In case you miss me, I #amwriting. (NEW PROJECT! Next Legends of the Light-Walkers!)

So, I log on to my blog today and find that it’s been over a month since I posted.

I blame Bernard Schaffer.

Long story VERY short, Bernard issued me a writing challenge, and I am doing my blurglemamjufloobelschnitzenest to face that challenge head-on and blast it into submission. I’ve got two major short stories in the works, both set in my Legends of the Light-Walkers universe. I’ve also AS OF TODAY started work on my NEXT LIGHT-WALKERS NOVEL, which might be of interest to you LLW fans out there.

More on that in a sec.

Elevator People

But significant to all of this LLW writing is this announcement I was tinkled every shade of pink and purple to make YESTERDAY:

PEOPLE! The first draft of my low sci-fi or soft sci-fi or whatever-you-call it novel ELEVATOR PEOPLE is finished! IT’S DONE!!! In celebration, I hereby grant all of you the rest of the day off! Two years, 4 months, 13 days, 97,314 words, and I am DONE! WOOT!

Y’all, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relieved to write THE END after the last line of a story. For all the various reasons I’ve blathered on about here before, this book was the hardest one I’ve ever finished. Probably the hardest one I’ve ever written. I harbor a sneaking suspicion that this means it’s either the best thing I’ve ever written…or the worst. Time and beta-reader feedback will tell. OH MABEL THE READER FEEDBACK ON THIS ONE. I might need to be institutionalized for the duration of beta-reader feedback.

That, however, is far in the future. For now, I can remain straightjacketless, as I shall let Elevator People sit and stew in its own juices for at least the net six weeks. Maybe eight weeks, I dunno. When I do return to it, I’ll read it straight through (doing as little editing as humanly possible), then tackle the editing and restructuring and rewriting. I’m actually looking forward to it, so it’s possible I’ll have to force myself to wait the entire six weeks. We shall see.

In the meantime, I get to leap fully nude into my next project, and I say fully nude because this one’s gonna be mucky and I really don’t wanna get it all over my clothes.

Legends of the Light-Walkers #3

This next project, my dears, is the COMPLETE REWRITE FROM THE GROUND UP OF MY LLW NOVEL FORMERLY ENTITLED LEGEND’S HEIR. Now entitled either Legends of the Light-Walkers: Legacy or This Novel Doesn’t Have a Title Yet or TNDHaTY.

For simplicity’s sake, I’m just gonna call it LEGACY for now.

Here’s the timeline of this novel:

1994 (age 17): began writing novel
1999: finished novel for Senior Seminar bachelor’s degree project in English/Creative Writing. And by “finished,” I mean, “completed first draft, gave it an editing once-over, and stuck it in a drawer for 13 years.”
2012: pulled novel out of drawer, measured

wordcount2

2012 (continued): said NO; butchered manuscript until usable parts drifted to the surface like choice meats in a vat of flesh-sludge; wrote new outline, new synopses, new character descrips, and story question
March 13, 2014: plunged nekkid into rewrite

So far, I’ve only gone through and sorted notes, trying to get a clear picture of what material I have to work with. That’s been a fun and illuminating trip down memory lane. I found a ton of stuff in the LEGACY notes that had nothing to do with the novel, such as German Bible verses, dates & times of doctor’s appointments, notes from my time as an Elfwood moderator, and lists of names that generally could suit a fantasy universe. Fun stuff, but not conducive to massive story rewrites.

rewriteAfter I finish perusing the notes and refamiliarizing myself with the story, I’ll start the actual writing. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should dig up the old digital file and just cut, cut & paste, and reword within that file. But really, that would be me being INCREDIBLY UNFORGIVABLY LAISSEZ-FAIRE, and that’s not something a writer can afford to be (she said mournfully, longing for the days when she neither knew this nor cared to).

Instead, I’ll be typing it all out from scratch, following my outline and referencing the ancient, massive manuscript plunked on my table. Last night, I asked the husband where I should put it while I’m working with it, and his response was to offer me his entire desk. Either I have incredible support, or he’s more deeply sarcastic than I ever dreamed*.

So, there we are. If you miss my blogging, just know that I’m working on something that’s gonna be way more fun for you and me both. 😉

Heart-felt thanks to Bernard for giving me a healthy kick in the ass. And I mean that.

The Light-Walkers short stories “Rethana’s Tower” and “Untitled, so far,” as well as the novel Legends of the Light-Walkers: Legacy, will be published before December 31, 2014.

HERE WE GO. Oh, Mabel.

___________________
* Just kidding. He meant it. : )

dragons, sociopaths, and zombie elves

YIPPEE! I love these stories and am so excited to share them with you!!!

So, in case you didn’t know it yet — a few days back, I pubbed my latest book:

The Elven Dead and Other Legends of the Light-Walkers!

This one is an anthology of 5 short stories and one novella, all set in my Light-Walkers universe. Long story short (HA HA HA), I let this one linger on my back burner for two years before I stirred the pot a final time (READ: did final edits) and got the whole six-course meal served up in edible form. Yay for overdue follow-through and resulting accomplishment!

“Who are you? And who in hells am I?”

The Light-Walkers: an otherworldly people of magic, mystery, and soul-rending purpose.

The Light-Walkers: arrogance, love, desperation, and a fierce determination to protect their magical birthright and their world–even if it means destroying ours.

The Light-Walkers: always elusive, forever unreachable, and yet…among us.

Playful sorcery that brings down nations. The fear factor in a magical venom cocktail. Undead, astral-projecting elves. In five short stories and one novella, Courtney Cantrell offers fresh glimpses into the world she uncovered in Rethana’s SurrenderRethana’s Trial, and The Dying of the Light. New characters, old friends, and base traitors populate this collection. Delve deep and sink your teeth into the marrow of the Light-Walker world. If the dragons don’t grab you, the undead elven soldiers will.

Just don’t turn your back on them.

Buy now for $2.99 on Kindle! (Paperback coming soon!)

SQUEEING ALL OVER THE PLACE. Enjoy, me hearties!

junowrimo catchup post, days 7-11

Well, I haven’t kept up with blogging JuNoWriMo, but at least I’ve been doing the writing work. For the most part, anyway.

day 7 wordcount: 2202

day 8 wordcount: 2014

day 9 wordcount: 0
We spent the 9th at a family reunion (the husband’s side). By the time we got home and got the 5yo to bed, my introvert had been showing all day and I had no words left. Pretty sure I vegged the evening away with the husband while he continued his recently-begun, first-time binge-watch of The Walking Dead.

day 10 wordcount: 2319

day 11
titles: 1 (The Priestess Murders — a Light-Walkers murder mystery)
today’s wordcount: 2,543
total wordcount: 23,292
chapters: 4.3
cups of coffee consumed today: 4
Fireball shots consumed today: none, and more’s the pity
sleuths: 2
corpses: 1 mostly intact, 1 dismembered
suspects: 8

BOOM, BABY.

Today’s total wordcount puts me three days ahead of schedule, which is particularly nice since I’ve had two dud days so far. Also, tonight I decided for sure to combine two suspects into one. There wasn’t really a reason for them to be two people, and it’s getting way too complicated to have as many suspects as I do. Technically, there will be two more fewer suspects by the end, because the two corpses (whom I’ve been counting as both bodies and suspects) were actually murdered by a third party instead of having killed each other.

Clear as mud?

P.S. I’m adding the tag “electric boogaloo” to this post because I wanted a “boom, baby” reference in the tags but didn’t want to create another new tag, and “electric boogaloo” has “boo” in it, which is almost “boom.”

This is my blog. I don’t have to make sense.

P.P.S. I’m thinking of starting to vlog regularly. JuNoWriMo must be killing brain cells.

junowrimo day 6

Today was a better day than yesterday. In more ways than one.

titles: 1 (The Priestess Murders — a Light-Walkers murder mystery)
today’s wordcount: 1,930
total wordcount: 14,214
chapters: 2.1
cups of coffee consumed: 13
Fireball shots consumed: more than 1. definitely more than 1.
sleuths: 2
corpses: 1 mostly intact, 1 dismembered
suspects-to-be: 7

I could do more tonight, but I’m tired. So it’s bedtime. Good night, sleep tight, and keep your blood on the inside. 😘

junowrimo day 4

Today’s stats:

titles: 1 (The Priestess Murders — a Light-Walkers murder mystery)
today’s wordcount: 4,435
total wordcount: 12,015
chapters: 2
cups of coffee consumed: 11
beers consumed: 1
sleuths: 2
murder scenes: 1
corpses: 1 mostly intact, 1 dismembered
dismembered body parts: 4
sets of exposed entrails: 1
suspects-to-be: 4
deceptions: 8
red herrings: 2
Chekhov’s gun: roger that

Finally got Body #2 onscreen! Flung some flopping fish into the mix! Got Chekhov to give up his gun! So much fun! Tally-ho! *toots horn*

junowrimo day 3

Today’s stats:

titles: 1 (The Priestess Murders — a Light-Walkers murder mystery)
today’s wordcount: 1,774
total wordcount: 7,580
chapters: 1
cups of coffee consumed: 9
beers consumed: 1
sleuths: 2
assistants/servants: 2 onscreen, 2 offscreen
murder scenes: 1
corpses: 1 offscreen, 1 onscreen
dismembered body parts: 3
suspects-to-be: 4
deceptions: 6

I’m enjoying this story, but if it weren’t JuNoWriMo, I’d be heavily editing already. I’m 7k+ words in, and I’m still in Chapter 1. And I also haven’t even gotten Body #2 onscreen yet. I know there’s no hard and fast rule about when/how that kind of thing is “supposed to” happen, but it still seems to me like I’m taking WAY too much time about it.

Building realistic suspense is hard, y’all.

junowrimo day 2

Today’s stats:

titles: 1 (The Priestess Murders — a Light-Walkers murder mystery)
total wordcount: 5,839
cups of coffee consumed: 7
beers consumed: 1
sleuths: 2
assistants/servants: 2 onscreen, 2 offscreen
murder scenes: 1
corpses: 1 offscreen, 1 onscreen
dismembered body parts: 2
suspects-to-be: 2
deceptions: 5

The plot, like the blood of the murder victims, thickens.

junowrimo day 1

I tried to post this last night but fell asleep at the keyboard. So.

Without further ado or adon’t, yesterday’s stats for my first NaNo Day One in seven years and my first ever JuNo Day One, period:

titles: 1 (The Priestess Murders — a Light-Walkers murder mystery)
wordcount on story: 2,427
wordcount on notes:879
total wordcount: 3,306
cups of coffee consumed: 4
beers consumed: 1
sleuths: 2
assistants/servants: 2 onscreen, 2 offscreen
murder scenes: 1
corpses: 2 offscreen
suspects-to-be: 2
deceptions: 2
movies/TV shows watched by 5yo: 2

Excellent start, I daresay. 😉 Onward!

the one where i don’t make wise choices sometimes

Dear Two Remaining Faithful Readers,

I’m back.

Sort of.

Maybe.

Long story short (too late), I have made the probably unwise choice of signing up for JuNoWriMo. It’s 99% like NaNoWriMo, except that it’s in June instead of November and it’s not affiliated with NaNoWriMo except for having gained permission to use the concept Mad Dash of Writing a 50K Novel in One Month That Isn’t November.

It’s Becca‘s fault for telling me that she’s doing a murder mystery for hers, and trying our respective hands at a murder mystery is something both of us have expressed a desire to do, and when she told me she’s going for it, it took me about five minutes to roll my eyes and sigh and come around to deciding that I wanted to hop on this crazytrain too.

So. There you have it. I’m doing a murder mystery for JuNoWriMo, and I’m setting it in my Light-Walkers Universe. After all, if I’m gonna indulge in complete insanity, I might as well go all-out and do my first ever murder mystery AND add magic and otherworldly creatures and lack of “modern” technology into the mix. It’ll be FINE.

Oh but come to think of it, it’s not actually my first murder mystery. My very first novel was a murder mystery. I was 12, I got 1.5 chapters in, and the gardener did it. I was highly inspired by Jessica Fletcher at the time. I still have the two typewriter pages somewhere. They’re a thing of ancient beauty, lemme tell ya.

During June I’ll try to update here daily with word count and story progress and amount of caffeine consumed. I have zero idea if I can actually swing the requisite 1667 words per day — in regular life I struggle to write even a little bit every day. But I also know that when motivated by sheer panic and the cheers & desperation of fellow writers, I can accomplish way more than I give myself credit for. So we shall see.

It’s worth noting that I’ve never done JuNoWriMo before, but I’m a NaNoWriMo veteran. From 2003-2011, I “won” it 7 times out of 9. Hopefully, some of those mad skillz still lurk deep within the recesses of my writerly subconscious.

I’m off now. Need to do some more plotting (murder mysteries are complicated!) and make sure the five-year-old isn’t torturing the cat. Ta-ta for now, cutie pies. *kisses*

to blog or not to blog — is that the question

Hello, blog. Long time no write.

As the two of you who still read this blog already know, I went on a social media hiatus last summer. I call it that, but what I’ve really done is absent myself from the platforms of Facebook and Twitter. The reasons for my decision are myriad, but the most important ones are:

  1. Both platforms bring out the worst in people I know (Facebook) and in people I don’t know (Twitter).
  2. The more time I spent on those platforms, the stronger the Babadook became in my life.
  3. These two platforms have edges without railings, and there’s a sheer drop-off that will plunge you into an endless abyss if you step over the edge. I was too close to the edge.

So I flew instead: away from both platforms. And I’m a happier person for it. I’m also a more patient person, a more productive person, a more focused person, a more giving and forgiving person. No amount of online “social” interaction is worth losing that. I’ve checked back in lurkingly with both platforms twice since last summer. Both times, the people on them showed me that little has changed. (And where it has changed, it’s worse.) So I know I made the right choice.

In the meantime, I thought I’d be blogging more, but that hasn’t been the case. I’ve felt no draw to use this platform, either. My lack of online presence is horribly detrimental to my book sales…but honestly, I can’t bring myself to care. The pocket change I get from book sales isn’t enough to make me want to try herding the cats of online presence, branding, blah blah marketing emergency blah.

Instead of blogging, I’ve been noveling. In less than one year, I finished the first and second drafts of The Flight of Elfled unBlessed, my latest novel in the Light-Walkers universe. I’ll publish it this year and probably spit out an announcement into the toxic cesspools of online social media, then forget those cesspools again. We’ll see. It’s a new year, I have lots of plans, I have no idea if they’re going to come to fruition, but I’m setting goals and loosing my arrows at targets to do my part in getting those organisms to produce. This is the year of mixing metaphors, and it is glorious.

I’ll say that I’d like to get back to blogging regularly, but I don’t know if that’s a realistic hope for myself or if it’s even a thing I need to be doing. If you see me here (you two Faithful Readers who remain), then you’ll know the answer to that. And so will I.

Toodles and kisses!