Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sequels, the lament

I love sequels. I love getting to take those characters out on another hair-brained adventure. It's the nature of us as humans to crave very strongly the "Same but Different" feel that a really good sequel is supposed to give you. I love sequels.

Right up until the moment I'm the one writing it.

With sequels, part of the problem is that we've been training to write the first book in a series, not the last book or the middle book. One thing we have going for us is that there are some really amazing sequels out there:

The Empire Strikes Back

and, umm, you know, that other sequel...

Okay, I'm gonna level with you, there are very few sequels that make me happy that I'm dealing with a sequel. There's something about sequels that make me tremble in fear. Largely, the biggest fear is that people lose their ability to tell stories. For instance, the reboot of StarTrek: the absolute pinnacle of the movie (for tension purposes) happens 15 minutes before the end, and then Spock goes and punches out Khan. *sigh* And this is a common problem in sequels. The actual beats are misinterpreted by the very people in charge of making the sequel. And I live in fear that I'm also making those mistakes.

Of course, the real problem with writing a sequel is This Song!


(That's what we do in Hollywood)




(And everybody knows that the sequel isn't quite as good...)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Great things get in my way: Insecure about getting it done

There's this thing that gets in my way sometimes.

When people are inspired by something, they often move to produce work to honor it, or mimic it, or anything, but they are inspired to produce.

When I see something that touches my soul, it washes me out in a sea of ennui. For days afterwards, I'm in a funk because I want to make something that touches people the way I've been touched. I want to give people an experience, but right after I've had one, I'm paralyzed by the enormity of what I'm trying to do. It feels like, in those moments, that I'll never manage to do something as beautiful/meaningful/inspiring/hopeful/touching.

I admit this is the leftover dregs of that inner voice. It's there in the background saying nasty things like "See that, you'll never make anything that good." I hate that it exists, and I really hate that I can't exterminate it. I see this as one of my greatest personal failings. People talk about how they are able to destroy this voice inside them, that they can shut it up. Mine has a loudspeaker and access to the house speakers.

So what about you? Does your nasty voice compare you to what's going on around you? Does it get in the way of your ability to create?

Remember to hop around and go visit the Ninja Captain and  his cohosts Murees Dupe, Alexia Chamberlynn, Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Changing of the guard

If you read much of any of my social media, you've probably figured out that I have a new cat in the family.

What I haven't talked about much is how we also lost a kitty. My James Bond Villain cat died. She was a wonderful cat, and I didn't plaster it all over town because I didn't feel like it was anyone's place to know but me.

I hurt so much that I had a very difficult time with the whole "moving on" thing. People sort of expected me to be able to just get up and move on like I had when I was younger. For those of you wondering, when I was younger, my cats were never quite the same part of my life. Those cats were indoor, outdoor cats, and they never had the same level of affections. They were obligations, meat machines to be properly fed and watered with the occasional pet, but Villain cat was different. She sat with me when I read books. She slept next to me at night. She patiently waited while I worked on my master's degree and then later when I sifted through all manner of research. She waited up with me when the baby was crying. She was like a presence in my house that I had come to take for granted.

And at first, the hardest thing was to think about another cat. My other cat roamed the house yowling all night long. He had always done this, but only for a few minutes a night. After the death of Villain Cat, he roamed the halls singing the songs of his people at all hours.

It was clear, we would need to get another cat, because the companionship alone was killing my kitteh, and he was making sure we all knew his suffering. But whenever I met new cats, cats looking for a new home, I just couldn't attach myself to them. They felt like shoddy replacements, and I was definitely struggling with the too soon problems. I clung desperately to the memory of how Villain Cat and I had met, the only thing in the world that she wanted was out of that cage, and anyone would do. By the graces of luck, it had been us, and she had changed our life.

And then we found Jack.

He snuggles on my daughter's lap and climbs the curtains. He ate the edit letter from a revise and resubmit. He ate the chicken right off our plates when we looked away for a second. He's so very different from Villain cat, it's funny. My other cat, Tea Thief, loves him too.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

State of the Writing address

Okay, nothing so formal, but I thought I'd put in some questions I was asked at my signing as they bare repeating here since people have been asking both on and off the interwebs:

I hope this is the first in a series. Yes I am writing a sequel to Acne, Asthma, And Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon. No, just cause I'm writing it doesn't mean that it's going to happen.

Are you going to self publish the sequel if it comes to it (i.e. if my publisher decided not to pick it up, or folded or otherwise was unable/unwilling to publish the title)? I don't know yet. The thought of being in charge of the whole thing currently makes me shiver in me timbers.

Are you going to be writing anymore contemporary? Probably not. They aren't my real cup of tea, and the last one made me cry too much. Also, the general lack of explosions and car chases was a real downer for me.

How long does it take for you to write a novel? Umm, that depends on the rest of my life. I know, I should be all professional, but unfortunately, my muse doesn't work that way. I started in on the sequel in March, but had to put it aside for other endeavours (fingers still crossed), and only just started back in on the sequel. So when will my first draft be done? Historically 2 to 3 months. So in July-ish. Maybe? Next question!

What made you decide to write?
... With writing, it's never about deciding to write, it's about failing to quit. This question is so loaded with traps. I love it, but the answer is dependent on the day and the mood. The question I think I like better is "why do you write?" because why did I decide to write implies that there was a moment in my life where I could have either written or not, and in that moment I had a profound thought. This wasn't the case. There was a moment when I could have written, and I did because I thought it would be fun (oh, naive me)




Wednesday, May 4, 2016

We're doing a sequel! IWSG post


Wow, A to Z was insane this year! I think I might be spending the next ten months just trying to catch
up, which brings me to, “Wait? It’s May? What happened to April???” I know everyone is saying it, but April, for me, was a blur of my first real author events and other insanity not related to writing.

But you came for the insecurity, so please check out TheNinja Captain and his co-hosts Stephen Tremp, Fundy Blue, MJ Fifield, Loni Townsend, Bish Denham, Susan Gourley, and Stephanie Faris! 


So what am I insecure about? Wow. What a thing to ask. Right now, the thing eating at me is the fact that I don’t know how this next part goes. See, I’m writing a sequel. I’m very hopeful that this sequel will get published, but the last time I wrote a sequel was in 2010. I’m a bit rusty. And there are a lot of people who REALLY want to read it. As in I get more than one email a week asking for a sequel.

Now, part of me wants to respond to all y’all and say “It Cometh,” but the fact of the matter is, I already know the story and how long it will take (sorry, longer than you would hope…), and the other part of me wants to curl up in a little ball and pretend the real world doesn’t exist. Obviously, the second is less conducive to the whole writing of a sequel thing, so clearly I have some issues. They are as follows:

Issue of the first: will anyone even like what I’ve done to their favorite character
Issue of the second: What if I choke up and can’t do any of it?
Issue of the third: Will anyone even care because I will have taken so long to get the sequel out?

Right, well, issue of the first is a non-issue. Roughly half of the people are going to hate what I’ve done with their favorite character regardless of anything I actually do. In fact, the only way the first issue can become a real issue is if the characters never do anything again. And that’s not happening because I’m writing the sequel.

Second: I choke. Well, I mean that could legitamitely happen, but I sort of already have a plot, a support group, and a helluva good start. Choking does not appear to be in my realistic future.

Third: Will anyone care. I have to admit this one eats away at my soul, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. I’m human, and no matter how fast I write, a sequel will take a greater than zero amount of time to write. So, I just have to get things moving and hope for the best.

So yeah, full of insecurity, and all of it stuff I can do nothing about. I guess that really means it’s time to get back to work.


What’s eating you this month? Got any answers to my conundrums other than “don’t worry about it?”

(also, I have that song from the most recent Muppets at the beginning. the line goes "Everybody knows that the sequel's never quite as good!")

Monday, May 2, 2016

Z for Zero Tolerance: A to Z challenge

Ack! I missed Z!

Well, that changes now. Here's my installment of Z!! Happy A to Z challenge everyone!



Endless Interview!

Howdy! A to Z was crazy right? Amazing stuff out there, and I'm still going through the backlog.

And no rest for the wicked, I'm kicking off May with an interview with Misha for her book Endless!

Here we go:

What inspired this book? 
It started because I went through a phase of reading and watching more than my usual helping of vampire fiction. I wanted to write about something other than vampires, though, so I got stuck on the concept for about two years. 

A weekend spent playing Assassin's Creed II made the idea fall into place for me.
Did you have anything specific in mind when you wrote it? 
Yeah I wanted the story to center around an immortal with amnesia, who falls in love with an immortal who helps her, but who turns out to be from an enemy faction. 

But after that weekend, I realized I wanted it to be more than enemy factions, I wanted it to be about two differentkinds of immortals entirely. 
Chocolate or steak?
Both.
Where do you love to write?
Anywhere, although I can't write in company. Like... I can write in a restaurant full of people, but not if any of them are sitting at the same table as me.
What is your least favorite trope?
Deus ex Machina. An answer just appearing out of the ether to solve things for the characters is just sloppy writing.
And last but not least, How do you handle those days when you just don't feel the muse?
I work on multiple projects in various stages of completion. So on days where I just don't feel like writing, I'll edit another project. 



W00t! Thanks for stopping by the blog, Misha! 



About the Book

First, do no harm.” Blake Ryan swore that oath to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals.

Things are different now. Using regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay, Ryan has led a quiet life since the Second World War. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them.

Until a plane crash brings Aleria into his hospital. Her life is vibrant. Crack to predators like him. She’s the exact sort of person they would hunt, and thanks to a severe case of amnesia, she’s all but defenseless.

Leaving Aleria vulnerable isn’t an option, but protecting her means unleashing his own inner monster. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.



 About the Author

Misha Gerrick lives near Cape Town, South Africa, and can usually be found staring at her surroundings while figuring out her next book.

If you’d like to see what Misha’s up to at the moment, you can find her on these social networks:





Excerpt:

This had to be what dying felt like. Floating outside my body, waiting for that final link to my life to be severed, only vaguely aware of indescribable pain. More screams than I could count rose up around me. Hundreds of footsteps beat against tiles. I couldn’t open my eyes if I wanted to. Not when it was easier to listen and wait. People shouted for a doctor or an IV, or a thousand other things that made no sense. I listened to all the chaos, trying to untangle it in my thoughts.

Soon, I could go. The peace around me was so relaxing, completely out of place in the clamor I heard. I wanted it. To rest forever in that peace. Why not? There was a very good reason, but I couldn’t call it to mind.

A numb buzz shot through my body and shattered my serenity.

It happened again. Only this time was more of a sharp pulse. The third time jolted like lightning. The fourth…Hell. Suddenly, the screams were coming from me. My heart’s relentless thundering added to my torment.

Pain.

Everywhere.

My chest burned like fire. It hurt to breathe. Cold air drove down my throat and into my lungs, amplifying the inferno in my chest. My skin felt scorched. It couldn’t be. It wasn’t right.

I had to see. I had to understand why pain dominated my existence like this. My eyes were fused shut. My breaths grew shallow, trying to draw air when there was none. I tried to clench my teeth. I bit hard plastic. A pipe. Cold air suddenly forced back into my lungs, out of time with my own breathing. This was wrong. It wasn’t safe. I had to see. The best I got was a little fluttering of my lashes.

A high-pitched beep shot through my head. It repeated again and again. I wanted to reach over and slam my fist into its source. My arm wouldn’t lift. Something kept it trapped. A scream rose up from the depths of my soul, but the pipe jammed inside my throat stifled the sound. I only managed a whimper, trying my best not to gag. More air blasted into my lungs against my will. What was going on? I was trapped in my own body, but why?

I needed to move. I had to move. Now. Before… Even… Even though… Panic gripped me. The beeps increased at a frenetic pace. I needed to move. To be gone. Didn’t matter where. Just not here. Not defenseless. Not trapped.

The air sucked out of my lungs. I gasped, choking on nothing, strangled by invisible fingers. I tried to convulse my body. To twist myself free of what’s holding me.

Nothing.

The air rushed back in a cold flood. Seconds later it left, only to return in the same amount of time.

There was a rhythm to the air. In… out... in… out… The breaths were slow—sleep-like. I concentrated on this rhythm, striving to clear my head. If I wanted out, I needed to think. Calmly. Clearly. Eventually, those irritating beeps slowed. I tried to focus past the sound.

Voices buzzed about me, adding to my need to see, to do something to protect myself. No one seemed to pay attention to me. Good. I could use that to my advantage.

I centered my every thought on moving my little finger. It finally jerked, but collided against something solid. So the thing trapping my arm was physical and too heavy for me to lift. It was better to be trapped than paralyzed. With luck I could escape my restraints. I tried my other hand, but it was cemented stuck as well. Right leg. Left leg. Damn it! Both trapped. I had to move!

No.

No, I needed to stay calm. I tried to make larger movements, biting the pipe in my mouth against the urge to scream in pain. There was no wiggle room.

Fearing that I might be blindfolded, I focused on blinking. It worked. My eyes opened and the blur faded, revealing ceiling tiles. Why would there be tiles? Where was the canvas of hospital tents? The distant sounds of bombs dropping? The power of their explosions rushing through my blood?

No. That wasn’t right. I wasn’t there.

Where was I, then?