My 2017 So Far

I guess I should use my blog to, you know, update people on things I’m doing at length. I talk a bit about things on Twitter here and there but it’d be nice to put it all in one place.

So, if you follow my Twitter you may know I haven’t been able to write that much. I’ll keep that vague for reasons I’m not comfortable with fulling discussing but basically I don’t usually feel very good at all, I’ve been trying a couple things and had a major procedure I’m hoping will help, but I’m still having some issues. They may or may not go away with time, so I’m basically going to be trying to make healthier choices in the meantime in hopes that it’ll help me somewhat too.

Long story short: I don’t feel good many days and haven’t been able to write like, at all.

Over the past year, I’ve feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, but with little fruits of labor to show for it. The major thing of course was I released my first novella with LT3. This story was submitted in 2016. BUT, in April 2017 after receiving my edits back from them, I had to rewrite it. So yes, I wrote it twice, once in 2016 and once in 2017. I wrote a 20k novella in four weeks and met my deadline, which I think is my biggest accomplishment and the most I’ve ever written in that period of time. What I wrote in 2017 is what became the Masks that was released for your reading pleasure in August.

When I set out to do that it seemed impossible, and I did it. By accomplishing that, I felt like I could really do this whole writer thing. If you want to know more about what happened with Masks, refer to my blog post with the outrageously long title, here.

In April I also wrote a short, steamy pirate smut piece for a collection call and submitted it.

Right around the time I received my first edits for Masks, I was working on what I wanted to be my next project, a story I’ve been writing on and off since 2009 about a pirate and a merman. It’s one of the first stories I started, and I completed a very rough draft of it in 2016 as well. Once all the final edits with Masks were out of the way, I resumed rewriting that story. Mostly.

One of the other things I worked on during the summer was an unplanned project for a collection call of LBGTQIA+ fairy tale retellings. For that, I wrote a piece called Leo, a retelling of Pinocchio. That story ended up being about 16k and was submitted in September.

In September I also finished the second draft of my pirate and merman story, with a push from a friend who challenged me to get the last five chapters rewritten (bragging rights 5eva!). Of course, even the second draft is still rough. I learned a lot from my edits on Masks and have some major work to do on the beginning half again.

Around September I also started daydreaming about a continuation of Masks, which I’d had potential ideas for long before it was even accepted by LT3. I’m still getting ideas for it regularly and I’ve decided I’d like it to be a three part novella series.

It was also right around this time that I started kind of giving out, or rather, giving in to, how crappy I always feel. So, I’ve been slacking off. I haven’t done much more along of the lines of a third draft for my pirate merman story, and I haven’t done anything but daydream about Masks material.

So, what happened to pirate smut and Leo? Well, both of them were not accepted by the respective places that I submitted them to. I was really hopeful that Leo would be, and that I’d be able to say I had two things published in 2017, but it didn’t happen. Pirate smut I’m not super surprised about, but I’m glad it’s done.

Looking to the future, for now Leo will sit until I find another queer fair tale call. It’s a completed draft ready to go. No plans for the pirate smut at the moment (it’s really corny, trust me).

My original goals were to get both my pirate and merman story and the rest of my Masks novellas ready to submit by the end of the year. So, since I’ll be writing in November anyways, I’m going to be working on Masks for NaNoWriMo! If I don’t meet word count with that I’ll also me drafting some new material for my pirate and merman story, and I’ve got a few ideas for a spin-off sequel story for character from Leo.

I might be failing miserably at this but I figure I might as well take advantage and use NaNo for some added motivation to actually accomplish my goals, because while I might not have been able to get anything else out there in 2017, I really don’t want the same to be said for 2018.

Feel free to add me as a buddy on the NaNo website and I’ll add you back, and hit me up on Twitter during NaNo month too if you like!

So, what is everyone else working on this November? Let me know in the comments!

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About Masks, my first publishing experience start to finish, and how I had no idea what I was doing

With the release of my first published work, Masks, this week, I’d like to talk a length about my experience during the whole process, because it was unique in that I A) had no idea what I was doing and B) I’ve never done this before. So if anyone is curious how Masks came to be and about the long process that it went through from start to finish, here it is.

I first started writing Masks for fun as a backstory for characters I made because of a writing buddy. I kept an eye on the collection calls at LT3 hoping to one day find something submit to. When I saw the Villains, Inc, I thought about submitting it to that, but didn’t get to finish it in time and gave up on it for a while.

Then I saw the call for Enemies to Lovers and ended up completing it in time to submit it to that call. It didn’t get accepted initially into that call because the editor didn’t think it’d fit well with the other stories, but offered to pass it along to be considered as a general submission, and it ended up being accepted there.

After I signed the contract, my story was sitting in the editing queue for about five months with me having no idea what to expect or what was going on. Finally, in about March I got back my first revisions for it. It was a mess. It was nowhere near up to snuff and the editor recommended I rewrite it.

At this point, I fully realized everything that was wrong with the story in the first place because it had all been laid out for me. I realized that as much as I liked just writing for fun, I really had no idea what I was doing when writing something with the intent of publishing it. But I’d already signed a contract and I had to make this work.

So I asked for a month to rewrite it, and I rewrote the whole thing, taking every change and suggestion the editor had into consideration. One of the suggestions was that I write it in first person and I even did that. I don’t usually write in first person, used to even hate reading it, but I’ve read some good first person books and had actually recently warmed up to the idea of eventually writing something in first person, so I went with it at the suggestion.

I actually really enjoyed rewriting the story, despite all of my anxiety around doing so. Because of some of the feedback I received, I was able to see what I needed to do to improve the characters, and I was really able to tap into Avari’s “voice”. I was able to write him better and in a way that made more sense and was more consistent. I was also able to draw on a few new experiences I’d had between my original manuscript and the rewritten one that I thought added more life to the setting, so that was also a plus.

One month, 21k words and a ton of new and revamped scenes later, I turned in my “revised manuscript”. Then I waited again to hear back.

In the meantime, I was given opportunity to revise my blurb, and my book got a cover (which I’m still head over heels for!). During that whole time I was thinking, “Oh God I’m going to get this thing back and it’s going to be awful again and I won’t have time to fix it. What will I do?” After all that, I got more revisions back. Turns out it had been sent on to copy-editing, so I did a whole lot of worrying for nothing. It didn’t go back to the first editor at all.

There were only a few minor revisions that were suggested by the copy-editor, and some here and there grammar fixes. And here I thought I’d be stuck with no way to meet another deadline in a couple weeks when it was only about six weeks until release. But it only took me a few hours to finish.

After that the rest really went pretty quick. I got a galley copy back and sent off the last few changes, and viola! I had the finished copy back in no time.

This whole process has been nerve-wracking and anxiety inducing, though it wasn’t without it’s exciting moments, like getting a book cover and seeing my book on Goodreads and on LT3’s website. From start to finish, I feel like it took a kind of long time, part of which I think was that LT3 may have been a bit backed up at the time, and still is. In fact they are currently closed to general submissions due to this. But I got through it and Masks is now out there!

I may not have been ready to throw something out into the world honestly, but I did. I never actually expected that Masks would be the first thing I got published at all. Yet here we are.

I hope some people out there enjoy the story. It’s a story that was very close to me that my heart wanted to tell. It’s a part of the story that needed to be told before anything else could happen. In my head, it’s only the beginning. I have so much more planned for these characters that I’d like to share with the world, to expand that tip of the iceberg that was revealed in Masks.

With any luck, my next time around will be faster and smoother!

So that being said, I hope you enjoy. Happy reading!

~Amara

 

Masks Release Day!

I’m so excited for it to finally be release day for Masks! It’s been a long long journey from start to finish, which I plan on talking about in a blog post very soon!

For now, I hope people enjoy Masks! It’s got villains/heroes, a grumpy MC and niceguy love interest, and lots of eating of burritos and waffles!

And you can get it at LT3 or wherever you like to buy books!

LT3 Store: 

Retailers: 

Up and Down, Good and Bad

It’s been and up and down past couple weeks for me. I’m sure people don’t want to come here to hear all about that. I try not to make a point of blabbering about my problems. It’s mostly personal stuff.

Here’s the good stuff that happened:

First off, Masks is officially ready for it’s release on 8/23! So yay for that!! Closer to release, I’ll be making a blog post at length about Masks.

The submission call I plan on submitting Leo to has been extended. So now I plan on sitting on Leo for a while (about a month) then returning to do another round of revisions on it before I send it off!

In the meantime, I took a little break this week from writing things, and now I’m planning on going back to writing my pirate/merman story. My goal is to have a final draft of that complete before the end of the year.

Writing Goals For This Week

My goal was to post new blogs posts like every weekend, Sunday or something. But again on Sunday I couldn’t think of anything to say. I still can’t really. (I’m really going to have to work on that)

BUT, I figured here would be a good place to talk about my goals for this week at length.

While I haven’t really been having a great week, due to feeling yuck, I’m sure people don’t want to come here to listen to me whine about that. So I’m not going to.

My goal for this week is to finish getting Leo ready to submit to the fairy tale collection call at Nine Star Press. I was hoping I’d be further along, but again, been feeling icky. I have to add some words to the last scene, then another run through of the whole thing, and then formatting it (which means taking out all my double spaces and adding indents blehh. I at least know a shortcut for the indents.)

I hope everyone is doing better than I am this week and good luck on your goals if you have any!

EDIT: I JUST GOT BACK THE GALLEY FOR MASKS SO I HAVE TO DO THAT BY TOMORROW AHHHHH! and write a dedication!

 

~Amara

The Week So Far

I totally thought of something nifty for myself to talk about on Sunday, then forgot it and couldn’t (and still don’t) remember it.

So instead, I’m going to talk a little about my week so far. I’m not doing great, actually. Still dealing with minor health issues and having some mood swings which has been ruining my evening. I feel okay right now.

Upside, I have officially finished the draft of my short story, Leo! I’ve gotten some feedback and will be working on revisions over the next week. Hopefully the week gets better so I can get a lot done!

Also over the weekend, I got copy edits back for Masks (eep!) and it wasn’t a trainwreck like the first time.

Here’s hoping the rest of the week is better. I’m going to try to force the negative energy out!

Feeling Nostalgic

Someone I follow on twitter posted some old drawings from sketchbooks (of which I have many of my own), but it also got me thinking about my early writing days. Around 2008-2009 when I wrote things that I never intended on sharing with anyone.

I would carry around a pocket notebook in my front shirt pocket that I had on my work shirts (convenient, right?) and during down time at work, I would write.  There’s eleven on these things. It was a lot.

It started out as a bit of fan fic which I never intend on sharing, ever. Then quickly turned to original when I decided to start writing original. In these little notebooks are a lot of some vampire story that I may eventually rewrite (I don’t dare reference these old notebooks, though. I shudder at the thought!), some of my pirate and merman story (which I actually would write out in these then got home and type up), and a couple other random story ideas from back then.

Most of this will never see the light of day, but some of it might in the form of a rewrite. I love my tiny little notebooks, their a great piece of nostalgic treasure from when I started writing! Oh, and the best part, speaking of treasure… I keep them all in a little treasure chest box.notebooks

Writing Goals

As I wait for the impending edits on my manuscript (which I extensively rewrote and still have no clue how I did!) I’m spending my days trying to write another story to take my mind off of it. Ideally I’d like to submit this new story to a call at the end of July, which is fast approaching! So, I’m trying to write at least 1k a day on that story. I’ve been doing pretty well, but I felt kind of cruddy last night so I didn’t meet my goal.

Thank goodness it’s the weekend!

 

 

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Welcome to my new blog! Here you’ll find things about my personal journey writing, what I’m working on, and what’s coming soon. Check out the about page for more info about me and where to follow me on social media. Thanks for visiting!