of the spark have to be revised to be true to the overall theme, motive, and reasoning.

So remember, look beyond your inspired moment to see the real story beyond.

Good writing all!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Groovin' Along

I can't help it. I'm in a good mood. My Revelations of Tomorrow revisions are going well, the characters are clicking (or not clicking depending their dynamics), and the subplots are weaving nicely with the main plot. Even the red pen and I are happily getting along.

Yup, AR's a happy writer at the moment. Of course, all us writers know it won't last. It's inevitable that the bumps and walls will come. I'll be cruising down the creative highway and BHAM, my imaginary sports car will crash right into it.

There will be blood, gore, and all around grossness. My hair will be in tufts, my eyes blood shot, and a look of confusion and frustration etched on my face. Maybe I'll climb out, turn around in wonder at how fast it happened. Or, maybe I'll be stuck in that imaginary sports car when the sparked gas fire reaches the engine and KAPOW! Eek, I hope it's not a convertible...

Sorry, my imagination got away from me for a second, but I'm back (sort of).

For now I'm going to enjoy the scenery, the curving roads, and the speed. I mean, I don't want to be an frumpy grumpy pessimist or anything.

Good writing all!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


During a discussion with my writer buddies, in which we wondered the latest evolution of vampires, I realized how much I missed my evil vamps. They were the core of horror, the kings of death, and led the pack on human destruction.

Enter cheesy 80s music...Where have all the bad vamps gone?

It clicked. I'm going to write up my evil vamp and bring the true origins of vampire lore back to life...at least for me. I've been so out of the loop on vamps since their sissy-fication that I'm not sure the market for scary vamps anymore. It may never make it to market, but I'm going to try.

I have to finish edits on Revelations of Tomorrow, but in my downtime I'm going to develop and outline a story.

Good writing all!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sorcerer's Carnival Finds a Home

I just heard that Pill Hill Press accepted Sorcerer's Carnival for their Bloody Carnival Anthology!
There's such a sense of accomplishment when a story finds just the right home. Pill Hill Press is one of my favorite places to work with. It's hard not to be happy with a writer/editor relationship when the editors are so efficient and nice.

Sorcerer's Carnival holds a little special place for me because the idea actually sparked from my eldest son, Parkour Boy.

"Mom, what if your characters get stuck an a hell carnival some wacko sorcerer created?"

And off my creative little muse went...along with creepy big nightmares. (I'm the perfect horror audience member as I'll scream full volume at anything.)

The end result was Sorcerer's Carnival. Sorcerer Barabin, trapped for centuries, is working to gain the power to free himself from his dimensional prison...and he's only got two more souls to go. A fun evening at the carnival turns dark and dangerous for Lilia and James when they find out they're Barabin's final selections.

The submission period is open until filled, so I'll let you know when they set a publication date. I'll also keep you posted on the progress of the anthology as I get news.

Good writing all!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Red Pen (Enter Scary Music)

Yes, a weekend of revisions and even though most is additional information from my research, the red ink is like blood dripping from wounded pages.

It's progress, it's exhilarating, and it's....messy, red, smugged, wrinkled, with a drip of chai tea on page 16.

I know I'm not the only writer that does this, but when you print the first draft (yes, I print them the first couple rounds. I know bad AR, bad!) they're all crisp and clean and shiny new, new. I place them lovingly in my purple file folder. I may or may not hug it at this point...you'll never know.

Okay, okay. I do hug it. It's a reminder to myself that I love this work, even though in the hours and days that follow it'll pretty much be nothing but carnage with a few scraps left of itself.

Hopefully after the plastic surgery is complete, the wounds healed, and the dressings removed it'll be a better version.

Of course, that means I must do it all over again, and again...and again (Billy Murray in Groundhog Day flashes anyone? Anyone?)

Good writing all! (And lots of fun slaughtering - er - revising!)