Jan 13, 2017

Unanswerable Questions

In rewatching the J-series of QI on Hulu, I was once again amused by the dream question thought up by Victoria Coren Mitchell.
Why was the March Hare so important to the Aztecs?
And then of course she referenced Lewis Carrol’s question: Why is a raven like a writing desk?
She called them both unanswerable questions, but they’re not really. Questions like that have a hundred answers. At least, they do if you’re a writer.
Take either of these questions and you can come up with a heap of answers in almost every genre (I admit I’m struggling to find a way to use it in contemporary or historical romance, but I’m sure there’s at least one way).
And that is truly one of the many ways being in this profession is utterly glorious. Others struggle to understand the world around them. We can ignore anything we choose and make up our own answers, rules, and problems.
Why is a writer like a trigonometry test?

Jan 11, 2017

Writing Resolve

  I’ve mentioned before, here and elsewhere, that I don’t make resolutions. I make goals and I set them all throughout the year and shift as necessary, etc.
But some goals simply HAVE to be set in January. There’s no getting around it. With the exception of school things, January is place where our year starts and so, if you want to track something over a year, it just makes sense to do it now.

One of my main goals each year is a writing goal for word count.
In 2013 it was a million words--something I’m quite chuffed about completing as you’ll know from the fact I absolutely NEVER talk about it.
In 2014 it was to average 1,000-words per day (which I did) because after writing those million words, I had a ton of editing to do.
In 2015…. Well, health issues took me on a fun downhill slide that didn’t end until I got on the right medication in October. (I got 1/3rd of my total in those last 2 months). It wasn’t a wasted year, but man does it look sad next to 2014 and 2016.
And last year, my goal was just to do better. I measured each month by my ability to surpass 2013 and then 2014. There were only 3 months during which I did not surpass the counts from the previous two years.

Quick reference:
2013: 1,000,497-words
2014: 438,943-words
2015: 357,764-words
2016: 787,126-words

For 2017, my goals are a little different. They are word counts based on the completion of specific books. So, Technically, my goal for the year is just under 700,000-words. Divided throughout the whole year, it’s just over 1900-words per day. Considering my average last year of 23 words a month, I’ll be able to hit this goal with just under 2,700-words per writing day. Totally doble (I hope).

What about you? Do you set writing goals on a yearly basis? Monthly?


Jan 9, 2017

Finding Inspiration

One of the questions I hear most often (whether it’s being asked of me or a friend) is:

“Where do you get your ideas?”

It’s something that comes up all the time. Everyone wants to know we got to sparkly vampires, a wizard school, that one ring, or a family’s drama screwing up the galaxy one lightsaber swing at a time.

So what’s the answer? Where do these things come from?

I read once that Run Lola Run was the inspiration for Majora’s Mask.
Star Wars was inspired by Akira Kurosawa.
The Hunger Games played heavily off of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.

Ideas are not grasped out of the ether. Everything comes from something else. The stories you love come from bits and pieces of ones you’ve never heard of macerating in that author’s brain.

For me, ideas come from anything and everything. They’re little thoughts that filter in through dreams (thanks cheese) or they’re that three word lyric from a song I heard once. They’re a person’s name, a photograph of a broken doll on a side wall, of a landscape so beautiful it doesn’t seem real.
Influence is real. It’s all around you. Dissect it, sew two ideas together, attach a third, dye it green and then mill it down to a fine powder. Mix it with clay and form something wholly knew.

So, where do you get your ideas? Where do you find inspiration?


Jan 6, 2017

What I’m Excited For in January


Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, so we’re doing all the things celebratory (and have been all week). It’s always fun as Christmas runs into New Years runs into Birthday.
I have a tattoo appointment in two weeks which is always fun! I decided to turn the magpie and fox tattoo that covers about 1/3rd of my lower left leg into a full wrap, so I’ll be taking my leg up north and handing it off to Stephanie Flannery at Black Castle Art Co for a few sessions of stabbing me with a needle.
Oath Breaker
My latest novel begins my Death of Empire trilogy and was a ton of fun to write and made my betas and editors hate me a little. Hopefully It’ll make you laugh, cry, scream, and generally want to throw things at me too.
Windwitch by  Susan Dennard
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a "witchery," a magical skill that sets them apart from others.
- The second book in the witchlands looks just as awesome as the first -
Carve the Mark by  Veronica Roth
On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?
Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.
Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.
- Though I never really got into the Divergent series, this one looks like a real winner! -

To Tame a Wild Lady by Ashlyn Macnamara
Lady Caroline Wilde is expected to ride sidesaddle, but she’s not about to embrace convention. She’s also expected to keep a chaste distance from men like Adrian Crosby, the new estate agent, yet she cannot cease her ogling—which is especially irksome considering their ongoing feud. Adrian insists that the fields must be planted; Caro needs those same fields to train her horses. But whenever she tries to put him in his place, Caro looks into his steely gaze and her words simply . . . disappear.
A bastard son who grew up on the Wyvern estate, Adrian was lucky enough to receive an education at the behest of the late marchioness. Now that he has set out on his own, Adrian knows better than to fall for Lady Caroline, the Duke of Sherrington’s daughter. Caroline is at once a thorn in his side and an exquisite temptation, especially when she’s playing the feisty daredevil. Adrian would give anything for a chance to tame her—and with Caro in the saddle, he just might get his wish.
- The first book in this series was lovely, and I was a little mad at myself for buying it far in advance of this one’s release. But It’s here this month (though not until the very end) so I’ll continue to wait patiently. -

Underworld: Blood Wars
This series is one of those that I approach with trepidation. There are parts that are SO BAD and parts that are just awesome. I guess we’ll see how this one goes.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Is it really though? Because I can totally see this being followed by “Resident Evil: The Epilogue.” Regardless, I loved the old games and I adore Alice. So bring it on.


Jan 4, 2017

IWSG: New Year, New Possibilities

January is that time of year when people around the world set out resolutions and goals for the new year and, if you ask people like my mother, February is the time of year when people forget them, or decide to push them off until next year.
I’ve had a lot of goals in the past for what I want my year to look like. There was the year I set out to write a million words (spoiler, I did it!). And of course I always set a Good Reads Reading Goal. Last year’s goal was simply to be better than 2014 & 2015… to prove to myself that even though I’d been handed an epilepsy diagnosis in October of 2015, I was going to be able to get back the focus I’d lost (thank God for being properly medicated).
I’m not going to get into the specifics of what my goals for this year are, if you want those, you can meander over to my post about that. Today, I want to point out that making goals is an important step. Obviously you can accomplish goals without having ever stated them, but if you’re like me, it’s important to do it.
Goals are living things. You can set them now and realize they’re not right tomorrow (or next week/month etc.). But knowing where you’re going is helpful even in figuring that out.
The one goal I will share with you here is that I  hope to be more involved. I plan to get my butt in gear and actually post every first Wednesday, but I’m going to get better about visiting blogs in days between as well.
I hope to see you around.
Keep writing!
This post has been a part of the monthly IWSG blog-hop. Bounce over there, check it out and sign up if you’re ready to share you neuroses with the world.