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Sneak Peak: Blood & Bone #4 – A Sanguine Solution 5/?

Sneak Peak: Blood & Bone #4 – A Sanguine Solution 5/?

The countdown to Book 4 continues this week with another snippet from B&B 4: A Sanguine Solution.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4.

B&B 3.5 Remainders, an f/f novella set during The Symbiotic Law is also now available through amazon!

Chapter 2b

Patrick

Pat met Sabira Mallory in the parking lot. She had a newspaper raised over her head to fend off the rain.

“I spent most of last night making phone calls,” she said.

Their trip to the club near yesterday’s body had been frustratingly fruitless. Despite Mallory’s assertion that someone would have to be on the premises to get ready for the evening’s crowd, they had been met with a quiet, locked building. Pat’s wolf senses had confirmed that there hadn’t been anyone home.

“Hopefully Lynch has a name for us,” he murmured, holding the door open for her.

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Sneak Peak: Blood & Bone #4 – A Sanguine Solution 3/?

Sneak Peak: Blood & Bone #4 – A Sanguine Solution 3/?

The countdown to Book 4 continues this week with another snippet from B&B 4: A Sanguine Solution.

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

B&B 3.5 Remainders, an f/f novella set during The Symbiotic Law is also now available through amazon!

Chapter 1c

“Sorry,” the wolf muttered, though there wasn’t anything apologetic about his tone, only a hint of confusion and more bitterness than was probably healthy to hear in the voice of the man who claimed to be in love with you.

“Are you tired?” Pat asked. “Hungry? I could fix you something.”

“It’s too early for dinner.”

“I’ll start something,” he said, disappearing into the kitchen.

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Random WIP Snippets

Random WIP Snippets

IDK you guys. While my current project (a standalone paranormal i’ve nicknamed Oly!Necro!Prof if you follow me on twitter 😉 ) eats my brain and grows far beyond its planned length or scope, here’s a random snippet of an epic, sprawling scifi story i desperately want to write but am too afraid to write (it’s got human augmentation/disability, f/m/m, thieves, artists, insurance investigators, and references to Donna Tartt)

From the unwritten TRIPTYCH

Agent Carmine felt the distinctive tug as the cross-planetary sweep drew to its final destination. Near-instantaneous sweep travel had its uses, but she could never quite grow accustomed the feeling that came with it, like being sucked through a straw by the force of a mach wind tunnel.

She blinked into the blinding metropolitan sun and then down at her feet, just to make sure that they were both there, planted shoulder width apart on the white plastine Arrivals platform.

“Good morning. Are you the police detective?”

Carmine looked up at the docent standing next to the platform. Hidden behind a pair of bug-eyed dark glasses, her augmented eyes swept him from prematurely balding head to the dusty toes of his shoes. In the face, he did not appear more than twenty-five.

Her stomach flipped over as she slouched down the ramp, left hand clenched tightly around the handle of her slim silver briefcase.

“No,” she said. She flicked back the edge of her jacket to reveal a holographic badge pinned to the under lapel; it displayed her picture, name, and employee IDENT mark. “I’m with the insurance company.”

The docent swallowed. “They sent me out here to meet the detective.”

“Then you’d better wait for them.”

The weather over the city burned too hot to be comfortable in a dark purple suit, and Carmine regretted the lack of foresight which had led her to dress that morning—after The Call, as the blood rushed loud in her ears from anticipation—without first checking the forecast. She shook out her arm as she walked up to the post-post-post High Modern Institute for the Arts, and shoved both tight velvet sleeves up into the crook of her elbows.

This high above ground level, all of the cloud scrapers were faced in light reflective materials that did a good job of fending off the planet’s heat, but the glare they cast cut through the darkest glasses to leave one’s eyes watering. The High Modern Institute was the same, shaped in soft, sweeping curves made to look like white adobe, but were, no doubt, composed of some recycled plastine hauled out of the ocean on the back of a fishing trawler after there were no fish left to trawl. The architects and city planners made a good show of things though, composing this sprawling slice of Old Earth against a backdrop of washed out blue vaseline sky and wispy white clouds.

Carmine stepped through the automatic doors and showed her badge to the security attendant at the turnstile. They were closed that morning, but her company’s name was enough to gain attendance to the inner lobby—even if they hadn’t seen fit to send someone outside to wait for her. From there it was a matter of presenting herself to the Customer Service desk and waiting until a managing docent could be fetched.

She slouched against the chest high counter, one sneakered foot pressed flat against the smooth surface, and her fingers clenched still tighter around her briefcase. Her dark glasses remained on while she waited so as to facilitate her examination of the Institute’s employees. The building may have been closed to the public, but it appeared that no one had seen fit to give the exhibit guides day off, and now they clustered around the lobby in little cliques, whispering and staring towards the East Wing.

“You didn’t waste any time,” a man’s voice grumbled from her left.

 <—— and some random protagonist brainstorming art cuz never say i can’t procrastinate

IDK, I just find writing scifi really scary. Anyone else feel that way?

Lia Looks Ahead At 2016

Lia Looks Ahead At 2016

Happy New Year!

While my roommate yells at Halo in the other room, I’ve sat down to reexamine my goals for 2016.

2015 was a weird year for me. I opened a brick and mortar restaraunt, discovered that I do not have the personality to work in the service industry on a day-to-day basis, and sold that business after ten months. I spent most of last year not writing and it was incredibly frustrating and painful.

I also experienced several personal challenges between family, friends, guildies, and roommates. Basically, 2015 was a really turbulent year!

NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner

But after a winning November 2015 NaNoWriMo, I’ve been able to get my writing back on track and finished the year with TWO new releases–crazy!

Pacchia 2 400x640   the hon beta

And I kicked of 2016, curled up in bed, typing away at my next full length release. I have a feeling 2016 maybe be a tough year fiscally (my living next September is going to be a headache thanks to the aforementioned friend-roommate drama but we’ll cross that bridge when it gets closer ;)) but I think it’s going to be an amazing year creatively!

Book Changes & The Profane Series

A few months ago I released a short story titled Lachlan Graham: Occult Investigations. Lachlan was written over the summer while I worked in my tea room and originally conceptualized to be written as a series of short stories in the same vein as Sherlock Holmes. At the time, I didn’t have much energy to write, so I hoped the short form would be doable despite my tight schedule.

A month after I released that short story, I learned that there was a buyer for my tea room. Within a couple of weeks, I was free of the responsibility and time suck that was my restaurant and back to writing full time.

I think you’ll all agree, that we love longer novels than short stories around here, and the BLOOD & BONE series remains my most popular work. So, with that in mind I had a tough conversation with my editor: What do I do about Lachlan?

You see, Lachlan Graham lives and works in the same universe as the Blood & Bone series and it was always my intention for his story to cross over with Ethan and Patrick’s. But in writing that first short, I’d had to trim down a lot–an entire POV in fact!–and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the way my plan for Lachlan. My writing partner made things easy though, she looked at me and said: so turn it into a full novel, you’ve got enough story for it, right?

And I do. I have a LOT to say about Lachlan (and Vector!).

A few of you have noticed that Lachlan Graham #1 The Suicide Case is no longer available on amazon and that is because that short is being retooled into a much longer novel, which will be part of a COMPANION SERIES to the Blood & Bone Series titled: The Profane Series.

Confused yet? lol

tl;dr

I’m writing a new series (The Profane Series) starring Lachlan Graham and Vector Clanahan, that will interweave with the BLOOD & BONE Series. Furthermore, I’ve got a FOURTH B&B novel in the works 😉 I just can’t leave Ethan Ellison alone, okay?

Here’s a sneak peak at the rough draft for the updated Lachlan 1 cover

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Looking Ahead at 2016

This post has gotten a bit long winded so let me wrap it up by saying I’m sorry I disappeared in 2015 and I promise that you’re going to be getting a LOT more from Lia in 2016.

And just to give you an idea how much more, here’s my updated publishing schedule for the next 7 months!

Publishing Schedule *Updated for 2016

  • February – 2016 – The Profane Series #1: Medium Rare Feb 2
  • April – 2016 – The Profane Series #2: Vaper Trail April 5
  • May – 2016 – Pacchia #4: The Line of Allora May 3
  • June – 2016 – Blood & Bone Series #4: Ex Sanguin June 7
  • July – NaNoWriMo Live Blogging!
  • August – 2016 – Pacchia #5: An Alpha’s Worth
  • September – 2016 – The Profane Series #3: TBA
A Word About Multiple Drafts

A Word About Multiple Drafts

Why would you waste your time writing the wrong story?

On the subject of multiple drafts: drafting and re-drafting should not be confused with EDITING (which is a very valuable and necessary process). I define drafts as rewriting the same story in its entirety over from start to end. I spend a significant portion of time thinking about my story so that when I sit down to write I know what needs to be written and how it needs to be written, where form is as clear in my head as content. I could maybe understand writing a second draft for one or two books in a catalog of a dozen. But I cannot fathom why I would do this for every book.

If you aren’t writing the correct story STOP WASTING YOUR TIME WRITING THAT GARBAGE and go back to the drawing board.

I don’t care that Hemingway said you should write 30 drafts of something. I think that if you NEED to write 30 drafts some something, there is a fundamental problem with your process such that maybe you should spend a little more time thinking about your story before you sit down to write it. But then again, I’m not a fan of wasting my own time.

A Disconnect Between Readers And Authors

A Disconnect Between Readers And Authors

Have you noticed I’ve been trying to write more regularly here? 😉

Today I want to talk about something I hope will prompt some reader responses. I hang out on a couple author forums (notably Kboards) just to see what other people are trying because I’m curious what has and hasn’t worked for them.

Write A Series

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I hear this advice given all the time. I’ve HEARD this advice given since I was a kid. If you want to make some money, write a series. It’s not new advice.

In 2014 Write A Serial

THIS seems to be the new tweak to the above adage. If you want to make money, write a SERIAL, and it seems like everyone is doing it!

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Okay, but you’re thinking to yourself, technically serials aren’t a new thing–they’re a pretty old thing. Serials are how ACD, Dickens, Poe and a bunch of other authors were published back in their day. True–but I think we can make a distinction between the sort of serials that Poe was publishing and the sort i’m talking about now. Namely, that Poe’s serials were part of a larger work–e.g. a newspaper–and today’s serials are stand alone ebooks.

The Caveat

So, I see people advising other writers to write a serial–readers love them! they say–but this advice always comes with the caveat that these same serials always attract low-star reviews. Specifically low-star reviews from readers complaining about the length of the work.

This brings me to the DISCONNECT I’m seeing between readers and authors. Authors say serials are great, readers love them, they make them lots of money, etc. But then you have a huge chunk of readers unhappy because of the length of the serial and the fact that it is NOT a full story (obvs, it’s part of a larger body of work, it’s a piece, hence serial).

What’s the break even point here? Do readers actually love serials or are they just buying them because that’s how authors keep breaking up otherwise great stories and thereby deluding authors into thinking the serials are doing great because hey, their sales numbers are still good, even though the whole format is leaving the reader cold?

Cliffhangers

And on a related note, going back to my first point which is GO WRITE A SERIES, this bit of advice is usually coupled with: be sure and use a cliffhanger so that your readers have something to look forward to in the next book. With this, however, I see some unhappiness cropping up over cliffhangers. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they something readers suffer through because they enjoy the story?

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What are your thoughts? Do you like serials? Do you hate them? Do you think serials belong as independent ebook entities or does the format really work best as a larger body of work?

The Road To Writing Full Time

The Road To Writing Full Time

You’ve heard the cliche: everyone thinks that they can be a writer. Or that writing a book can’t be that difficult. But anyone who has tried to write a book will probably disagree.

2014-Participant-Facebook-Cover

Writing is hard, except when it’s easy, and even then it’s still pretty hard.

For me, writing this month has been slow but steady. Book 3 is chugging along at 15k words right now (hopefully 16k by the time you read this). Definitely not where I wanted to see my word count but it’s a start. Every book begins with a start. And then you have to keep building and adding onto it, until you finish it. For most of us, myself included, this means writing a book is a marathon and not a sprint. It can be hard to keep that in my head.

I want to be a full time writer now. I want to bang out a novel every month or every other month now, but I’m not there yet. At most, I’m a halftime writer. I write fairly consistently but not 40 hrs a week–which is where I would ultimately like to be.

3 Stages Of Being An Author

  1. Beginner: you’re working on your first story, or maybe your second story, writing when you can but not overly consistently
  2. Amatuer: maybe you write consistently but you don’t write a ton, you’re averaging a book a year
  3. Full time: you write multiple books a year, you put in 40 hours a week, you treat writing as your full time job.

A lot of people spend a long time at stage 1. I spent four years at stage 1 calling myself a “writer” but not managing to finish anything. It took me 18 months to write Duality and about 8 months to write the sequel, The Convergence Theory. I thought by the time I would start Book 3 I would be at stage 3 already but I’ve discovered that I’m really still at stage 2: writing more consistently but not putting in enough hours to call this my full time job.

That’s OK. I don’t have to be at stage 3 right this minute. Maybe I won’t get to stage 3 for a couple more years and a couple more books. That’s fine. The important part is that, just like when I’m writing a book, I add onto my writing habits a little more and a little more.

I’m not going to start busting out 10k words a day this week. Or next month. I’m not going to reach my 85k word draft goal by May 1st but I will make it by June first, which is a huge improvement over TCT’s timeline.

Composition book or Writer's NotebookBuilding A Writing Career Begins With Good Habits

Just some thoughts to chew on if you’re feeling discouraged.

  • Set goals and meet them, but if you aren’t going to meet one, don’t become so discouraged that you give up or ignore the deadline altogether
  • Have patience, both with your work and yourself
  • Increase your time commitment, word goals, and publishing milestones steadily–remember the tortoise
  • For 75% of authors, making a living is all about building a backlist (eg 10+ published titles), building a backlist takes time
  • Even though this is a marathon, don’t hesitate to do tiny sprints here and there to encourage yourself
  • Don’t stop writing.

Do as I advise, not as I do. Trust me, I’m not good at always taking my own advise no matter how good it is. That’s another reason I’m still only at stage 2 😉

duality quoteQuestions About The Blood & Bone Trilogy/Timestamps/Prompts

I’m opening the floor this week to questions about my books (Duality as well as the unpublished sequels), as well as timestamp requests (something you wanted to see more of from the first story or what came after? Give me a prompt and I’ll write you at least 500 words. This is open to pre-story events, porn, and secondary characters as well). Least a comment below or hit me up with an email 🙂

Preparing For Camp NaNoWriMo: Outlining Your Book

Preparing For Camp NaNoWriMo: Outlining Your Book

There are two primary approaches to preparing for a new novel: outlining and discovering. People use many different words to describe these two terms but they all boil down to the same spectrum–and don’t get me wrong, writers definitely fall on a spectrum between these two extremes. I know that I do for sure.

Outlining

seattle mapOutline means you create a map or a timeline or maybe a traditional outline or a beat outline just something before you start writing. You make a roadmap for your book before you write. Maybe this is really detailed where you write a paragraph or half a page or a whole page for every chapter. Maybe this is as basic as writing down the Beginning, Middle, and the End of your book in bullet points.

Discovering

photo By Gandydancer
By Gandydancer

Discover writing is the opposite–big shock, I know. Maybe you start with a character or a place and you just start writing. Maybe you just give yourself some time to freewrite and see what grows out of that freewrite. The point is, pure discovery does not involve outlining. It involves writing your novel and seeing what happens, following rabbit trails without predetermining where they lead.

Most Writers Write On A Spectrum

I generally start all of my books with the protagonists–usually there are 2. I know who the story is about but not what it’s about. I might have an overarching theme, but not the plotty details. I will begin writing, a scene or two, then I’ll stop and outline the plot. I don’t really feel that I discover plots. I have to pull them out of a earth that I’ve discovered but they rarely present themselves. I spend a lot of time throwing plot ideas at my writing partner and asking: does that sound interesting? does this sound plausible? And from our discussions I begin to outline a plot.

Generally, I know the last scene in my book before I know what the plot will be, because to me the most important parts are character and character themes.

The more I write, the more I have to outline, otherwise I tend to have really bad writer’s block. For my own sanity, I cannot discovery write the middle of a book because if I left myself to do that nothing would ever get written.

writer's notebook outline
Original outline for The Source & The Wire circa 2011

My outlining methods have changed over the years as I’ve written more and as my writing programs have changed. Back in 2011 when I started writing regularly again I did all of my plotting by hand because I wrote in gdocs. I kept a notebook and I wrote the big plot outline in 1-2 pgs (sometimes with post-it notes overtop when things changed) and then I wrote chapter beats in the margins of the pages where I also hand wrote the story.

Now that I use Scrivener to write all of my stories I use Scrivener’s corkboard feature to lay out the story. I often brainstorm by hand but then I put all of those notes into Chapter and Scene files in Scrivener where I flesh them out, rearrange, and sometimes even re-write them.

Preparing For Camp NaNoWriMo 2014

An important part of NaNoWriMo is to start the event with a new project. Something that you haven’t written anything for yet and I actually think this is a good rule. This does not preclude me from planning for camp.

When I wrote The Duality Paradigm I didn’t have much planned. All I knew was that I wanted to try writing a romance novel, that it would be m/m because I hadn’t written het in a while and I often find het romances very problematic. I wanted to write something that would be quick without an eye for anything “literary,” I just wanted to write something fun. So I went with a few of my favorite trope flavors:

  • soulbonding (this link to Tv Tropes is the closest I could find though it’s not 100% what I mean by soulbonding)
  • werewolves
  • magic

I had those tropes in my head but nothing else planned. I had to discovery the characters, the plot, and the emotional arc. Suffice to say, The Duality Paradigm was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written.

Now whether you decide to outline anything before Camp starts is a personal choice. I’ve found–through trial and error–that I write more quickly if I have a goal in mind (e.g. some plot or series of points to hit). So I’ll be doing progressively more outlining as Camp approaches. I suggest trying both methods and then see where you fall between those two methods that makes you most productive.

Do you enjoying outlining or do you find it stifles your creativity? Let me know in the comments.

3 Tips For Writing Your First Novel

3 Tips For Writing Your First Novel

Saint_Mary_Magdalene_at_her_writing_desk_-_16th_cThis week I planned to talk about the process I went through writing my first novel, but I think I’ve covered that particular story—most notably last week during my overview of Camp NaNoWriMo—enough on this blog. Instead I’d like to offer the three most important pieces of advice I learned from writing The Duality Paradigm.

  1. Finish It. You’ll hear this sentiment from a lot of advice columns and that’s because it’s true. A lot of people “aspire” to be writers and in some regards anyone who tries to write a novel can call themselves a writer. But until you actually finish something—a novel, a novella, a short story, a screenplay, whatever—you will only be aspiring. And let me tell you something, you can aspire to something your entire life without ever achieving it. If you want to write a novel, write a novel and finish it.

    This is key to writing a novel for NaNoWriMo. The daily word count may be difficult to meet and it’s easy to become discouraged if your word count starts to fall behind. It’s important if you decide to try Camp NaNoWriMo next month that even if you miss a day or a couple of days, you must not give up! You might have to kill yourself and write 5000 words in a single day to make it up, but let me tell you, the feeling you get when you finish your novel is intoxicating and worth it.

  1. Be Disciplined. I think the most important decision you can make if you want to take your writing to the next step (from “aspiring writer” to “writer”) is to be disciplined about it. Something I hear from aspiring writers all too often is the expression: I have to wait to be inspired. Once again, you can spend your entire life waiting for Mistress Muse to stroke you. Writing is like anything else—painting, music, building something, playing a sport, making a scientific breakthrough—if you don’t pursue it, you won’t ever catch it. At one point or another, every writer who ever wrote a book had to sit down and write the damn thing and so do you.

    You don’t have to write thousands of words a day right out of the gate, but set yourself a goal. Decide that you’re going to write on X days and aim for X words. Just 100 words a day consistently is enough to get your momentum going. Along this same line of reasoning: no one was born knowing how to write the next great novel. If you want to write a good book, you have to learn how to write good. And the only way you’re going to improve your writing is to—you guessed it—write more!

Simin_Daneshvar

  1. Let Go. At some point, once you’ve made yourself write your novel and write the end you’ll move onto the revision and editing stages (I’m a big advocate for extensive self-editing. Learn good grammar practices and familiarize yourself with the basics of Chicago Style, but always get a second set of disciplined editor or proofreader eyes on your work! No matter how good you are at self-editing you will miss stuff, probably a lot of stuff. This is something I’ve learned the hard way). The revise-and-edit stage can go on forever. At some point you’re going to have to just release your work either into the wild or into your own archives and move on. If you only want to write 1 novel then fine, stop there. But if you’re serious about writing, storytelling, or making a living from your writing it is key that you keep writing.

    I wanted to add to this that if you do self-publish your book it’s important to market but don’t get hung up on marketing to the exclusion of writing your next book. I see a lot of new writers—and don’t get me wrong, I’m a baby writer too—asking on forums like the Kboards what they should do to get their book to sell more copies and they only have one book published. Well, hate to break it to you, but in this market the best thing you can do is write your next book.

This advice really goes for any book whether it’s your first or your fifteenth.

What’s your number one piece of writing advice? Tell me in the comments.

Next week I’m going to talk about outling vs pantsing and how I approach writing a new book as our Countdown to Camp continues. Happy writing!