Every time I mention I'm having an issue with my house, someone invariably nods sagely and says "the joys of home ownership". Every time! I'm wavering on whether it's actually joyful. I bought a house because I couldn't stand to stay in my noisy, smelly, and annoying apartment, and I don't regret that decision at all. However, to date I have had to replace every single appliance in my kitchen, my furnace, my AC, and now my water heater. (Finding water leaking into my basement Wednesday morning was less than ideal.) I'm waiting for that moment where home ownership is stress free, when I can simply enjoy having my own space without worrying something else is going to go wrong. At this point, I don't think I'm going to reach that stage until after I've rebuilt the entire house from scratch, but one day I know I will achieve the elusive joy of home ownership.
On a happier note, I have seen the first draft of the cover for Magnified. It blew me away! I can't wait to share it. Also, all the edits are done for Magnified, so it is completely ready to go for its March release. I have also completed the second round of edits for Wounded Alpha, so that's on pace for an April release.
I haven't had much time for writing these past few weeks. My untitled Circle stories are still going well, which is nice, but I haven't had a moment to dig into any of my other works in progress. I am thinking of scraping the third book in my Wizard Wars series. I'm not sure the overarching story warrants a third book, and my efforts to force one to happen anyway aren't going well. Maybe that will change once the first two books are released again, but for now I'm setting it aside to focus on more pressing books.
Now that my home ownership issues have (presumably) been solved, I plan to focus my free time on writing rather than on calling plumbers. Wish me luck!
The installers got to my house a little after eight this morning, worked all day, and by 4 PM I had a new furnace! Right now my house smells like whatever crud is burning off the new furnace, but that toasty marshmallow/acetone smell is still better than the burnt oil stench I've been enduring the last few months. Once everything is burnt off, I'm hoping I won't even notice when my furnace is on.
I have received the first round of edits for Wounded Alpha. This is a brand new, never before published story, so I'm incredibly excited it's moving closer to being released! My amazing editor really likes the story too. I am hoping to finish this round of edits this weekend so the story can continue moving along in time for its April release date.
I have also had a lot of success on the writing front. My witch/vampire/werewolf story is complete. It needs a lot of edits. I started writing the sequel, which is when I realized I needed to fix a couple of things in book one to ensure I had proper continuity. After I fix things in book one, I'm going to set it aside until the sequel is also done, just in case I find something else I want to change. At some point I will also have to come up with book and series titles, but for now I'm just going to enjoy writing again.
I hope everyone has a very happy new year and I'm wishing you bright things to come in 2021!
So far my writing in 2021 is looking good:
For my upcoming books, A Little Fairy Dust will be released on the 4th (you can pre-order it HERE), Magnified is in excellent shape for a March re-release, and we have begun the first round of edits for If A Butterfly Don't Fly, which is currently scheduled to come out in April. Once this first round of Butterfly is complete, I should receive edits for Wounded Alpha, which is also scheduled for April. This is excellent progress on both re-releases and for some brand new material!
I am excited to continue moving forward with getting all of my old stories available again, but I'm also really happy to offer brand new books for my longtime readers. Right now I have three completely new books coming out in 2021: A Little Fairy Dust (which does reprint Cleanly Wrong and Cinder-Elle, but also has seven additional new stories), Wounded Alpha, and Ground of Resurrection in September.
I am really hoping to fit in some writing in 2021 as well. I already know editing my re-releases will be a constant, just as it was in 2020, but I am going to try my best to try to continue to work on brand new books. I have made good progress on the start of my brand new (currently untitled) series about a witch having some difficulties with vampires and werewolves. I'm hoping to complete at least the first two books in that series over the next year. Of course, I also want to spend some time with Lumie (as his stories in Supernatural Consultant series aren't done yet), and I want to make progress on the third and final books of my Magnified, Out of Underhill, and Wizard Wars series.
And now it's time to watch the ball drop and get 2021 started!
How editing works:
Wow, I've made so much progress! I've reworked sentences, approved a ton of commas, and clarified a bunch of issues with the editor. I'm moving along so fast and I'll have this finished in no time!
Looks down at the page count. I've only done two pages?!?
Editing is a roller coaster. There's the high when things are going well, when the edits are moving along smoothly and I feel like I'm making progress. Then there's the low when I realize despite all the work I've done, I still have over a hundred pages to go. Or when the editor (helpfully) points out something I've done very, very wrong. And then the high again once I get through those snags and start chugging along, and then the low... You get the idea.
I'm behind on the edits for Magnified, and every time I get into the groove and start feeling like I'm making progress, I look down at the page count and realize just how little progress I've actually made. It's hard, but this is how all edits work. The difference is Magnified is 20 to 40 thousand words longer than most of my stories (it's double the length of one of my Supernatural Consultant books), which means it takes a lot longer to complete. The plan is to finish Magnified quickly this weekend, so maybe I'll have time to write something too.
Thanks to everyone for sending emotional support about my furnace. I have decided on a brand, and I have decided to bite the bullet and get an AC unit too. It took a ton of research to figure out the best model for my climate, and to decide on Energy Star ratings, but a decision was finally reached. Of course, I made my choice too late on Friday, so I won't get the contract until Monday, but hopefully I'll have a new furnace before the new year!
You might remember a few weeks ago I mentioned I was smelling oil every time my heat turned on. I finally had someone out to look into it, and it's bad. The technician found a puddle of oil underneath the pump, took the pump apart and found more oil, and guessed there's even more oil leaking somewhere he can't see. It's not a ton of oil, because the oil in my tank isn't mysteriously vanishing, but it's enough that he told me my furnace is shot. I have to completely replace it, which is going to be a fun adventure. Anyone have any recommendations on a good oil furnace brand?
I'm especially thrilled because I've only owned said furnace for about five months, which means it was probably shot last winter and the previous owners lied to me about it being in perfect working condition. Now I'm wondering what else I'm going to have to replace. The AC unit is very old too, so I might try to get a package deal for that with the furnace since they're tied together. Do I need to take a closer look at my water heater? What other big ticket items did the previous owners ignore? Owning a home was supposed to reduce my stress, because living in an apartment really, really sucked. Unfortunately, until I have all the pieces and parts of my house fixed, my stress levels are going to remain incredibly high.
Luckily, I have writing to escape with. Codified is going well. I completed a major scene and have started the bridge to the next one. The guys are about to travel somewhere new, so I'll have to do a bit of world building. There's still a lot to write, but I'm really liking how it's going so far. Although, I just received the first round of edits for the Magnified reprint (book one in the same series) and I have to finish those before I can continue writing.
I know I mentioned it when I first posted the release dates for my books, and I mentioned it when those dates were subsequently changed, but all potential release dates are tentative. The dates have changed again. We are aiming to release as many books as possible in 2021, which means were are condensing the schedule. Our aim is to finish re-releasing all the reprints (peppered with some brand new material, of course) as soon as possible. This is good news for you. For brand new readers, you're getting almost my entire back list at your fingertips in an incredibly short amount of time. For everyone else, you're getting the brand new books sooner too. Those of you who have waited far too long for Ground of Resurrection (for example), you'll now get it months earlier than previously planned. You can check out the newly revised schedule HERE.
The best part of the new schedule is what comes after. Yes, I will be spending all of 2021 in almost constant edits, and that's going to get trying at times, but once everything is re-released I will be free. Without those obligations, I will have a ton of free time to focus exclusively on writing. You have no idea how much I've missed unfettered writing time these last two years. Only one more year and I'll be back to my normal writing schedule.
Speaking of books I need to write, I've had a break between edits over the last week and I was able to add a small chunk to Codified, the third and final book in my Magnified series. The prologue is complete and I've started the setup for chapter one. I'm still figuring out some details for the overall plot, but in many ways the prologues of all three books in this series have been the hardest to write. Completing that section for Codified was a huge success, one I hope to continue capitalizing on for as long as edits remain scarce.
I'm sure it surprises no one when I say edits are continuing. I am still working my way through A Little Fairy Dust. If It were only one story, I'd be done, but with so many together in the collection it takes on a unique set of challenges. Each individual story has a slightly different tone, which means I have to switch gears mentally whenever I finish one and start another. Completing the edits has been much harder than I expected as a result, but I'm making a lot of progress and I'm really happy with how all the stories are turning out. I'm hoping to have A Little Fairy Dust back to the editor really soon, which means I'll be able to return to working on Magnified again!
Writing has been...well...sparse. I want to be working on Dragon Spy or Codified, but neither story has good chi for me right now. I need to figure out where I'm blocked so I can begin moving forward again. Instead, my brain has been poking at one of the random stories sitting on my to-do list. It's untitled and there's no summary (see Spirit Story on my current projects page), yet my brain has been coming up with ideas for the next scene. Spirit is supposed to be a slightly darker detective story. I want it to be more horror-style than my usual happy dragons (think Magnified, but with less traditional forms of magic), but I've got to be in a certain mood to write (my style of) horror, which hasn't happened lately or Codified would be flowing better.
The other story that has been bugging me lately is one of the stories I never got around to writing ten years ago. A witch, exiled from his coven because he's male when all witches should be female, is forced to visit the den of vampires and werewolves by the news station he works for. That fateful meeting sets the carefully rebuilt life the witch had made into a tailspin. I've wanted to write the story for years, but haven't had the time with all the other stories on my to-do list. Suddenly my brain keeps replaying the opening scene over and over again, to the point that I need to write it down.
I am hoping once I finish the two sets of edits on my plate I'll be able to get some writing in. Whether it will be for the two stories I need to be working on, or the two stories my brain is insisting I work on instead, I can't tell you. All I know is I'll be glad for any writing I do accomplish.
Happy October everyone! The leaves are changing, there's a nip in the air, and my AM alarm keeps going off before the sun rises. After the hectic holidays, I'm looking forward to the chance to relax in the calm of autumn where the only thing I have to worry about is how much candy to buy this Halloween.
Of course, I just bought a new house, so figuring out how to get it ready for winter is still stressing me out. I had a long telephone call this morning with a prospective oil company (my heat is oil and there's a massive tank in my garage). The poor lady had to explain where the gauge is to tell me how much oil is in my tank, and that the big red switch that says EMERGENCY is actually my burner switch. As long as it's in the on position, just setting my thermostat will do all the work. Phew. Turns out, the only thing I need to worry about in regards to my oil is keeping an eye on that gauge, and when it gets too low, give the company a call.
I also have to figure out where the turn off valves for the outdoor spigots are, but I think that's going to be a conversation with the neighbors sort of adventure. Aside from that, my house is in good shape. The new blinds were finally delivered (first ones delivered were wrong, so I had to re-order them) and will be installed this week. The only other project I need to do is figure out how to anchor my new pantry to the stud in the wall, and then this house is as perfect as it's going to get!
Which leaves me much more time to focus on my writing. I didn't get as far as I would have liked in Dragon Spy. The prologue is done and the chapters renumbered, but I need to get cracking on the next scene. The story is going to abruptly switch to Alloy's perspective, which I have been looking forward to writing for months, but everything else going on in my life keeps getting in the way (like calling oil companies this morning instead of writing).
Also, edits keep popping up. Today's addition to my editing pool is the first round for A Little Fairy Dust, my fairy tale anthology. While the individual stories inside aren't too long, combined this is the largest single book I've ever written. I have no idea how much time it's going to take to finish the edits, so working on them is my priority at the moment. Which means Magnified, which I have the pre-edits for, is getting pushed aside again. Hopefully I'll be able to finish both sets of edits soon, so I can return to writing again.
Things are happening at an incredible pace right now. Every time I try to write a blog post, something new comes up and I have to scrap what I've written. I'm hoping to get this one posted before that happens again! Let me break all the news up into readable sections:
I am caught up on editing. Shocking, I know, but I don't have any edits to complete right now. The copy edits for Dragon Soldier, book five in my Supernatural Consultant series, are complete and off to the proof reader for final checks. I also completed the first round of edits for Dragon Adventure, and expect the second half for Dragon Home to arrive soon, but until then I have no edits on my plate!
Which means I finally have free time! Normally, I'd be taking this opportunity to get some writing done, but that's unfortunately not going to happen this month. I have been spending every free moment wrapping fragile things in paper, packing boxes, and bringing what I can safely carry on my own over to the new house. I already spent one long night cleaning and measuring for new appliances. Area rugs are arriving by mail and the place is slowly starting to feel like it's mine. Even after the moving van comes and goes, I know I'm going to be spending a lot of time I would normally devote to writing to unpacking instead.
What does this mean in the long run? Not much. NSP still has 25+ of my books to evaluate, edit, and publish. Anything I completed now would simply go to the end of that very long list and you wouldn't see it for a few years. While there are books I would love this chance to get ahead on (Codified being number one on that list), I have to be pragmatic here. Taking the time to get my real life in order is just as important as completing more of the research Codified needs. Truth is, one of the big impediments to my writing has been my environment. I'm constantly interrupted by annoying neighbors being obnoxious, and that hasn't been good for my writing for a while now. After the move, when I have my own, quiet, place, I do feel that writing will go better. Hopefully next time I get a nice break between edits I'll be in a position to really get some writing done.
A Little Fairy Dust
January 4, 2021
March 1, 2021
Mell Eight is an author writing with NSP. For more information about Mell and her writing, please visit her website: http://melleightfiction.