Saturday, 30 November 2013

Nano 13 (3) & new project

So Nanowrimo is officially over for me. I've finished my Nano project, changed and tweaked a tonne of things in the last week of writing, and tomorrow I'm moving onto my next project after cramming in some world building planning today.

My personal goal for Nano 13 was 40,000, which I am happy to say I surpassed! I would have completed and 'won' had it not been for me running out of plot and book at 47K. It's my shortest first draft by far (now complete at 58,000) so I'd expected much more content to write for Nano. I would have won, had I not already written the first four chapters, but when inspiration strikes it's a mistake to ignore it, even if it is the middle of October.

Either way, I'm happy to have set a personal Nanowrimo record. Next year I am going to write 50K, and I am going to win if it kills me.

Moving on, my next book is a science fiction YA, involving alien planets and interstellar travel (why is there a lack of this hard sci fi in YA? Can teenagers not understand the complexity of space travel? A ship?? That moves through space?!! No, thank you, I can't understand. I can only read about things that exist. Vampires, for example. Those are all the rage for teenagers.

The book and plot kind of attacked me all at once when I was watching the 50th anniversary. I'd read five sci-fi novels, had been watching Pacific Rim religiously, and it hit me all of a sudden that I needed to write a science fiction book. Needed. I'd been putting it off for years, really. Growing up with sci fi, I put a lot of pressure on myself to wait until I had the perfect plot and characters, until I was Super Experienced to write sci fi. Watching Doctor Who, I realised that was kind of dumb. I can write sci fi now and write it in ten years when I'm more experienced. Hell, I can write a hundred novels.

So Nano 13: total success. Bring on next year, when I'll probably be writing the sequel to this year's book.


Friday, 22 November 2013

Nano 13 [2]

I sort of suck at remembering to make posts. I've been so busy with Nanowrimo and with everything else going on in my life that this is my first update post!

What I'm writing for Nanowrimo 2013 is the first in a potential YA fantasy series called The Legend Mirror. The first book's called The Red of Callaire (Callaire being the semi-fictional town in which the book is set) and it tells the story of Yasmin Wikke, a girl with Psychic Majick inherited from a God (her mother, Venus), who changes from human to Manticore form once a month and (to put it bluntly) slaughters people without her say so. The book is all about her struggling to stay 'human' despite the beast's hold on her, but also how her life is altered when she begins hearing the voice of a girl crying out to her. There's a lot of magic, a cast of diverse characters in the form of The Red, and plenty of references to creatures of myth and Roman Gods.

It's entirely different to the other books I have written in the past and miles away from The Lux Guardians so I'm quite enjoying playing around with the world and the characters and the magic. There's a freedom to fantasy that you don't find anywhere else. The science fiction I write, while being different from the world now, is still somewhat limited to our reality. If, say, a mad scientist who had invented a Super Dangerous Device started doing sorcery ... it'd be a little odd. There has to be science very much rooted in the story and the plot of the book, but with fantasy anything can happen. I can defy the laws of nature, and I do exactly that in The Red of Callaire. It's quite fun!

The very early summary of RED is as follows:

Yasmin wants to be normal.
She will never be.

Yasmin is a descendant of the Manticore, a creature of Persian mythology, a Legendary. She spends her life working in the local bakery, estranged from a group of Legendaries called the Red, and pretending she doesn’t change into a murderous beast every full moon.

When she hears a voice in her head and sees dreams that aren’t her own, she’s led to Fray—a girl who once saved Yasmin from hunters, who has shadowy memories that hint at her being Legendary.

Despite the danger around her and Fray, Yasmin might finally have a chance to be normal. But when Legendaries are being killed, a war between the Gods is brewing, and the beast inside Yasmin becomes stronger each day, her mundane life seems impossible.

I've written 30K+ this November so far, and hope to write at least 10K+ more! Here's hoping the rest of November goes as well as the beginning.


Friday, 25 October 2013

The Last Autumn Royal (Short story)

This is just a quick flash fiction piece I wrote to get out of my system. It's unrelated to either of my WIPs or to The Lux Guardians.

The Last Autumn Royal
335 words

Nano 13 [1]

And so it begins...

Sort of.

My planning for this years NaNoWriMo is done! I know what I'm writing, the plot, the characters, and I've just about got the research and info I need stuffed in my head. And now we just wait for the 1st of November to roll around.

A week to go...


Monday, 21 October 2013

How to battle the lack of representation in YA

I realise I have yet to make a post about diversity in young adult literature, which is odd since it's something I talk about all the time outside the internet.

As a white, cis-gendered, able bodied person, I've always been able to find myself in books. Go to even the smallest library and there will be a thousand teen books about a white girl falling in love with some supernatural creature. Or if contemporary is your thing, a white girl falling in epic love with a white dude. Or a white girl becoming a princess of a distant land, etc. Whatever genre is your thing, you will find white ladies and guys.

Now try finding a young adult book with a person of colour as the main character in that library. You might find one book, if your library is exceptional. More than likely, the white heroine of the book will have a one-dimensional coloured friend. Which is great for the white heroine, but what about the readers who aren't white, who have different ethnic backgrounds? They could almost take from these books that they're meant to be the supporting character, that they'll never be the main character or hero/ine of their own story. Which is bullshit.

Now how about a disabled teen trying to find him/herself in a book? Will they be able to find a young adult book in which a disabled character is at the forefront, saving the day, falling in love, battling evil creatures? Probably not. And the sad truth is, that even with my extensive knowledge of YA books and with the help of  Google, Tumblr, and Goodreads, I have not found a single one. The same sadly goes for transgendered characters in YA genre fiction. There are some amazing (I am assuming) contemporary books in which transgendered and disabled characters are featured, but why should these characters be limited to contemporary fiction? I don't see why a transgendered lady of colour shouldn't be killing vampires in a wheelchair. But that's not practical, I hear you say. How would one kill a vampire whilst in a wheelchair - they're fast, they're deadly, they'd kill that character in a heartbeat. To which I say: if a vampire exists, why can't a wheelchair with super speedy propellers? Why can't this wheelchair be made of silver? (Notoriously not fun for vampires to touch!) Why can't there be deadly spikes on the wheels and a secret place to stash stakes? Why can't it eject garlic mist? Alright that might be taking it a bit too far, but you get my point.

There's no excuse for leaving anyone out of YA fiction, genre or otherwise. In my next post I'll be recommending some YA authors that didn't, and some books that have these characters center stage.

But here's the thing. If you want to see more books that feature diverse characters, you need to be buying and reading the ones already published. If a publisher sees that a book with a lady of colour MC is doing well, they'll be more open to publishing books with POC in the future. The same goes for all of the different under-represented characters. There are some publishers, such as Tu books, that focus on diversity, but the major publishers need to see that we, as readers, want equal representation in their books.

So that's how you battle the ~spooky~ lack of representation in YA. By reading. A tonne of other things will also help combat the spooky, such as writing blog posts, making a racket on tumblr, twitter, facebook etc., and if you're a writer, write diverse.


((Never fear, I have not forgotten about ladies who like ladies and boys who like boys, and ladies who like ladies and boys, and boys who like boys and ladies. I've not even forgotten about ladies and boys who like people, and not a person's gender, or the ladies and boys who like ladies and boys without all those complicated want-to-have-sex feelings.

I'll make a post about sexual orientation in young adult books in the near future, but since my focus is on genre books and speculative fiction, I'm having a little difficulty finding asexual and pansexual representation in YA. And this is an issue. If you have any recommendations, please comment with them!))

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Lux Guardians book 2

I'm well underway with the first draft of book two, and I have a tentative release date in mind so it feels like the right time to release the title.

The Lux Guardians book two is called...






wait for it 





Ta-da! The Revelation. It fits the story of book two in many ways. There will be a lot of revelations for the characters of The Lux Guardians, Honour especially. Not to mention the main aim of book two is to unite the Forgotten Lands and make people aware of the truth about States - many revelations there. Oh, and The Book of Revelation ... the whole armageddon thing ... that might be a tiny bit accurate. Just a tiny bit.

And that thing at the bottom of the pseudo-cover ... possibly a major location. Possibly.
Now I'm gonna get back to writing The Revelation! So many lives to ruin, so little time.

TR cover will be revealed in the new year.


The Earthen Queen (Short story)

This is a short story myth told as a fairy tale to accompany The Books of Amber my forthcoming high fantasy novella series. It features castles and trickery - everything a good fairy tale needs, and can be read on it's own, without having read the novella series. Enjoy.

The Earthen Queen
1915 words

The Trouble With Goodreads

If you're anything like me, as an author you want your books to be up on GR as soon as possible so people can find out about them, add them to their shelves, etc. Which is great ... until it isn't.

Goodreads presents a little problem for self-pub'ed authors called over-enthusiasm. You're near the end of a manuscript, or maybe only halfway, and you have a really good feeling about it. Excited, you list it on GR, only to have issues with it a few week later. Now this happened with me and the first Books of Amber novella. I had super good intentions to have it available for download by this November, and if everything had gone according to my schedule, it would have been. But then the Plot Demons struck, and they began to tear holes in my manuscript, and the Characterisation Zombies decided to join the fun. As of now, it's not looking like it's gonna be finished before next year. Which is fine - there's no pressure on me to finish or get it out there.

HOWEVER, once a book is listed on Goodreads, it's there forever. There's no taking it down. You can change the publication date, though, which is what I did. So there's no definite date for release, but it doesn't change the fact that the book is still very much listed on GR. I blame my overzealousness for this problem. I was too excited about the book and I didn't stop to apply logic to putting it out there.

Another issue is that you can't swap out a book cover unless you're a librarian (or know a GR librarian), so things like placeholders and TBR images? Stuck with those for life.

So just think before you list things on Goodreads. Wait until your second draft is finished, or your third, or your final.
Be sure before you put something up, because it cannot be undone.
Learn from my stupid mistakes.


Friday, 18 October 2013

New blog?

I know, I know. What's with all this moving around? Can't I just decide on one blogging platform and stick to it?

Short answer: nope.

Long answer: I've been wrestling with Livejournal for a while but the text box and general posting is just not for me. I much prefer Blogger and find my posts a lot quicker to make. Which brings us to this: my new blog (sort of).

I'm going to import some of the posts from LJ to this blog (Import! Ha! I mean copy & paste...) and then go about posting here as if nothing has happened and this has been my writer-ly blog all along.
( What do you mean this is a new blog? I don't know what you're talking about. This is my old one... :| )

So that's the situation. Not very interesting, I know, but I'll be posting NaNo stuff soon!!