February Check In…

Time for the February check in and it looks like…failure. Or it feels like failure. I’m not sure it was, just not…what I was hoping.

February

Last check in. I wanted to clean up. Yes, and no. I’ve been dealing with hacked bullshit all month. Trying to secure the site, bopping it over the head when it happened again, and addressing the next exposed nerve. Unfortunately, one of the things I was planning to do (spend my best brain power on writing) got co-opted by spending my best brain power on my website.

The other thing a lot of my good, especially creative brain power went to was a large work project that sucked all the creative out of me. But the good news is that it is like 92% done and will be done by the end of March. Woo. It’ll just be uncreative projects after that…? Something along those lines, but I hadn’t realized how much energy that was taking until I put the doneish stamp on it this week and I felt that terror/relief when you send something out into the world. (I hope I’m not the only one who feels terror/relief.)

More visuals! I actually did pretty well at this. Well enough that I got the scary email from Canva saying, Hey! You’re making a lot a lot of pictures. I have been, I’ve also been liking Canva for making them quickly, I don’t want to start spending all my writing time on this, so being able to easily make them is important.

Audio? I did very well, I finished up another story for the Monsters anthology. A handful of podcast episodes done. (I’m very excited to head into Season 2 with some amazing returning authors and wonderful new ones too!)

Writing. 🙁 I just want to leave this as a sad face and call it a loss. Get internet forgiveness and start fresh in March. Speaking of…

March

Writing. I’m putting it at the top of my list. I really want to get back to Stranded. It’s a fantastic story and it deserves my attention. I’m going to carve out some regular time to work on it and actually put it on my schedule. Turn off distractions and dive into working on it. It’s been easy to push it aside when everything else feels more urgent and pressing, having time actually blocked on my calendar for writing Stranded will help a lot.

Visuals! Keep at it. I’m going to be trying to make sure that all my posts and podcasts for Season 2 have images.

Season 2! Starts the first Friday in April. Prep, plan, get excited! Submit! Listen! Enjoy!

Also working toward more of that fantastic terrelief and need to reach out to my cover artist to start working on the set of covers for the Smoke Jumpers series since the first one of that should be ready in April. I’ll need to get the cover done so when everything is back and ready I can compile and send it out into the world.

Is that enough? How was your February?

Monthly Review

Something I want to try to do more or be more transparent, or consistent about is …reviews. So my monthly review.

January

I wanted to try to get some stuff cleaned up, get back into writing more, and get sorted out what my next audiobook project was.

I did do more writing. I’ve been writing/rewriting/editing one of my Smoke Jumper novellas. It is actually going ok. Not perfect, but pretty well. I’m fading in and out on working on it, but I’m getting back into it. In a flash of rage I also wrote a flash fiction which is a phone call from the dystopian future to the present. Take the Call! (And make your own!)

Stuff cleaned up…eh. Not quite so good. I had delays here and there. Stress. Hiding. Too much news. Not enough news. Evenings writing to senators (thanks Amy and Al!) Then blog explosion. Then continued dealing with blog explosion. So basically? Excuses. I will buckle down on this again.

Next audiobook project. No. Frustratingly no. I’m holding out on picking up a project and waiting for the anthology pieces I’ve committed to to come in. I don’t want to be in the middle of something big and get those in. Plus I had 2 weekends that weren’t going to be good for recording. I do have a plan for the next few weekends on what I’ll be doing behind the mic (PODCAST! WOO! 600 Second Saga episodes!).  But I still need to check in with people about other projects.

Other? Politics. News. End of the world. I keep bringing myself back to we are as humanity making progress, if we keep pulling toward the future we will keep making progress. Progress like longer life spans, fewer people dying in wars and murders, better health, better quality of life, etc. We are going the right direction, we just all need to keep moving toward the future which is awesome. Future good.

February

Clean up. I need to clean up my files. Now I need to clean up the website and the back-end structure. I need to clean up some stuff at home. Clean space, visually, physically, and digitally helps a lot. And things are hard so I need all the help pieces I can get.

Reach out to authors. Hi authors! If you’ve considered writing for 600 Second Saga, please do! Please contact me! Please ask questions, I’m happy to answer them. I don’t want anyone to hesitate because they think they can’t do it. I’m getting better (and growing well) reaching listeners but I still can do better, and want to do better reaching out to authors. So, you may see some of that coming up.

I’m also working on creating images to go with each of the podcast episodes. (And I’ll be trying to feature some of the highlights from season one with images too.) More visuals. Also to help me think more about doing a better job of getting onto “paper” what’s in my head as far as visuals go.

Write more! As usual, keep the momentum and build on it. Really dig into Stranded and hopefully finish it up, but even if I don’t, don’t stop working on it. I also plan to shift around when I do things to give myself the best time for writing rather than the best time for other things that don’t require my best brain. Restructuring time will be very good for writing and for helping keep my brain space clean too.

What is your review policy? When do you review what you do?

2017 Goals

So last week I made a post about what I did in 2016. Now it is time for some planning goals for 2017.

Writing

My goals are 2-3 novellas, 5-10 flash pieces, 1 novel.

I’d prefer to say that I know which novel it will be. I’ve been thinking a lot about Jenna’s novel and what to do with it. I may be posting about that coming up. Still thinking.

More Smoke Jumpers pieces are absolutely in the works. One novella will be coming out this spring. I’m very excited about that. I’m hopeful for more Smoke Jumpers, and maybe something unknown as of yet. Who knows what the year will hold for words.

Podcasting

I’m going to keep at it! I love the podcast. I love the opportunity to share wonderful stories from amazing authors. Fully expect to see 52 episodes of the podcast in 2017. (And I’d love to help you share your story with the world. Looking for submissions!)

I want to keep doing what I can to share the podcast and get the word out. More marketing, more guest spots, more everything!

Narrating

My goal is to do 2 novels in 2017. Not sure if my own (unlikely) or someone else’s. I want to finish the Monsters anthology. (This is several (3-4?) more novelette length pieces I believe.) Maybe do a few more novellas (2-3). And pieces of my own of course.

Other

I’m not sure what else I should be doing. I hope this is enough. Read more. Critique more. (Part of the secret of narrating is that it is incredibly intense time with whatever I’m doing, I learn a lot.)

I want to create a better structure around a few writing things.

I also hope that 2017 brings about some kind of writing related surprise that I don’t have fully formed in my head yet. 2016 brought a few of those. (Podcast and narrating and publishing were all new and ranged on the planned/expected spectrum.) I think that something currently unexpected might happen. I kind of hope so. I hope it’s good.

(Not writing related? It could be a rough year in a lot of ways.)

Animals

Here’s your breakish for animals.

Jaguars

Humans have killed 26 Panamanian Jaguars this year from Mental Floss.

Cattle and sheep ranchers are setting up shop in jaguar territory, which puts everyone in a pretty dangerous position. More than half of the forest in the Isthmus of Panama is already gone. The cats are running out of safe spaces to go. And on top of that, humans have moved in on their wild food supply.

Humans are not good at (or depending on your point of view extremely good at) living with the rest of the world.

They survived the ice age. Hopefully, they can survive the human age.

Nova Scotian Blobs

That’s an animal right? Yup! And it is an incredibly cool one. Well many? Bryozoan colony from Doubtful News.

Bryozoan Colony from Doubtful News
Bryozoan Colony from Doubtful News

I love stuff like this. Both super weird to me animals and things that people think are crazy and possibly <ins conspiracy here> but turn out to be something so much cooler! Also I love “zooid” which according to the all powerful Wikipedia is “a single animal that is part of a colonial animal. It it one of those things that gets the gears in my brain turning. Crazy zooid aliens.

Werewolves

Not real animals. Maybe slightly less cool than zooid bryozoan colonies, but maybe easier to turn into fantasy creatures…maybe not. More common to turn into main characters?

An old post about Jacques Roulet and werewolves in France is a great read.

In that year two hunters came across two wolves feeding on the body of a dead 15 year old boy. As they chased the wolves into the forest they came across Jacques Roulet with his clothing in tatters, his hands drenched in blood, and with shreds of human flesh under his fingernails.

BEARDOG

That is all. Go look. Seriously.

Death and Weddings

I’ve been plotting out a Smoke Jumper novella. I’ve been wanting to write a mystery for a while and the idea came to me for a murder set at a destination wedding. So I’ve been researching death and weddings. It’s been…weird.

First the wedding!

I’ve been making a Pinterest board. Just like other Pinterest board makers. Except my thought when I look at something is, “Would this make a good clue?” “Would this make a good red herring?” “How will this factor into the death?” “I wonder which bridesmaid’s dress color will look good with blood?” “What picturesque location would be best to find a dead body?”

Basically, it’ll be a sort of rustic farm wedding, with a dead body and a shape shifter. That’s how most weddings are right?

rustic wedding
Matt MacGillivray

Death and corpses

I’ve seen this making rounds but The Human Body After Death is extremely helpful.

I’m having a poisons problem. Wolfsbane seems WAY to obvious considering that my shifter will be a wolf.

Here’s a list of 10 poisons used to kill people (beware audio – sorry!) The real problem for me is where and what I’d like to use. Poison ivy just won’t cut it. I’m not sure if this poison will be the actual weapon, or a red herring, but I know I need something that is plant based, ideally found in North America, super ideally found in the Rocky Mountains. Hm.

Mysteries

15 Tips from Elizabeth Craig

25 Things You Need to Know from Susan Spann

Really old post but had some good stuff about plotting clues which I’ve been having trouble with.

This (long!) post has some clue examples which is also helpful. Beware it isn’t even for writers, it is for creating one of those mystery dinner things I think. But I really liked the clues section.