A car accident shattered sixteen-year-old Morgan’s family. Now her brother’s dead, her mom’s like a wheelchair-bound shadow, her dad lives at work and her seven-year-old sister Amy tries too freaking hard to salvage everything. What’s more, high school is its own special kind of hell, where her ex-boyfriend delights in spreading rumors that shred her reputation and make her feel like a loser.
When she finds an old camera in a creepy abandoned hospital, it seems like her luck is finally changing. And it is changing–from bad to worse. Because of course it is. Each time Morgan photographs one of her classmates they become corrupted versions of themselves. It’s like the camera steals their goodness, their essence, and leaves them hollow.
Then her sister uses the camera to take a selfie.
No matter what the cost, Morgan will find a way to reverse the effects of the cursed camera and save Amy, before her already-fractured family completely self-destructs.
October 31, 2012 I created the file that would become the first draft of the novel that eventually came to be titled Hollow.
I’ve written a few novels, a few NaNoWriMo novels, even, and this was the hardest one to date. In 2012 it was supposed to be my NaNoWriMo novel but every word was like pulling teeth so, if I remember correctly, I set it aside and cranked out something else to hit my word goal. I tried working on it again for Camp NaNoWriMo but again ended up putting it aside and working on something else while my subconscious worked away at it, figuring out my way into the story.
The next year, in 2013, it was my NaNoWriMo novel again and that year I finished the first draft.
Then came editing. So much revising. Turning one of my NaNoWriMo first drafts into something other people might want to read is no small task.
And yesterday the latest chapter in the story of this book was written. The paperwork is done and the contracts are signed. It’s official —
Tyche Books is going to publish Hollow!
I am so excited! I can’t imagine a better publisher to help me share this book with the world 🙂
I’ve worked with Tyche before as an editor, and of course they’ll be publishing Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns next year, but this is a different kind of excitement. I love editing, anthologies in particular, but writing will always a little bit closer to my heart. And this story, for all sorts of reasons I’m sure I’ll talk about between now and when it comes out, is even a little bit closer than most.
I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions, because I’m crap at keeping them, but I do enjoy setting goals for the coming year each January. I find them super helpful staying focused and find the accountability which comes from sharing them publicly really helps as well. This year I’m a wee bit late on getting this blog post done, so it may be slightly less chatty than in years past, but without further ado, here are some of my work-related goals for the coming year (and health counts because you can’t work if you’re not at least a certain degree of healthy).
Weigh less at the end of the year than I do at the start
No working on weekends and minimal working on evenings.
Editing / Publishing
Publish the final three issues of Niteblade and then close down that aspect of the magazine
Complete Corvidae and market it to the best of my ability
Complete Scarecrow and market it to the best of my ability
Write and submit at least one new short story a month*
The ‘submit’ part of this is important. I can’t just write a first draft and leave it to moulder indefinitely. The story needs to be ready for submission and, in fact, submitted, within the month to count.
Begin querying agents about Hollow
Self-publish at least one collection of reprints
Complete work on collaborative project with Marge
Successfully participate in April Poem-A-Day
This means actually writing a poem a day or at least having thirty poems written by the end of the month
Participate in NaNoWriMo*
Either complete the first draft of a new novel, or revise one of the novel first drafts I’ve already written (this can be completed in conjunction with NaNoWriMo or separate from it)
Read at least 50 books
Slush doesn’t count, nor do books by friends I read to critique.
When someone visits this blog and leaves a comment — reciprocate.
As of New Year’s Eve of 2014 I’d sold a total of one book via Kobo**. One. For a whopping $0.45 in royalties. One of my goals in 2015 is to improve that. I don’t have a super firm goal in mind but it shouldn’t be too difficult to top one sale and less than fifty cents in royalties, right?
I’ll probably tweak this list as the year goes on, but for now I think it’s a very good jumping-off point 🙂
*under this name or as a pen name project. Either counts.
**this doesn’t count books I didn’t self-publish like Fae, Metastasis etc.
So this is it. The time of year where I look back at the goals I set for 2014 and find out how well I did at reaching them. What’s usually most interesting about this time for me is seeing how my priorities have shifted over the course of the year, the number of things which were really important to me at the beginning of 2014 which I was happy to back burner (which is totally a verb) but the end.
Also, I have a rule. I may explain failures, but not excuse them. Who wants to read a whole blog post of self-justifications and excuses? Not me LoL
So. 2014 goals. How’d I do?
bold = success
tl;dr — Overall, it was a pretty freaking awesome year 🙂
No drinking pop. Period.
Lose 20 lbs
Lower blood pressure (bonus points if I get to reduce my medication)
Didn’t do so awesomely here. Or well at all, really. I’m still drinking a lot of pop (diet pop, for better or for worse) and my weight has remained steady. Much, much too high, but steady. I *was* making (very slow) progress on that 5k run thing before plantar fasciitis reared its ugly head but once it did I was less than enthusiastic about actively stretching to relieve it or exercising in a way which didn’t aggravate it so… pretty sure that counts as an excuse, not an explanation. The only thing I did manage here was to lower my blood pressure. Alas, I did not get to reduce my medication in the process so no bonus points for me. *pout*
This degree is taking a ridonkulously long time. I need to finish another course toward completing it this year. Bonus points if I manage two, but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that this is honestly more of a hobby than anything and it must not negatively effect my work.
I didn’t find the time to finish even one course toward this degree. In fact as of last month I became inactive in my program, which is kinda crappy but I felt like my writing and editing took off to such an extent that it would be a bad choice for me to prioritize school over them at this point in time. So what I’m saying is, I’m okay with having failed to meet this goal. I think it was the right decision.
Solicit writers for B is for (haha not telling yet!) and begin that process
Continue to edit and publish Niteblade, keeping it something I can be very proud of.
Complete the edits on Grammy’s book
Wow. What a year it’s been under Editing / Publishing. Going to tackle all these one at a time…
First, I did finish FAE and I promoted it to the best of my ability. That included getting over my anxiety about holding a physical launch party, and making sure I always had copies of the book on hand at every convention I went to (and I went to three) to sell. Some of these efforts were successful (the party at When Words Collide, for example) and some, like the postcards with discount codes I printed up for World Fantasy were abject failures. Live and learn, right?
I was also successful in pursuing other anthology ideas. My goal had been to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of the year, but I smashed that to bits. I have two anthologies with signed contracts which I’m even now finalizing the tables of contents for and which will be published this year. They are SCARECROW and CORVIDAE. I also have a verbal agreement to begin reading submissions for a fourth anthology for World Weaver Press (tentatively entitled SIRENS: Sea and Sky) this year and publishing it next year.
I did not find any awesome ways to increase promotion efforts for METASTASIS, but even so it earned out all its production costs and began sending small (but emotionally meaningful) donations to support cancer research.
I also didn’t come up with a way to set concrete goals for promotion, but I did get far better at tracking the results of promotions, so I’m going to call that a step in the right direction.
We held another successful fundraiser for Niteblade in 2014, raising $510 and (even better for my ego) collecting a whole lot of really nice things Niteblade authors had to say about it.
I didn’t produce a NaNoLJers anthology last year, but that is because there wasn’t much in the way of interest.
A IS FOR APOCALYPSE is awesome. I did, in fact, publish it and promoted it as well as I could. I think in some ways it suffered for being launched so close to FAE but despite that sales exceeded my expectations and it has been very well-received including having stories from it on people’s top five lists,end of the year reading recommendations and getting a handful of nice reviews here, there and everywhere.
Not only did I solicit writers for B IS FOR BROKEN I’m nearly finished editing those stories and I’ve settled on the themes for the next two alphabet anthologies and let the authors know about them so they can decide to sign up, or not, in a leisurely fashion.
Niteblade had a fantastic year with me at the helm and though I’m partly saddened that 2015 will be its last year, mostly it feels like the right thing to do. End on a high note and go out in style 🙂
I completed the edits on Grammy’s book. Added the whole new section she wanted appended to the back, got it formatted, published and shipped to her in time for her to give out copies at Christmas. So, basically, I rocked it 🙂
2014 is the year of the novel. It is because I say it is, damn it!
Complete the novel currently known as ‘Hollow’
By ‘complete’ I mean have that sucker ready to start querying agents about
Complete the first draft of at least two other novels
One of these may be one of my pen name projects
Self-publish the zombie poetry book and complete my other plans for it
Write 350 words a day, five days a week. So 1,750 words a week.
Yes. A week. It’s not huge, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff on this list, damn it! :-p
Bundle up and self-publish more of my reprints
Complete sekkrit collaborative project
Participate in NovPAD and/or April PAD
Anything with the word ‘NaNo’ in the title is optional
…except NaNoLJers. Set up prompts for odd-numbered Mondays
Well, despite my intentions 2014 turned into the year of the anthology, not the novel. Hollow is done. Mostly. I had to do a whole extra draft I hadn’t counted on, but now it only needs a final spit polish and it will be ready to start querying. It’s finding the time to do that polish that is turning into a tricky thing.
I also sold my Aphanasian novel, SHADOWS, to World Weaver Press. That required a lot of re-writing and I anticipate at least one, possibly two more passes before it’s ready for release. It’s scheduled to be released some time this year though, so we’ll have to wait and see when that comes to pass 🙂
I did self-publish my zombie poetry book, and a collection of funny zombie reprints. I didn’t find time to ‘complete my other plans’ for the zombie poetry book, but who knows, perhaps a miracle will happen and I’ll find a way to do that this year LOL Could happen…
Still not finished my sekkrit collaborative project with Marge Simon, but working on it. Still working on it. Kind of like the tortoise in that story…
I participated in NovPAD and April PAD. I was not super successful at either but… I got a few poems out of them. I also participated in NaNoWriMo, however in recognition of how busy I was I re-named it MicroWriMo and aimed for 10k words. I wrote just under 8k. Meh.
Also, I had prompts set up and scheduled for odd-number Mondays for NaNoLJers and then I did something very stupid and deleted them all. So, that was a big fail right there.
Read at least 50 books.
Have 25% be non-fiction
According to Goodreads I read 63 books (I really ought to keep track of how many stories I read in slush LOL) 11 of which were non-fiction. So, I surpassed the main goal but fell short on the mini one. Of those books my favourites, in no particular order, were:
So… the good news about all the things I missed on this list is that they are all still on my radar, and aside from A Month of Letters I can do them anytime. I’m surprised I missed A Month of Letters this year, so surprised I had to go and check my blog archives to make sure I really had. Weird. I do write snail mail sporadically over the course of the year anyway but historically I’ve really gotten a lot out of A Month of Letters so I’ll have to work pretty hard at re-adding that next year.
Also, I went to three conventions. When Words Collide is my new all-time favourite convention ever. Plus I also attended my second World Fantasy and went to Pure Spec here in Edmonton. The highlight of Pure Spec, for me, was the Character Death Matches (I participated and got my butt kicked. Fun!)
And there you have it. My year in review or, more specifically, a look at the goals I set last year with an eye to seeing how successful I was.
On paper I wasn’t super successful, but as I mentioned at the start of this (very long) entry, it’s always interesting to see how my priorities shift and change over the year. While my health-based priorities remain the same and I really need to devote more time, energy and effort to them I’m perfectly good with the progress I made on my other goals. Writing a lot of novels got pushed back a bit in favour of editing a lot of anthologies, for example. I’m good with that, and very proud of the results.
I know a great number of my friends struggled through 2014 in ways that meant getting dressed each morning was a victory, but overall, 2014 was a very good year for me. How did it treat you? Did you accomplish most of the things you set out to do? Are you happy with what you managed?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer. I’ll be making a new set of goals for myself and sharing them here in the near future. If you do the same please let me know, I like seeing the goals other people set for themselves, sometimes they help inspire mine 🙂
Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration. The thing is, we’re nearly halfway through the month, the month I’m supposed to be dedicating to revisions of Hollow… and I am *so* far from being halfway through revisions. >_<
I have excuses. I really have had a whole bunch of other things going on this month, with Fae, A is for Apocalypse, Niteblade, Waste Not*, life… but if we get to the end of the month and I haven’t got a workable version of this book to send to beta readers, don’t let me use those excuses. Don’t do it. Even if I sound super reasonable. Because though I really have been busy, I’ve also managed to find time to take naps in the morning, or play video games in the evening, read several books…
So, mostly this blog post is a reality check for myself, because apparently I’m in need of that. But it’s also something that, come the end of the month if I’m not where I should be, will keep me from being able to justify that away. Ya know, barring some unforeseen huge disaster, but let’s just hope that doesn’t happen LOL
In more exciting news? Cover reveal for A is for Apocalypse tomorrow!!
A Note: Though this post is scheduled to go live on May 6th I’m actually writing it in the end of April. I’d share it today but I’m in the midst of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge and I don’t want to interrupt that. I’d share it earlier in the month but I have the post for The Hedge Witch launch party and a sales announcement both scheduled… so May 6th it is LOL
I’m struggling with my novel (currently entitled Hollow). I began this book in November as a NaNoWriMo novel, then my productivity quickly fell off as soon as November was over. I really had a tough time getting myself to work on it, and even once I finished the first draft I kept thinking of things to add or change before I began revising it with sincerity. I’ve had a good long look at myself, and the book, and why it’s not getting finished and I’m pretty sure that the truth is… I’m afraid to finish it.
Because it’s good. It’s the best thing I’ve written. And while it’s unfinished it is still full of limitless potential but as soon as I finish it that all ends. It will be written, done, and flawed (because let’s face it, no novel is perfect… except perhaps The Last Unicorn ;)). I think I’m afraid to reach that stage. To face reality rather than fantasy.
But I need to get over that. I know in reality the book will be imperfect, but I believe it will also be awesome, and the only way to find out if I’m right is to suck it up and get it done.
So that’s what I’m doing this month.
For May my goal is to keep my butt in the chair and revise this novel. I can’t put everything else on the back burner (we have a cover reveal for A is for Apocalypse next week, for example) but everything that can be put on hold has been. By June 1st, when we release the next issue of Niteblade, I want to have a revised version of Hollow in the hands of my beta readers. I expect that will mean I’ll be spending less time on social media or watching television in the evenings, but that’s a trade I’m willing to make.
Wish me luck. And come June if I don’t blog to announce the book is being read by beta readers, please feel free to pelt me with virtual tomatoes and hold my feet to the fire. And don’t accept any lame-ass excuses from me either 😉