14 Jan 2014

2014: The Year of the Plan

I'm pretty sure 'the plan' wasn't one of the original Chinese zodiac signs, but I've decided to make it mine this year. And, I'm determined to stick as close to it as possible. And it's not just my writing that I want to set out a plan for this year either, though that will be a big part of it.

I'm planning on continuing regular workouts at least three times a week. That means getting my arse out of bed in the morning and going to the gym before work. Tiring work, but it'll be worth it in the end. I've been struggling to shift a bit of fat from my stomach area for the past few years, but I feel like I'm starting to make progress now.

And, of course, that leads into planning my diet. Well, it's not so much a diet as it an eating plan. No more takeaways for this author, except on special occasions (because everyone should be allowed to cheat once in a while). I'm going to really cut down on my sugar and saturated fat intake and see if I can't shake this last bit of fat.

Then there's my writing. I've scribbled down my plan onto my whiteboard and added provisional deadlines for each piece. You can see what I've scheduled in the pic to the right, and holy crap just looking at it makes me wonder how in the actual hell I'm going to manage all that. But you know what? I'm damn well going to do it! When you think about it, it's less than 1200 words a day. Totally manageable.

I've got Slasherazzi lined up and almost ready for submission for the end of this month. Daeva 3 is lined up for publication later this year. Other than that, I probably won't submit any other stories. I'm going to focus on completing first drafts for several books before I think of publishing anything else. Two reasons for this. One, I want to have more regular releases, and having a stock of completed first drafts will help with that. Two, you might notice but I have a longer series planned this year. So far I have a very basic outline for ten books for it, and I have a feeling a couple more might be added. I'd like to get well ahead in writing this series before the first book even gets submitted.

Anyway, that's the titles I have lined up for this year. Some of you may be wondering what they're all about, so I've included a bit more information below about what you can expect.

Daeva 3 (Return of Darkness)
Mik and Ash return for the final installment of the Daeva trilogy. An old evil has returned with the intention of wiping out the vampire race for good; something our heroes had wanted themselves in the not-so-distant past.

Detective Alex Beckman is having trouble balancing his work and personal life as he struggles to patch things up with his boyfriend, Vince, and catch a serial killer who likes to torture his victims and mutilate their genitals before killing them.

Some of you may know this one as The Back Door. Set in a futuristic dystopian world, Jason struggles to survive as a hacker, fighting against the authoritarian rule of The Accord. But during his search for Static, an elusive hero of the people and thorn in the side of the government, Jason finds something else he'd desperately been searching for.

Naga (working title: Halcyon series)
The Naga are a race of amphibious shapeshifters who dwell at the bottom of the ocean. Ryan was exiled from his race ten years ago and has since managed to forge a life on land. But one chance encounter with a man whom he saves will set off a chain reaction of events that drag him into the supernatural world of vampires, witches and werewolves, and eventually back to his home city of Halcyon.

Cold Space
A malfunction in the cryostasis chamber during a deep-space voyage leaves Jarrett alone on a ship with only the ship's AI for company-an AI created by downloading the mind of a comatose man into the ship's computer system. But what happens when these two men start to develop feelings for each other?

It's going to be a very busy year as you can see, so feel free to cheer me on. Anyone else got any goals for this year you don't mind sharing?

1 Jan 2014

Happy Old Year: 2013

While everyone is busy celebrating the start of a new year, I've decided that I'm going to celebrate last year instead. I know, I'm such a rebel, but I feel like it would be wrong to move on without recognising all the good things that happened in the last twelve months. So, I've decided to list my top 13 things that happened in 2013.

1) I got my first contract with a publishing house (well, I got two of them actually)

At the beginning of 2013 I finally plucked up the courage to submit one of my books to Dreamspinner Press. After several weeks of anxiously waiting for a reply, I received my contract. On 26th August, No Angel was released; my very first novel with a publisher. Not only that, but I also signed a contract with Wilde City for the Zombie Boyz anthology. Hopefully that first step opens up the way for many more releases in the future.

2) I finished the first draft of a book I'd been struggling with for over three years!

In July 2010, I came up with the idea for a book about a serial killer. Over the next few years I had plenty of attempts at starting up the project again, but each time my productivity quickly ground to a halt. But on 29th December 2013, I finished the first draft. Hooray! I've sent it off to a couple of betas and am awaiting their feedback before I dive into revisions and submit the story to a publisher.

3) I completed a 10k run

Many people might not know this, but I've always had problems with the muscles in my lower legs. I have a condition that sporadically pops up and causes the muscles to tighten to the point where they become rock solid, usually in response to physical exertion. As you can imagine, this would make it very painful to walk on, and more often than not the trigger would be... Yup, walking.

I started running using the C25k program in May 2012 in the hopes that regular exercise might help alleviate my condition. By around Nov. 2012 I was able to run 5km without too much hassle. I then decided to take this one step further and go for 10k. I finally achieved this in April this year.

4) I managed to stick to my previous resolution of going to the gym more

I tell myself I'll do this every year, and for one reason or another always end up not going. This year, particularly in the second half, I've been going at least twice a week, sometimes up to four times. I may still have a way to go to get the results I want, but I feel like now I'm at least on my way there, and am confident I'll reach my goals sometime in 2014.

5) I made it through GRL without hiding from the camera too much

If you saw me in Albuquerque, you probably remember that I was fairly quiet and shied away from having my picture taken. When I signed up for Atlanta, I was determined to make the most of my time there and have plenty of fun. Well, I certainly did that, and there were many, many pictures of me popping up on Facebook and Twitter the whole time.

What's more, I think it's evident from the pictures how much fun I was having, and how I was feeling a lot more comfortable than the previous year. I still find it difficult to smile naturally when I know a camera is pointing at me, but I definitely look a lot happier, and I don't hate my pictures as much now.

6) I made a lot of new friends

On the back of that last point, I got to meet a lot of great people this year. I think I ended up with about 40 new friend requests on Facebook over the course of the week, and I hope to continue this trend in years to come, while continuing the friendships I've made this year.

7) I learned to make and flip pancakes

As we all know, the art of making and flipping pancakes is an extremely valuable life skill. While I may not have perfected this, I'm definitely getting the hang of it.

8) I taught myself Photoshop

Another important skill to have is the ability to manipulate images. Why? Because then you can
totally make yourself look hot on those dating websites and lure unsuspecting victims to your home. Or, you can do as I did and make some cool images. I love doing this kind of thing and wish I had more time to practice so one day I could do it professionally.

9) The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey

So this isn't something that happened to me, per se, but seriously this film was fricking awesome! This was the first book I read (not including books at school), and  I loved it. Seeing it brought to life on screen gave me multiple nerdgasms, and I'm dying to see the rest of the films.

10) Spidey and Flash

A few months ago I brought home two new additions to my furry little family. They're both rascals, but I love them. Mik and Ash don't seem impressed by the boys, but that will probably change come mating season.

11) I went to my first Pride festival

While in Atlanta I attended my very first Pride event. Had a great time watching the parade and then
going round all the stalls in the park afterward. Very fun, though I still don't get the whole bead-collecting thing. Why was everyone so obsessed with the beads?

12) I came up with more story ideas than ever before!

And I still don't know what to do with them all. Hopefully I now have my writing mojo back, as I'm going to need to do some serious grafting in order to start catching up on my to-write list. The one I'm probably most excited about though is a long series (maybe 10 books or so) about an amphibious shifter in a world where paranormal creatures are out in the open. The world building alone that I've been doing makes this my biggest project so far.

13) The end of the year came

Making it through another year is cause enough for celebration. Every year we survive, is another opportunity for us to grow and evolve. And I can't wait to see what the next twelve months hold for me.