Superpowers & Secret Identities

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Seattle Public Library, well done

Seattle Public Library, well done

I’d long suspected that my superpower was talking for hours without ever stopping to breathe, or maybe having just the right piece of unexpected trivia to sprinkle into a conversation because I am promiscuously curious about absolutely everything. Turns out, it wasn’t these things at all. It would appear that my gift is giving the outward appearance of calm and confident determination 97% of the time.

I  suspect the perception percentage varies on how well you know me, but for the sake of accuracy I’d like to correct that average to 56.6~. That contains a confounding factor of  +/- 12% relative to how clueless I am about what I’m facing. Everyone is confident when they don’t know their parachute is empty right?

It’s been a year since I pulled the plug on the release of Broken Wave the second in the Crytpid Coterie series, and in that time I’ve been functioning as though I did not choke and that I will write dozens of novels any day now. I’ve traveled a lot. I’ve blogged some, and I’ve gone back to my paranormal Seattle universe again and again, hoping to see it clearly. Some days, I would consider a single sentence a success, and others I would cut a whole chapter and sigh with relief because it needed to be done. And all that time, I was still a writer.

I am once again stepping up to the plate with Broken Wave, and putting Girl Out of Water on sale today in the meantime. What I’ve learned in the last year, through my own experiences and reading other authors, is that the tortured Writer Pain of “I suck, I don’t know what I’m doing, and I am a terrible fraud” never goes away for anyone.  OK maybe a few people, but nobody likes them. The rest of us are humming along, secure in the knowledge that we’re fucked but making a go of it.

When I started writing novels  (working on my third at the moment), I thought the woman at the keyboard was my alter ego. I believed she was my juicy secret that made me interesting. The more comfortable I’ve gotten with creating and owning my identity as an artist, I figured out that I’d bought my own cover story. The rule-abiding goddess of multi-tasking efficiency who works too much and runs my life? She’s the real secret identity.

Theres a danger in believing your own facade. Just as those who know me perceive my perfectionist streak as the real me, when I believed it too, I limited my growing process as a writer and took the setback of a missed deadline way too hard. Writer me wants to give that Winifred a cookie, a cup of coffee, and a very short pep talk: “Writers write.”

That’s it. That’s the whole thing. If you’re doing that, at whatever pace, you’re a real writer, no matter what you tell yourself on a bad day.

This writer will be celebrating her second book release with a meme worthy video post, and merchandise you can use to express your love for Tabitha, her friends, and her nightmares. There’ll also be an exclusive free download of the story of Minnie Gagle Yesler. Subscribe already yeah?

The MixTape

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I’m starting to feel the heat of the Broken Wave deadline. In a good, “I will not let this sequel become vaporware” kind of way. When the writing gets real, I reach for my headphones. Music is an integral part of my everyday life and my creative process. I wouldn’t attempt to write a book without music anymore than I’d agree to a single minute at the gym without a playlist. It’s my preferred way to push through to the finish line.

As a blerd my musical appetites are diverse, sometimes unexpected, and intense. Judge my taste all you want Internet, cause I can’t hear you over the awesome.

When I wrote Girl Out of Water, I tried something new: making a core playlist for each POV character. So when I switched from the Tabitha chapters to the Irene chapters, I’d switch up the music too.

The combined Girl Out of Water playlists were almost 1000 songs strong, but here are some of the highlights.

Favorites from the Tabitha chapters of Girl Out of Water

Favorites from the Irene chapters of Girl Out of Water

These tracks are for the drafting process which tends to be more subtle and plodding as does the music.  The music I listen to during drafting registers in the faintest possible way. It’s almost a security blanket, but it has to be present in order for me to feel right even if I’m not consciously focused on it. Broken Wave’s initial draft was split between Seattle’s cryptid history and how that affected Tabitha’s time, so the playlist included a lot of classical music and instrumental. It’s shifted slightly more contemporary since that focus has been cut.

Broken Wave Playlist Highlights

Editing is where I get complicated. It’s not that the Lilith Fair-ness of it all goes away during editing, it’s just outnumbered and overpowered by EDM, arena rock, and yes Reader, Kanye by the pound.

There are only 47 days until the release of Broken Wave, expect more dispatches about the struggle right up until the deadline.

W

Pre-order Broken Wave Now

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Pre-order your copy of  Broken Wave (Cryptid Coterie Book 2) on Amazon now, available everywhere July 28, 2015

What Had Happened Was…

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I totally blew my deadline for Broken Wave. In fact, I’m still in the process of blowing that deadline, as much as I am simultaneously in the process of correcting the matter by wrestling my manuscript daily. Let me explain.

Working an obscene amount of hours at my day job while moving across Seattle to better facilitate that workaholism didn’t help, but truthfully gentle Reader, that’s not why Broken Wave isn’t yet ready for purchase. As ever, the reasons are writer angst, procrastination, and “Is this good enough? No? Ok, how exactly do I fix that?” The story at its core, has stayed the same, but I’m not sure about a few choices I’ve made, and if I change them, I have to change the whole damn book, and possibly the next book in the series as well.

The only way I fail is if I stop completely right?

The only way I fail is if I stop completely right?

To punish myself for missing my publication deadline, I’m sending myself on a mini sabbatical into writing exile. Abroad. For 26 days. I hope that when it’s over, I return from Sweden and Norway with more confidence in my creative decisions, and clarity in general. I need to turn my routine upside down a bit, and delicious Scandinavian coffee brewed to exacting preference, fjords, and Viking ships are just the ticket. To further atone I will make travel porn posts, put Girl Out of Water on sale, and talk to myself quite sternly about the importance of sweat equity for the dream. I’ve always known that I don’t need a precious loft, a fancy trip abroad, Moleskin notebooks, or any tools in particular to write. I’ve discovered that I do need time to wander away mentally, to daydream the “What Ifs” that fuel my fingers at the keyboard, free from a thousand urgent requests and tasks that must be done right now. I might also need rain. I don’t like trying to write in beautiful weather. Fortunately for my production, it is once again Fall in Seattle. When I return, expect at least a novel excerpt. I will release Broken Wave sharpish, if only to introduce you to Ursalynn Wade, who talks to me at all hours of the day and night.

A special thanks to Meredith Morgenstern, contributor to Holiday Magick, for featuring me in her Speculative Fiction by Women of Color project.

It’s not too late in October, there’s still time to join Seattle Geekly’s Extra Life 2014 charity gaming team or to help them reach their fundraising goal of $500.

Writer Behind Schedule. Send Glitter, Coffee, & Downpours.

W

Broken Wave Giveaway

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There are only 4 days left in the paperback Goodreads Giveaway for Broken Wave. Sign up here to win an autographed copy of my latest book. Psst, winning entrants also on my mailing list, will win an autographed copy of Girl Out of Water and Broken Wave.

Sophomore Shuffle

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“Drowning Salvation” by Matt Dangler

I am just winding up the engine that will launch Broken Wave, the second installment of the Cryptid Coterie series, available in ebook and paperback on June 24, 2014. A cover reveal is around the corner, I’m composing a timeline of all the good things, many of which I bungled during the release of Girl Out of Water. That release resembled juggling chainsaws with my feet, to casual observers. It was a pleasurable and terrifying experiment. I’ve learned a little bit. I’m the better-late-than-never indie author I’ve always wanted to be, and I’m giving it another go.

Naturally this would be the exact time my world yo-yoed with my daily routine to the point of vertigo.

In 72 hours I went from “I suppose I live in Seattle forever and always but it sure would be nice to leave.” to “I have three days to get on a plane to England to interview for a few really cool jobs.” to “Oh, I can only be sponsored for a visa if the position is on this list of jobs I’m not applying for?” It might have been easy for a normal person to maintain the flow of prep for a new novel in the face of an adventure deadline plus intriguing immigration but, I, am not of that kind.

I’ve never been the sort of person who had a home in the traditional sense. I spent all of my twenties wandering the United States, looking for someplace that felt right but I never found it. There were a few good attempts, but they each fizzled or exploded depending on how much dynamite I had on hand at the time. Like most people struggling against themselves, I didn’t make lasting progress until I committed to something that mattered to me in a way that nothing else could. For some it’s parenting, religion, or advocacy. For me it’s expressing myself via writing. Writing novels created that place I’d been looking for, the place where when I showed up, it had to let me in. Home.

Perspective and other diversions of the last few weeks make me think if I had gone off on this grand adventure of becoming an expat my production as an author would have suffered. Not because the new life would have been incompatible with a writing career, but because it would have shifted my focus of home away from the worlds I create for myself on the page, to an external location dependent upon bureaucracy, and establishing my credentials as someone who belongs.

My expat dreams shelved for the moment, but I continue to build. That home I searched for is here, and it wants to be burnished into a second novel. Stay tuned.