IWSG – Sexy Side Piece

The good news is I’ve been writing. The bad news is it’s not RTD. I know; I’m disappointing my handful of fans everywhere, but when I sit down to write, my new, no-name story is the document I pull up first. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been writing RTD for well over a year and I need a break, but I feel guilty for cheating on it with this sexy side piece. And it is sexy. It’s a contemporary romance, and now that I’m on my second draft, and I added a backstory and goal to my protagonist, because she had neither on the first go-round. Which means this story is gaining some serious substance.

I think it was all the battle scenes from RTD. I *hate* writing battle scenes. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know this about me. I hate them. I hate them, I hate them, I HATE THEM, but they’re littered in my Arizal Wars series because it’s a sci-fi adventure, and the last book is literally an ongoing invasion. They’re kind of unavoidable. I’m told I write battle scenes well, but unlike dialogue—which is my favorite thing to write in case you’re keeping score—I have to go over every paragraph like a *thousand* times because there is so much movement that needs to happen simultaneously. That’s the issue. You’re not just painting one picture. You’re painting multiple pictures at the same time, and keeping them separate but interwoven so the reader has a clear image while you’re losing your ever-loving mind trying to remember what the hell your characters are doing. This is why writers drink. Or partake in whatever mind-numbing substance helps them get through this. Sometimes it’s chocolate. Most times it’s wine. All the time, it’s something.

So, I’ve taken a small break from RTD to write some witty, flirtatious banter because honestly, I’ve missed it. I did the same thing between books 4 and 5 when I wrote my Better Than This series. I just need a friggin break from guns and whips and darts and death so I can write a little romance, which is pretty much done in the Arizal Wars series (spoiler alert!). Also, I watched some stuff on Netflix and read a Jennifer Armentrout book, so God/the Universe was pointing me in this direction. I just feel a bit guilty.

BUT writing is writing. Work is still getting done, so I can’t beat myself up too much. There. Confession over.

Onto the IWSG Option Question:

Writers have secrets. What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

Hmm…I feel like this is a trick question. I can’t even think of any secrets I have, honestly, writing or otherwise. But, if it’s something that my handful of readers would never know about me based on my writing, I guess it’s that I’m not as brave as my characters? I like throwing them into situations I could never handle myself, or handle with any amount of dignity. But I think a lot of writers do that—put their characters face to face with their own inner demons as a way to work through them? I can’t really imagine what else my readers would never know about me having read my work. Maybe that I was super bad dresser growing up? Let’s go with that one, because all my heroines are dressed way cuter than I ever was. Even now.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

P.S. And on a personal side note, my heart goes out to everyone right now – everyone suffering, but fighting to make this world a better place. We need you. We love you. We stand with you.

IWSG – I Can’t Shut Up The Voices

You know how I’m supposed to be writing the end of the first draft of RTD? Well…I took a break. I am currently writing *something else*, something totally random and I have no idea if I’m ever going to let anyone else read it ever. Why am I mentioning it? Well, it’s IWSG day, and this is pretty major for me in terms of writing. I literally only have maybe a few more pages to write for RTD. That’s it. Just a few more pages and the first draft that’s taken me FOREVER to write will now be finished.

But I can’t bring myself to finish it. Or, to write the last few pages. Maybe it’s because I’m past the ending point in that story, and just haven’t faced it? Or realized it? Or maybe I’m too emotionally tied to RTD that I don’t want to finish it? I don’t know. I really don’t know. And then, suddenly, this other story popped in my head and was like bitch, you need to write me now.

So, I have been. I put RTD to the side and started on this—whatever this side thing is—because it’s pouring out of me and I can’t shut the voices up and I’m soooo into it. Not going to tell you what it’s about because again, not even sure I’ll ever let anyone read it… but it’s got to mean something, right? I think so. (And yes, I promise to get back to RTD. Can’t let all my fan down.)

Onto the May IWSG optional question:

Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into ‘the zone’?

I was going to say that I didn’t. That I just sit down and write, but that’s not entirely true. The one—and only—trick I have to get into ‘the zone’ is rereading the last few paragraphs. I need to get the feel of the story…of the words. It’s kind of like a relay race where I’m picking up where the last Caitlin passed off the baton. 😊

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

#IWSG – We’ll Get Out of This Okay

I have no idea what day it is. I’m pretty sure it’s Monday because I’m writing this for Wednesday since last Wednesday I totally spaced because I thought it was Tuesday because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT DAY IT IS. Oh yeah, pandemics are *super* fun.

I’ve been working from home for a week now…and it’s definitely…something. I don’t have kids, so I don’t have to balance the daycare/workload, but my 5-year-old GSP makes it interesting with whining and requested games of fetch twice an hour. Half the time I ignore him, half the time I give in because there are natural breaks in the day at the office, and if I were to bring Appa with me, it’s probably what I would be doing in lieu of using the restroom or chatting with a coworker. Appa is very demanding.

Since I’ve been (we’ve all been) ordered to remain inside, I’m surprisingly getting a LOT of writing done. It’s surprising because many authors and artists have mentioned their distraction with COVID-19, along with having kids home and unusual schedules which have clogged their creativity. I’m definitely keeping up with the end of times, and yeah, it’s looking pretty doom and gloom out there, but I’m really enjoying this 2-3 hour block I have to write in the morning curtesy of my job cutting my hours. It sucks, but what can you do? You find the silver lining and make the most out of it. Am I excited to be getting this smaller paycheck (and possibly more) during the year of my wedding? Bitch, please. Am I excited that this draft that I started in NOVEMBER 2018 is finally almost over? Heck yeah! I’ve got another 2-3 chapters to write but if we keep going at this pace, I’ll finish by the end of April 😊

Things are changing every day, so it’s hard to look ahead to what the landscape of this year will look like. I’m still remaining positive. Everyone I love is healthy and accounted for, and although there is a rotten stench of depression and loneliness wafting, I think we’ll get out of this okay. More time spent with families reestablishing friendships and relationships and creating art. Sure, we’ll all be broke ass poor at the end of it, but when has that stopped us before?

IWSG April Question:

The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. In this time, when our world is in crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, how are things in your world?

Please see above. Also, I found toilet paper! And not just the one-ply-crap Walmart was rationing. It was the good stuff: Cottonelle. See, there is a silver lining 😊

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

IWSG – Ultimate Victory for a Pantser

I actually had an entire other post all ready to go. Then I looked at the calendar and thought, well shit.

Somehow, March snuck up. How—I honestly ask you—HOW is it the first Wednesday of the month? Isn’t that like, in two more weeks? Wow, this whole life thing is zooming by. Okay, so, I will leave my post of woes and longings or whatever I wrote about for Friday or at some point in the future, and focus on the good stuff you’re probably here to read about: the writing stuff. And there is some good stuff there 😊

GUYS. I (sort of) have the rough outline of how the rest of RTD will end. This is HUGE because it’s not all jumbled separate events in my head bumping in to each other without fitting. It took a lot of sitting and staring at my keyboard and sometimes out the window, which I always think is a waste, but if you’re a pantser, I guess it’s just part of the process. I know the basic idea of how one event will lead to the next and the next, which means I’ve dusted off the map. I have some visibility with where I’m going and how I’m getting to the end. Ultimate victory for a pantser!

Since that is my only writing news—and what awesome news it is—onto the IWSG optional question:

Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

I really want the answer to this to be yes. It would make me so much cooler, but I can’t think of any weird or unique traditions that I or my family have, let alone put into my books. There are traits that I pull from, definitely, but no customs or traditions that I can think of. Huh. Interesting question, IWSG. This one’s got me thinking.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

Dream Big, Right? IWSG

Well, my car is squeaking now. Or squealing. Or screaming. Noise. It’s making a loud screechy noise that even Freddy Mercury can’t tune out.  I discovered it the other day, after hearing the annoying sound and feeling sorry for whoever was driving the crappy car. Turns out it was me. I’m the crappy car girl (which has been obvious for a while) but I don’t need a shame bell announcing it everywhere I go. No one needs to see that Georgie has missed a few washes or that her paint is about fourteen years faded. It’s fine, except now she’s got a target on her back, which means I should stop breaking the law and slow down. Brakes also sound a little off. I should really think about getting a new car.

*sigh*

So, someone at work called me a “cog” the other day. He was introducing a new employee and referred to me as a “cog in the machine” which immediately made me think of Into the Badlands (ever watch it? You should!) and how the Widow started out a cog before working her way up to a Barron, which I started explaining, but they walked off and I was left mumbling to myself. I only mention it because I can’t get the phrase out of my head. “Cog in the machine.” I’m not sure if I’m offended or angered or what. He didn’t say it with any malintent or to be rude or bitter. There was absolutely nothing negative in his description, which was what it was: a basic description of my role in the company: a cog. A fucking cog. That’s what I am in every cubicle.

It may have hit home because I thought I would’ve graduated from cog by now, but, apparently not. It’s okay. Because once I make it big, I’m going to write an autobiography and call it, “Who’s the Fucking Cog Now” and send him a copy. Just so he knows I’m okay.

This segways perfectly into IWSG’s December (optional) question:

How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. But who doesn’t fantasize about the future? This is what I’ve got so far:

Batman would come on my book tours with me since we’re travel bugs, and so he can coach and support me on public speaking, since it’s right up there with my love of spiders and small spaces. That would be the tough part. The talking to a group of people and not fainting, but I would get through it. (Xanax may be required)

Other than that, I would have an amazingly loyal fan-base to support the books I want to write. And there might even be a movie deal in the works. Why not? Dream big, right? Honestly, the dream is to be able to write fulltime. Wake up, coffee, write. Walk the neighborhood, write, lunch. Write, laundry, dinner, write. The rest are just details.

What about you? What does it look like when you make it big? Ever been called a cog before? And is your car on its way to hospice like mine?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

Haven’t Lost Steam Yet #IWSG

For the past few weeks, Batman and I have been weighing ourselves for, you know, health and fat-shaming reasons. We are both a little on the plumpy side because when you find your person, you fatten each other up so no one will want the other person (it’s a rule somewhere). Also, after years (or months in our case…) we stopped give a crap, and ate what we wanted, and our bodies agreed and expanded due to it. Anyway, we’ve been carrying around a little extra weight these past eleven years and we DO NOT want to be the fatties at our own wedding (*there’s nothing wrong with being large. I have been large my entire life. I just want to feel slim and beautiful when I get married, if only for the pictures.)

So, to keep ourselves honest and to keep from making assumptions/generous guesses to whether the scale is pointing to this line or that line, we opted for a digital device. No lying to ourselves anymore because we’ll have cold, hard numbered facts; I’m only telling you because 1) it’s an adult purchase, and adult purchases should always get a shout-out and 2) if I tell you we’re trying to lose weight, you can hold us accountable to our healthy—fat-losing—lifestyle, so when I walk down the aisle to Batman next year, I’ll feel absolutely beautiful and not like the hypo from Fantasia I envision in the mirror.

Also: I’m still a parent!

Let me clarify. First, yes, Appa is still alive. Thanks for asking. 😊 That dog lives better than most people, so—God forbid—if anything were to happen to him, the post would definitely start with that and not overdue weight loss. But yes, I’m still a plant parent, which means Artemis survived the move!

This may not be a big deal to you, but I cannot keep plants alive. At all. They’re like cars—they come to me to wither away and die. But after a little shopping at Ace Hardware, and too much money spent on her new home, Batman and I *cough* mostly Batman *cough* took Artemis from her mason jar and planted her in her fabulous new pot. I’m a little nervous with winter coming, but it is Florida and that’s not really a thing here. Plus, I can always pull her into the garage. The goal is to keep this avocado tree alive and growing, and if I can do that, then in six years I’ll finally get an avocado. She’ll start shaving a dollar or two off the grocery bill every week. At least I’ve got this huge payout coming 😊

WRITING:

Writing has been good. I’m still going ham on RTD because the saga is never-ending and battle-packed and as much as I love writing adventure, the battles take FOREVER because they’re more difficult to write. But it’s still going in the right direction, and I know after this next scene, the second part will be done. That leaves the third and final section which addresses the main antagonist, as well as solving all the other things that need to be solved, aka: the wrapping everything up level.

It’s been a year, but I’m still writing it. I haven’t lost steam yet, which is good since I’ve been writing this series since 2011. 2011, GUYS!

Anyway, onto the IWSG optional question:

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?

I don’t really have an answer here, mostly because I don’t research my stories. Er—that sounded bad. Let’s try again…

*ahem*

A lot of what I write is made up (think high-fantasy) or contemporary, which needs very little researching. Because of that, I’m very rarely online, unless it’s to check clothing styles or double-check company names. But, I will say, I did spend a very long afternoon watching videos on how to speak with an Australian accent for a character. Not really research, but voice-research. (kinda fits the question?) The accent always sounded cool when I read it in books and I thought it would be fun to have a foreign character. Turns out, it’s way more fun reading it, than writing it.  Ended up changing the character back to American.  Sorry, Walker 😊

What about you? Published or not, what have you googled for researching a story? And how are you as a plant parent? Any weight issues?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

IWSG and the Forefront of Inconvenience

Remember last week when everything was breaking? Everything wasn’t done.

My car door-handle broke off.

I was leaving work, and using my obvious She-Hulk strength, I opened the door and the thing came off in my hand. Literally snapped right off. For a second I stood there, holding it. Staring at it in disbelief. Yes, I know I drive a piece of crap circa 2005, and yes, I’m surprised she hasn’t joined the other flying cars in the sky. But really? The door-handle? The driver’s seat door-handle? You know what this means. This means that every time I have to get into my car, I either have to climb in through the back seat or from the passenger side. Every time until it’s fixed, and it usually takes me a hot minute to fix things that aren’t at the forefront of importance.

This is at the forefront of inconvenience, which is different, and which I usually slack on. If I’m inconvenienced for a few seconds, I’ll glower and whine and as soon as it’s right as rain (aka I’m back in the driver’s seat and ready for take-off) I’ll forget about it until the next time I’m glowering and whining. Plus, I have about a *thousand* other essential things I enjoy more that I should be doing, like writing this post about not fixing my broken car door-handle. I’m sure I’ll get around to it soonish—or until it slips from inconvenience to importance, because of, you know, like, safety issues. Have to make a quick get away if the zombies are on me, and they won’t stop so I can let myself in through the passenger seat. Zombies (rapists, murders, aliens) aren’t polite like that.

Also, I think the air-conditioning is going. Maybe I should just get a new car and be done with it. Or find a unicorn and commute the old way. That would work too.

Okay, that’s enough of real-life nonsense. Onto the IWSG option question:

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you’d forgotten about, or an ending you never saw coming?

HA. I’d love that positive and belated response to a submission. When’s that coming? I should probably enter more things though…might up my odds a bit.

Let’s see…I think I’m really only surprised in my writing by my characters. I’m a panster, so I have no idea what’s coming most of the time, and when one of my characters is like, “aha! You thought it was this way, but it’s not! MUAHAHAHA!” My jaw drops and I’m like, “touché, character!”

Honestly, that’s what I love about being a panster. I tried the whole outlining thing and it DID. NOT. WORK. But giving my characters the reins and following their lead, I’m constantly surprised by where their stories take me, because, it’s never what I plan nor expect. So you (the reader) and me (the writer) are both surprised. (Ultimate Win-Win.) 😊

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

P.S. In case you don’t believe me about the door-handle:

Taste Testing and Character Traits IWSG

Batman and I went to our first wedding taste-testing 😊

I must say, if I’m ushered into a room with an open bar and a three-course meal (with passed appetizers and a display station) on a Tuesday night and NOT have to pay for any of it, I plan on getting married more often.

This freaking rocked.

I’m not sure what I expected. That’s a lie. Yes, I do: I expected to walk into a plain conference room where there would be a long table filled with couples sitting in front of a plate, waiting to try a sample of each entrée. This is not what happened. Batman and I attended a “fake reception” complete with a cocktail hour and dinner so we could access not only the food, but the wait staff, service, and overall appearance as well. So far, we liked what we saw:

Since the selfie option on my phone isn’t working (and because I can’t figure out how to fix it) I asked Batman to take a picture of us. This is what he sent me:

So, yes 😊 Wedding things are happening. And I’m super into company’s offering me free food and booze to secure potential business.

Now, onto writing things! July’s question for Insecure Writer’s Support Group:

What personal traits have you written into your characters?

Hmm. Probably more than I like to admit. I think—whether subconsciously or not—we tend to write our own traits into our characters, but for me, personally, I think I include a lot of my humor. What can I say—I like writing characters I could be friends with. I’m not sure if this counts, but I definitely write in my fears. I’m not terribly fond of spiders (if you haven’t noticed) and since I’m not keen on drowning either, I had Fallon battle this giant underwater creature—the Gorgen—which is very similar to a giant sea-spider. (Plague of Mybyncia – Book 2). Again, not sure if that counts as a trait, but I use my characters to battle my own fears. You know, writing is cathartic and stuff 😊

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

IWSG, Is That a Genre?

I ALMOST missed this post because Batman and I were house sitting this weekend and it totally threw off my writing schedule and then the first of the month snuck up on me, so I thought seriously about skipping this until I realized what post this was so here I am 😊

*ahem*

Optional question for Insecure Writers Support Group:

Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in, and why?

That’s a toughie. All my genres have a subcategory of romance, so I guess that’s the obvious answer. Believe me, I love love LOVE writing romance because it gives me all the feels, and it’s pretty frigging cool coming up with something you hope others will get the feels from too. So, I’ll go ahead and answer the question now: Romance.

That being said, I need to shout-out to writing military strategies. Is that a genre? Or what genre would that fall under? I honestly couldn’t tell you, but in addition to romance, I love love LOVE writing Sampson/the gang’s conversations with foreign leaders in regards to their common enemy (Arizal Wars). I never thought I’d enjoy pairing up an ex guard, a chancellor, a princess, a tribal leader, two lieutenants and a handful of helpful humans to discuss plans for domestic and foreign invasions—but I do! More than I thought I would. 😊 And what’s more, I love when they disagree on how things should be handled. I’m rooting for everyone, because everyone has a valid point, but they each want things to play out differently and the drama is AMAZING. I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to it, but there you go, my honorable mention in genre categories, and I don’t even know what it is.

Since I write fantasy and science fiction (again, with a subplot of romance) there tends to be a lot of corrupt leadership in my stories. Am I writing pieces that echo something about the nature of our county in this day and age? Not even close. I have an imagination, and I dream up all sorts of worlds. Also, if everyone agreed and everything was wonderful and happy, there wouldn’t be a story. Shit needs to go down. People need to scramble to figure out what to do. Enter: Me.

To recap:

  1. Romance, because of “all the feels”

2. Military Strategies (genre?) because I might’ve been Patton in a previous life. We’ll never know.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

It’s a Toss Up For Me IWSG

First and foremost: Happy birthday, Courtney! 😊

You are an AWESOME older sister, and before anything else, today is YOUR day. Happy, happy, HAPPIEST of birthdays, I love you, and I’m sorry I pushed your face into the couch all those times we fought. You did kind of ask for it though.

Second and secondmost: Batman went under the knife last Friday. Sadly no, not to something cool like ninjas or pirates or psychotic rogue Canadians. He had a little outpatient surgery to remove a benign lump that was causing some breathing troubles. Not cool when you want to like, live and breathe normally. But he’s out and about and *technically* has lost more weight for the wedding than I have. I need to step my game up.

Third and thirdmost: Happy IWSG day 😊

I’ve done a lot of writing (and have some writing updates!) but I’m not ready to get into anything yet, so we’ll focus on the optional monthly question:

Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

Huh.

Actually kind of tough.

I love my protagonists because they’re funny and cool and smart, so naturally I enjoy writing them…but there is something amazing about writing terribly awful characters. 😊 I guess it’s fun because you get to peek into another kind of mindset, and whereas you strive to do good in reality (I hope?) you can be as twisted and fucked up as you want through the character. So…there is a bit an allure to it.

I don’t know. This one is a toss up for me. I’ll say both.

What about you?

Any birthdays coming up? Or surgery? Who do/would you think you’d prefer to write: hero or villain?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.