Tag Archives: alternate history

Published: Behind the Scenes (June 2018)

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Well, it’s been a while since we’ve had an update with this! Partially because hey it turns out debuting brings out a whole plethora of various doubts and weird quirks you didn’t know you had, made especially worse if you already struggle with these things. But also because not a lot has really happened. It is pretty mind-boggling how slow publishing works. But I digress.

If you’re not caught up: I sold my New Adult alternate-history fantasy series late 2016 to Glass House Press. Since then, I’ve been detailing my journey of what goes on behind the scenes for fun, but also in the hopes that someone might gain some benefit from it. My publishing journey will obviously be different than someone else’s, but there might be some inspiration or advice in my tale.

Just in case you need it, here is:

The last time I wrote on this subject, I spoke a bit about marketing in my perspective, and the start of designing Pridem’s cover.

Some updates about that! Pridem’s cover is still in the works. It’s hopefully going to be done in a couple weeks. We hit a few snags with designers, but I’m still very excited about what’s happening. There’s a lot of excited-waiting in publishing, that’s for sure.

Hell, if you’re interested, I’m going to be revealing sneak peaks in my newsletter that you can sign up for here. (You’ll also get snippets from Pridem and other goodies.)

Which leads me into marketing updates! I know, the concept of marketing is super scary. It’s sounds like a really dry, painful thing to do, and it’s not writing.

Honestly, I’m finding a lot of things about marketing is pretty fun (I think I’ve mentioned this before). Because while you’re going to have to put in a lot of work to make yourself successful as an author, I’m pretty against the idea that you have to do things you absolutely hate just because everyone tells you that you need to. In the same vein, it’s easy to get sucked into all of the information you can learn and have.

Maybe that’s me; I tend to get obsessive about something when I know I need it and it’s remotely interesting. And marketing is the kind of thing that never ends, so I’m fast reaching the burn out stage of it instead of just learning and moving on.

It’s causing a weird shift in my writing. Because I’m focusing on the Business side versus the Creativity side of authorship (as I should, but also, maybe a little on the unhealthy side), I think my approach to writing has changed. And it’s kind of uncomfortable.

I’ve heard that this is pretty typical. When you move from Writer to Author status (whatever that really means), you have to think about actually selling the books you write. For me, I wasn’t thinking about an audience or selling books for a looong time. I wrote because my skin itched if I didn’t. I wrote because the pictures in my head were so vivid I had to write it down. I wrote because it was an escape and a comfort. I was also a kid when I started writing, so most of my experience takes place in the fury and passion of teenagehood. Needless to say, this change to the reality of authoring may be particularly harsh.

I think the truth of it is you have to find a balance (my favorite word!) between the business and the creativity. Or maybe a more accurate word is a harmony. Because focusing totally on one or the other isn’t going to help garner success.

Well, I’d been figure out this harmony damn quick, because it seems to be having a very tumultuous effect on the actual writing part of writing. I realized the other day that I haven’t finished writing a book since I signed with Glass House Press. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, because before that I was fast on my way to finishing two books a year. The anticipation and excitement and frustration is immense, and I think I’m letting the stress of being successful overshadow all. Honestly, getting my book out is starting to become a relief simply because all this exciti-waiting is taxing.

Actually, hold up. I have completed a book since then. PRIDEM was completed under the guidance of my editor early last year (duh). That was my shortest novel yet, and it was under deadline, so that was definitely a different kind of getting a book done! I guess more accurately, I haven’t finished writing a novel in over a year.

I don’t think I can blame all my problems on debuting, however. There are a few personal issues that have cropped up over this time period, along with learning how to manage a mental illness and straight up learning how to be a friggin’ adult.

I think I might have had some unreal expectations about what writing would look like once I was an adult. As a homeschooled teenager, I could write as soon as I finished my work. In college, it was busier, but about the same. Now… with all this responsibility and my body saying hello to late 20s and life and adulting, writing time has to be squeezed out between responsibilities and exhaustion.

(Actually… I did delve into our perceptions of what an author’s life looks like in a blog post found here)

I wanted to mention this in my official Behind The Scenes In Publishing series because I think there should be some warning about how long publishing takes, and how much it messes with your head when it comes to creativity. You may not have as much of an issue – god, I hope you don’t! – but I did want to give a heads up.

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Jumping around a bit, I have a piece of advice I want to impart:

When you debut, I HIGHLY recommend that you find a debut-authors-of-your-year group and join. I joined #Authors18 late last year and it’s been a whirlwind partnership of advice, guidance, general support, and commiserating. Debut author groups are all in a similar situation of needing reviews, help, and someone to listen – often, everyone is willing to help you out if you’ll help them out. And it’s a serious boost to know people who are going through the same stresses you are.

Also! In case you haven’t seen from social media or from my newsletter, I got a pretty author logo:

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This is actually a present from my publisher, because GHP is super awesome. But I think it’s pretty dang cool and I’m glad to be using this to tie my writing presence together!

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Final updates:

My editor and I touched upon development edits in the actual content of Pridem. She’s trying to ease me in slowly and develop a good working relationship, so she sent me a taste of the first few pages instead of an overwhelming chunk. I’m already loving her insights and how she’s pointing out things I’ve overlooked, though I’m so hungry to really dive into it! She’s very good about layering in compliments along with suggestions for improvement.

Either which way, I’m so ready to make this book the best it can be. It might be easier to tear this book apart because it was technically written at my editor’s behest and isn’t as close to my heart as the rest of the series, but I’ve also been readying myself for constructive criticism for a long time. I’m itching to do this.

Oh, speaking of the whole series, it has an official name. My editor and I worked out a name for the whole series based off of some particularly crucial world-building events and overall themes, and it is officially: The Obsidian Divide series. I think it’s unique and catchy enough to do the job!

And! My editor and I almost have the back cover copy and tagline done (back cover copy: what’s on the back of the book that makes people want to read it). So I’ll be revealing the official description of Pridem and what to look forward to as soon as I’m able. (I have an unofficial version on my blog’s front page “Home” if you want to check that out.)

That’s probably where I’m going to end things, because this is getting pretty long already. I’m hoping to have cover updates and edit updates here in a month or so, and I’ll detail all those adventures next time!

 

If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all my adventures and get sneak-peaks into my New Adult alternate-history fantasy, sign up here!

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A Change for AwakeDragon

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All right, so this week’s post is going to be short and sweet. Because I want to highlight a change happening to AwakeDragon.

I’m adding a whole new page, which will be set as the front page, consisting of a colorful and exciting description of my upcoming New Adult alternate-history fantasy series. I’d like to have a central place where all the info for my writing can be found, and really highlight it!

Instead of my blog posts holding the place of honor, my series is going to be the first thing seen when visiting my website. Not only because it’s awesome and amazing and you should totally read it when it’s here, but because it gives a more complete picture of who I am as an author.

Sooo… go check it out. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


“I am a White Writer”

I haven’t said much as the writing community attempts to cut open the festering, repulsive ulcer of racism and sexism in an attempt to heal and change. I’ve tried to be supportive, and listen, and pay attention to what is happening in the world. I’ve digested and pondered and discussed and…

The fear I now face is that I may never completely understand. I’ve never been the victim of abuse due to my gender or my skin. Even being a women, when my female peers talk about scary men and abuse and being insulted for their sex, I’ve never felt in danger because of a man. I don’t know if it means I am that sheltered or that lucky. Men have always been a source of comfort for me; my fathers, both biological and step father, both compassionate and well-meaning men; my loving partner; the older and younger men in my life, who have stood as friends and guides.

I listen to the world, and hear that remaining quiet about racism is wrong. I listen, and hear that defending authors of color is wrong too, because it’s my white privilege allowing me to have a voice louder then their’s. I listen, and hear that I can’t talk about the plight of women of color, because it’s my white privilege that allows my voice to be heard.

I listen, and I see the terrible hate that seems to come from everywhere, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know if I’m supposed to do anything.

This post isn’t supposed to be all about me, but it’s the only thing I know I can speak of without hurting or offending someone. I read an article about a man who hesitated most of his life to speak up about sexism, to be “that kind of man,” the one who uses his privilege to speak for the trampled sects of society. It gave me hope even as it destroyed it, that I, a white writer, could… do something.

He said that no matter what, speaking about issues such as these, it’s going to offend someone. He said it was inevitable. That everything was trial and error until someday we get it right.

My best friend is a bi-sexual woman. My partner is a gorgeous Filippino/Native American man. They both me stories of sexism and racism. Sometimes weekly. Or daily. It’s not like I don’t hear, or I don’t see.

I’m scared of it all. I’m scared I’m a worse person than I thought. I’m scared the hatred and pain will suck me in, and it’ll be all I can see, and I’ll become bitter and hating, too. I’m scared I’ll be able to do nothing.

The main character in the series I am writing is a part Romani — Gypsy — young woman. I didn’t choose her race because I wanted to create a non-white character. I don’t remember the exact point where I chose Romani, but I wanted her family’s history to be nomadic, outcasts, a little secretive, and a little magical. The Romani fit.

Yet. Her father is white. Her mother ran away from the Romani lifestyle to marry her father. Rumors follow her grandmother of an affair with a non-Romanian. My main character is ethnically Romanian, but she’s gadji — not living true to her culture. Raised in a white privilege household, she might as well be white. Because race isn’t just a skin color, it’s a culture and a history, and of that, she has little from her ethnicity.

I don’t address racism issues as a core theme, at least not in the first book. Sexism shows up as a theme, as a barrier to my main character’s goals. Maybe because it’s easier to write. Maybe because when I was first writing the series, that was issue swirling most in what I read.

Maybe my de-emphasis of her heritage is racist. Maybe I should be pushing it, showing more truths, educating the world on the reality.

But can I, without making it all worse?

Can I, without readers and reviewers screaming that I did it wrong?

My genre is alternate-history fantasy, which means I can play with history and time and culture, both as a plot device, and, as an excuse if I screw up. But I don’t want to it to be an excuse. If I do this, I want to do it right.

But more than that, should I? Am I, in my white privilege, simply showing my entitlement, or actually making the world a little bit better? Is it even my right to do so?

 

UPDATE:

After I wrote this, I got some responses and ideas to ponder. The basic gist was: write about diversity, but don’t write AS BEING gay/trans/POC/disable/etc if you’ve never experienced it. Let the people who have experienced it talk about it, and support them.

I don’t know if it should be the rule; ‘write what you know’ has never been my favorite advice. But at the very least it’s a starting point.

I’m still figuring out what that means for the character I mentioned above. But for now, I’ll do my best to be respectful and do what a writer does best: explore the unexplored, imagine the impossible, and touch the heart of humanity.