Another question needs an answer :) My favourite thing to do is get in touch with my readers, hear their questions and answer them. Blogging is so lonely as a one-person act!
So the question for today is:Q: Where you do the majority of your writing? Do you have a writing room?
A: Believe it or not, I do most of my writing in my bedroom, on my bed! I don't officially have a writing room - yet! However it will happen one of these days when I get a chance to revamp my study into something resembling more of a writing room and less of a storage room.
I spend my evenings with my music playing and my trusty little net-book on my lap, working away at my writing. My net-book goes absolutely everywhere with me (I have abandonment issues when I leave it behind!) so that if the mood strikes me - or inspiration - I can tap something out resembling the beginning of a new chapter or a new story.
I hate writing in a quiet space - and I know some authors out there might throw their hands up in horror at the thought of ever
having any background noise when writing is going on - but for me, music is my muse and it sets the tone for a lot of my writing.
I find that having a space to write is not as important as having an environment in which to write. Music moves me and gets my emotions going. Then I feel I can step into my character's mindsets. I have various songs that speak to me from my characters' hearts, and I use that as a "setting" then I write the story to fill the gap.
My bedroom is a comfortable, safe space for me. I can write and laugh or cry along with my characters, without feeling like the whole world is watching me. Then, once I'm done, I can safely venture out into the world again, satisfied that I've poured my heart - or my characters' hearts - out onto paper, for editing later!
If you've read Extraordinary Part 1, you'll see that there are a couple of songs mentioned there, and they are songs I play a lot when I'm writing. Believe me, those songs (and many like them) have been blasted out through my net-book speakers, or my loudspeakers, when I've been tucked away in my room writing.
Ask me about some of the songs that inspire me - that would lead to a whole other posting here on Inside Evie's Mind :)
I am super-stoked to announce that Extraordinary Part 1 is now live on Amazon. I have posted links to it on the Novels Page and also throughout the book here on the site (at the bottom of every 5th chapter or so).
The link will direct you to Amazon.com's listing. However, if you are outside of their region (ie UK, Japan, Italy, France etc, then Amazon has different pages for the other regions, and the book code is the same for each page: B00A4SGRGY
However, if you go to Amazon.com, via the link it will give you the option near the top of the page to be redirected to the correct region for your country and will redirect you to where my book is on those pages. Nice and Easy!
In other news, I have been frantically working away at Extraordinary Part 2.
I learned a lot about all the little things I wanted via editing Part 1, so I'm now working on getting all the edits rolled into one, fixing everything on my way through instead of going through multiple times and fixing one thing at a time (i.e removing "stray" commas, getting rid of contractions in narrations, ensuring that my punctuation and plurals are set up correctly - to name but a few!) I think this one will take less time than the last to get right, but now I know what I'm looking for it does help!
However, I have updated the online chapters 1 - 9 of Part 2, and once I've updated Chapters 10, 11 and 12, I'll be putting up 13 and carrying on from there.
My aim (though this might be a bit too out-there) is to try to have Part 2 released for Christmas/New Years. Unless the world ends first.
So thank you for your patience, all of those who are hanging out for the next chapter. I promise you it is coming, and there are many more books in the series to come too. Lots of stories in my head too, so I'm sure I'll be keeping this site up and running for a good long time yet, all going well.
*** Update 10/11/2012***
I have updated Extraordinary Part 1 on this website to the latest version, so what you read here is what you'll get in the ebook. I have also added links on the Novels Page and also at the bottom of every 5th page or so of the Extraordinary Story to the Smashwords page where you can buy the book.
In addition, I have submitted the ebook to Amazon for sale as well, so you should see it there within the next couple of days. I will upload the link once it's available here on the site.
And finally it's done!
I am very, very pleased to announce that Extraordinary Part 1 is now available to purchase through Smashwords. Here is the link:Extraordinary Part 1 - The Ebook!
I will be, over the next couple of days, placing the official link on the "Novels" page, and also updating the online version to match the e-book version (there have been a few small changes made prior to publishing, but due to my overdue deadline, I didn't update the site as I went) so there are a few things left on my list of things to do!
I am super excited and so happy that I have finally completed it. I have published it using all the available formats there, so you can purchase and download it for Kindle and Sony e-readers, as a PDF to read on computer or tablet, or can opt to view it on web page or in RTF format (which reads it using Microsoft Word).
I will also be looking at publishing via Amazon over the next few weeks, and also through Lulu (who both have the option of doing print versions of the books as well). But those who follow me on Facebook, Twitter and on this site, will all hear about it first!
Well, I'd better head to bed. In amongst all my writing, I'm also working, and I need sleep to function - unlike the Graysons!!
I have discovered one good thing about self-publishing:
Deadlines are (slightly) flexible.
I had every intention of having Extraordinary Part 1 up for sale through Smashwords by the end of October. But then life, as it does, jumped in and caused some delays.
I started a new job (which I love) and managed to get a bit of time off before starting to visit my family who live about 515 kilometers (that's about 320 miles) away. I don't see my family often, so I took the opportunity.
But then, two weeks before I was due to visit them I came down with what our NZ doctors are terming "the 100 day cough".
I still visited my family, but in the last 4 weeks I have had very little sleep thanks to this darn, frustrating, irritating cough! However, I managed to get what I thought was my final draft of my ebook done while I was visiting them.
I arrived back home and realised that there was one or two other things I hadn't checked my draft for, so yes, I started editing... again!!!
Meanwhile, I've started working, been editing (and coughing) through my evenings. But right now, once I finish typing this, I will be doing one final read-through, to make sure that my changes haven't messed up the readability of my draft. Then I'll be getting ready to convert my file into those lovely file versions that all those e-readers love to read (and completely updating the book on this site too.
So, my new deadline is now the 4th of October (Sunday night to me!).
Keeping fingers crossed that all goes well! I want to get back to posting updates on Part 2 for my readers!
Via Twitter, I was asked the following question by Kelly (@lavuedici):
Q: "Where do you find the motivation?"
A: Motivation comes from a number of places, and depends on the situation. If, as I suspect, we are talking about the motivation to write, and to continue writing, my motivation for that comes from a couple of places.
Firstly: Trying something new a.k.a. Experimenting.
This was a project of sorts that I started, that I now want to see through to its completion - no matter how many years that may take! I give myself a lot of grief sometimes, due to my personal high standards. I had started out doing this just as a means to test myself, to see what I was capable of. I surprised myself, and now wish to see how far I can take it. Will I end up turning all of the drafts I have typed into full novel-length manuscripts? I don't know. What I do know is that as long as I am enjoying it, I will keep doing it!
That brings me to my second motivation: Enjoyment
So many people spend their lives doing things that they feel they have to do, in order to afford to do the things that they like to do. I have to say I have done that myself. Spent hours working hard, just to pay the bills.
Then I discovered that writing was something cheap and cheerful, yet something which really appealed to me. I found it fun! I had discovered a method of "seeing the world" in a way I never had before. I had to research and used Google Earth to explore the areas where my characters live, where they travel, what they do. It really opened my eyes and costs next to nothing! What keeps me coming back to work on my books is the adventure of actually telling a story, creating characters and their backgrounds, lives, motivations and reactions. I love starting with an idea for a person, a scenario or a place, and then building it up until it's almost real to me. I also hope that others will get enjoyment out of reading the story I have created. Of course, when I've worked so hard on a creation like that, I really don't want to leave it alone. I want to perfect it - that is my high standards coming into play again!
Mostly, I think of my writing like an art-form. I'm only going to get better if I practise! I happen to enjoy practising my art, and really - if you love doing something, why stop?
Wow, have I been busy!
I have just now posted the next chapter in Extraordinary Part 2: Chapter 11 - The Other Side of Joy - Is Fear.
Waking in Alex's arms should spell the start of a wonderful day for Cassie. Well, this is Cassie we are talking about. Trouble seems to follow her, and this day is no different. What starts as a day of amazing dreams, and pure happiness, will soon lead to a frightening encounter, and some terrifying events.
I've been a bit slack in posting the newer chapters, because I have been so busy completing my final edits and reposts of Extraordinary Part 1. I'm almost halfway through. I am surprised it's taking so long, but I guess now I'm down the itty-bitty-gritty details, that seem to take forever to complete. I'm happy with the storyline, happy with the conversations lining up with the same conversations in The Secrets We Keep (which I am editing at the same time, so that when it releases it doesn't take nearly as long!), and I'm happy with the small details in the book.
When I say the itty-bitty-gritty details, I'm talking about sentence structure, and grammar, and placement of full-stops and commas and semi-colons. I'm also formatting (which in itself is not too difficult) but it means keeping an eye on the number of spaces, ensuring there are no funny characters or funny formatting styles making an appearance in my ebook (Smashwords) manuscript. Yes, it's really really boring, but someone's got to do it!
On the other hand, I've posted 3 re-edited chapters, plus a new one for Part 2, since Friday night. I'm pretty happy with that. If I keep this up, I'll have a ready-to-go manuscript by mid October. I'm aiming for the end of October, so that means there are allowances for any issues.
Now, its time for me to post yet another request for feedback. If anyone has completed reading Part 1 (and yes I know its not the complete story, as Part 2 will finalise the story) I would really really appreciate getting some feedback, even if its to point out a misplaced comma!! On the other hand, if you are not into giving detailed feedback, then feel free to use the comments form on the Comments Page, or the survey form/feedback form on the Extraordinary Part 1 Table of Contents Page. There are only a couple of quick questions on the survey and I'd love to hear back from my readers. And, as always, if you leave me a feedback comment, I will post it on the Comments page (unless you request otherwise, of course!)
Otherwise, those who are interested can "Follow" me on Twitter, or "Like" my Facebook Page... links to those pages are at the very top of every page on this site.
Hope to hear from you soon!
... Either that, or it's trying to tell me something.
Over the last few days there have been some rather bizarre coincidences "appearing" around me as I go about my real life.
Firstly, my character's names are appearing with alarming regularity around me. I've run into several Alistairs, a couple of Alexanders, a Cassandra, a Charlotte and several Maries. (Marie is Cassie's mother's name in my books.) That in itself is not so strange, as they are not entirely unusual names. What is strange is that they have been appearing as client names at work.
So, okay, I figured that's bound to happen. People have names. No reason they can't have names that my characters have.
But then, today, a very bizarre coincidence occurred.
I was searching for a client's postcode on the New Zealand Post website. That is a standard job I do every day, to ensure our mail gets to the right place. In this instance, I was searching for a postcode in Southland, which is at the other end of the South Island of New Zealand from where I am situated (I live in the mid North Island, and have never ventured further south than the southern tip of the North Island). So, of course, I have never been anywhere near Southland.
I typed in the address details this client had given me, to try to discover his post-code. I wasn't having much luck, as it appeared he lived somewhere between two small townships. So I was running a more general search, to see if I could find out which was the correct code for his area. I put both of the small townships in together:
Imagine my surprise, when up on my screen pops:
"Mossburn Lumsden Highway, Castlerock, Lumsden"
I swear, I did a doubletake.
No freaking way!
My characters live in a small township called Castle Rock, which is a real town in southern Washington, just a wee bit north of Portland, Oregon, in the good old USA.
I didn't even KNOW we had a Castlerock in New Zealand.
My Mind = Officially Blown.
I sometimes think the world is trying to tell me something.
Or maybe not. Maybe its all coincidence.
So what do YOU think? Is it a sign of some sort? Or am I just running into a bunch of weird coincidences?
Officially Freaked Out and Amazed
I have been having a rough few days.
It happens to everyone, I know, and it seems to happen to me quite a lot.
One thing I have noticed is that when I'm at my lowest point, people tend to blame all the writing I'm doing.
"You need to get out more." "Why don't you just take some time off and go away for a few days?" "Have you ever thought about doing something more exciting/different?"
For me, however, writing IS my escape. It is my get-away, and allows me to go places and do things that I'd never have the ability, or the means, to do.
What I wouldn't give to be able to just drop everything and go, head out on the road/to a tropical island/up to the mountains etc. If my daily responsibilities and life itself weren't so time and means consuming, I would go just like that.
So instead I choose to write. And if nothing comes to me, then to read.
My imaginary world, with its imaginary people, is the place I go to hide. The place I visit when real life is too intense, or too frightening, or too stressful to deal with. The place I escape to when the dramas surrounding me are busy reflecting reality television (who came up with that as "entertainment" anyway?? No WONDER the world is ending up as screwed up as it is, with people like that as our "examples" of what "real" people are like! Heaven help us all!)
But I digress...
Yes, I suppose I am digging my head in the sand, but I happen to LIKE my sand! And I happen to LIKE digging around in it! Sometimes my habitation of my alternative reality is more secure and real to me than my so-called "real" life (which, let's be honest, is sometimes so cold and barren in its "reality" that it defies belief!).
I guess, though, in the end, life is what it is.
Everyone needs an escape from it.
And mine is writing.
So tell me, what do YOU do when your life is overwhelming, to help you relax, get some perspective or just to cope? What is it in your life that makes you smile, brings you joy, or helps heal you when you feel completely run down?
Where is your happy place?
It's been a couple of weeks since my last post, but I've been busy, head down, editing and formatting like crazy.
I'm trying to get Extraordinary Part 1 ready to release as an e-book, with the possibility of being able to purchase online as a "real" book too. However, I'm having some issues.
I have the "formatting" going well, but I am such a finnicky nitpicker that when I am formatting, I am editing even more. Removing/changing/inserting/rewriting words and lines. Then I have to change my original manuscript too, and then the relevant conversations (where changed) in The Secrets We Keep Part 1 (Alex's story that runs parallel with Cassie's).
I imagine that someday soon I will have an e-book ready, fully formatted manuscript.
Meanwhile, when I get bored with going over my work with a fine-toothed comb, I pop over to Part 2 of both books, which I am trying to lose a few thousand words on each. I am editing those at the same time.
That means that I have been able to post the next chapter of Extraordinary Part 2 on the site. Chapter 8 - Meeting with the Graysons is now live. Alex convinces Cassie to attend a meeting with the Star Kin. What sort of trouble will it lead to? Cassie hasn't exactly been forthright with her mother, and the tension is building.
I have been busy on Twitter and Facebook as well. My Twitter profile now has over 200 followers (not a huge number, but considering it's only been up since June, I'm pretty happy with that). My Facebook "Star Kin Chronicles" Page has not taken off as well, but I live in hope.
If you want to follow me on Twitter, or want to "Like" my page, the links to both are at the top of this (and every) page. Click the links. Go on, I know you want to!
My blog Question & Answer sessions haven't really been happening, because I haven't been asked any questions! So what would you like to know? Leave a comment on one of the comment areas on the site (including on the Comments Page), or via Facebook or Twitter.
Other than that, I am still around, still working hard on my series. Hopefully you're enjoying what you're reading. Feel free to leave a comment, some feedback, even some criticism (constructive please!) in the abovementioned Comment fields.
I 'd love to hear from you!
Everyone who works in a creative-type job, or has a creative-type hobby, needs it, or has it.
For me, it usually comes in flashes. An image of a place, a snippet of a conversation (whether real or imagined), or a verse in a song will suddenly make the wheels in my brain turn. I'll jump onto my laptop, and start to write.
And boy, sometimes I can WRITE!! I'll start tapping away, and next thing I know, its six hours later, my whole day is gone, but I've written several thousand words. Then I sleep on it.
Sometimes, its good. Other times, I cringe, thinking, "Why on earth did I write THAT?"
The delete key is a good friend of mine.
I used to wonder how writers came up with storylines, how they created their characters, how they visualised a place, or time, and then put it down in such a way that I could "see" it when I read. Sometimes even reading my stories, when a character has found themselves in a certain situation, I'll be reading, and laughing, and wondering how on earth I came up with it. I mean, its often not something I could easily imagine, even if I tried. In those circumstances I only have one word to describe what happened to cause it:
With this in mind, I've created another page here on the site, called "Evie's Inspiration". I've put a few bits and pieces on it, lyrics from songs that inspire me and quotes that I've heard that get me thinking, and have moved me.
Now, I want to know what inspires others. Let me know!
In other news, the writer's block was short lived (YAY!) and I've posted Chapter 4 - Alone over the weekend, and am about to post Chapter 5 - Reawakening.
If you've finished reading Extraordinary Part 1, please let me know what you think. I would love to receive some feedback about it.
Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter, or Like my Facebook page - links are at the top of every page!