Sunday, 14 September 2014

Fundraiser to support trans* dramedy show "Myrna" (plus free books)

I'm currently in day three of four of my hypnosis course and it's really good fun, so I'm a bit scarce around the intarwebs. But I am resurfacing there for a moment to draw your kind attention to this fundraiser: The producers of the trans*-themed show MYRNA are seeking funding for post production.

Lots of details here.

And if that great cause weren't motivation enough to donate, LA Witt is doing a massive giveaway for books and stuff here, including a giveaway for a Kindle Fire pre-loaded with all her books (which is about a million books - but at the very least about 75-80). So a new tablet plus enough stuff to read for MONTHS.


I'm happy to offer the following rewards if you want to donate:

- an electronic copy of "Return on Investment" for a donation of $5 or more to MYRNA (just send the receipt of the donation to vashtan @ gmail com with your preferred format). Amount of rewards available: unlimited. (You don't save much money, but you do get a free book.)

- I'll dedicate an upcoming story to you for $50. Amount available: 10. (It'll take me a while to write that many, so please be patient.) In addition, I'll send you an electronic copy of "your" story. Length varies from short story to novel - will be first come, first served.

- Lori and I will write a story for you. We'll keep copyright - meaning, we still own it and can sell/publish it, but you get to be involved in the planning of it and will have it dedicated to you, with a thank-you note explaining how it came to be. This is great if you want a specific type of story, or specific characters, or a specific type of kink/setting/genre. We'll do our best to make it work. This is with the caveat that Lori doesn't do rape scenarios, and we both absolutely don't do bestiality or bodily waste products in any sexy kind of context.

A custom-made short story of up to about 7,000 words goes for $250. A novella (10-30k at least, but might be longer) goes for $1,000. Short stories available: 3. Novellas available: 1. Bear in mind we do need to own the copyright of the characters (that is, no fanfiction, and for all Special Forces lovers, no characters that I didn't create, so Dan/Hooch are right out, I'm sorry.) And we'll do our best to deliver all of these before the year is up.

Let's make this work. :)

Thank you very kindly for your attention and support. :)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


I'm way behind on a great many things, so if you've sent me an email, my response might take a while as I get back into the groove of things. I didn't manage to do anything over those last two months, so no writing, barely any editing, and very little other stuff (like emails, mailing packages or even doing my taxes).

I'll have a guest over from today to Sunday and a four-day whole-day seminar from Friday to Monday, so I don't expect to be able to do anything else. (On the positive side, I'll learn hypnosis.)

Normal service should resume on 16 September. I'll wrap up three small projects by end-September, and then I'll aim at writing 10,000 words per week from 1 October onwards, or 40,000 words per month.

It's on the low side of what friends of mine are getting accomplished, but I'm making allowances for writing several historicals. They just take longer because of the research involved, and it'll take me several days to work out where I was going with them, anyway.

I can always up the wordcount - I fully expect to beat it.

At that rate, I should be able to write a novel every two months, which tallies with the goal of writing three solo novels per year plus two co-written novels, plus assorted small stuff (shorts and novellas). I'm not too worried about ideas - right now, I have about 30 projects I want to write, and I'm spawning another one about every week.

The biggest challenge will be to move my "creative time" into the day from the evening/night. I do like the guy I'm living with, so it'll be nice to spend more time with him without feeling guilty about writing.

I'll give this a go for a year or two and see how the market/industry develops. I might make myself available for temp/project contracts in corporate editing if the money's spectacular (and it usually is), but never again return to journalism - that chapter is closed.

I'm definitely feeling much better than I have in two months.

Friday, 5 September 2014


As of today, I've resigned from the day job. I lasted pretty much exactly 2 months, so quitting while still in the probationary period, which means I'm out in a week (3 days, because I have a couple holiday days). I was semi-hoping I could last long enough to get another full paycheque out of it, but I ended up deciding that the latest thing I had to deal with wasn't worth the aggravation. Also, it's been 2+ months since I've written any meaningful amounts.

I call it Project Freelancer 2.0. I have it on some authority that "going freelance" often takes several attempts. Hopefully this one sticks. But the main thing I've learned from the whole experience is that I wasn't kidding when I said I don't want to go back to journalism. It's so not me it's not even funny (ie, it's actually excruciating).

So the target is to write 3 solo novels a year, plus 2 co-written ones. It's a schedule that'll keep me honest and engaged, but still allows for as much research as I want/need. I may look at some corporate/temp work down the line, but not this year. The job market is thawing, but I have two novels that are more urgent than any need for immediate cash.

Bear with me. Regularly scheduled service will resume once I've shaken the Kool-Aid from my ears.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Well, I lasted two months

Some people were asking how I'm doing with the new job and all.

I have two songs that answer that question:

So, yeah, I won't last the month. Now that that's decided, maybe my stress level goes back to a point where I can write again. Right now, I'm too stressed and tired after that 9-hr day plus 2.5 hrs of commute.

Next time I tell people I'll never go back to journalism, I won't even be swayed by a "brilliant opportunity" or a decent-sized pay cheque.

In even more positive news - here's an interview about the biligualness of it all. :) 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Four-Day weekend

I've taken today off to get a four-day weekend - mostly, I'm catching up with work. In the last few days, I've wrapped up the line edits for Counterpunch, and Lori and I sorted the line edits of No Place That Far. We're also making tracks in the 95k novel Lone Wolf for Riptide, which is urgent and needs wrapping over the weekend.

Just a few minutes ago, I pressed "publish" on the print version of Return on Investment, so this is kinda happy print version release. It hasn't come through on Amazon yet, but here's the Createspace link.  The process took a bit longer than I liked, mostly because I had to wait for the proof copy to make sure the book produces all right. And, I'm happy to report, it does. Once Amazon gets the data from Createspace, I'll let you know.

After sorting out the edits for Lone Wolf, I need to finish off my tax preparation. This year, I don't want to scramble madly through paperwork like last year. And my accountant is already sending me reminders.

And once these are all done and dusted, I'm a bit at loose ends. I'm hoping to wrap my short stories and then dive back into my WWII novel. The idea is to finish that by year end.

But yay, I get to delete a line on my spreadsheet. Return on Investment is 100% done and out there.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Too busy for my own good

There's line edits for three novels on my desk now - each one's urgent. (So yeah, why the hell am I blogging?)

I'm hoping to wrap Counterpunch tomorrow - it's only 53k (2k less than the last version), and the most urgent. Then there's Lone Wolf, which has about a thousand comments on it and clocks in at nearly 100k, and No Place That Far, which has 63k. Just thinking of how much time and concentration it takes to polish them up makes me slightly nauseous. I cancelled on a BBQ on the weekend so I get three uninterrupted days of work to do as much as I can. It might not be enough, but I'll try. (I wasn't keen on the BBQ anyway, so it's also a convenient escape from what will be geeky roleplayers and lots of alcohol.)

That's the remaining books until January 2015, and after that, things slow down massively, which is just as well. I don't really have time for editing, so it's probably only fitting I have no time/headspace/focus to write, since writing leads to editing, and any project just gives me a double whammy of stress and anxiety.

Emotionally, I'm low. I've written a number of whiny blog posts, and ended up deleting 70% of what I've written. Nothing I say will change a thing. In some ways, that's the saddest thing of all; writers must believe that words have power. Nothing feels sadder and lower and more powerless than silence.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Return on Investment - Update

It's literally that - I've just uploaded Return on Investment to Amazon and the file has already updated. No big changes - the cover should be a bit sharper now on the high-resolution devices, and we applied a minor fix to the cover page. The text itself stayed the same.

On that note, I've moved one large step closer to releasing the book in print. My layouter was extremely busy (likely still is), so it took a while for the print interior to be done. I uploaded the file yesterday and ordered a print proof copy to actually get a sample what the print book will look like. I expect it to arrive on Wednesday - if it's all good, I'll have to fill in some legal and financial stuff and I'll then publish the book, at which point it should become available. So, end-August/early September for a release date.

I'm also currently working on the line edits for Counterpunch, trying to cut down on some word repetitions, and I expect it to be done today, mostly because I have no other choice. I won't have time or energy during the week.

I'm trying to shake what's increasingly feeling like writer's block, but meanwhile I'm slammed with edits on two novels. I can't write much more about that blocked state without coming across as whining, and in the grand scheme of things, a blocked writer might be pretty pitiful, but it'll eventually lift and I'll go back to writing.