Tag Archives: updates

May 2016 in Review

Last year, I decided that I would post my accomplishments for the month and what goals I hope to achieve in the following month.

Somehow I didn’t expect to be so productive in May, yet I feel like I’ve walked away with a lot of writing and ideas to use in June.

What I accomplished in May:

  1. Wrote 17,000 words on Dead Magic (hit 39,000 total)
  2. Wrote 8 blog posts
  3. Read 2 books
    1. Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
    2. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  4. Heavily researched for an Ingenious Mechanical Devices companion novella
  5. Began cover construction for Dead Magic
  6. Finished the audiobook for The Winter Garden to Audible’s specifications (should be out within the next week)

What I hope to achieve in June:

  1. Write at least 18,000 words of Dead Magic (for 57,000 total words)
  2. Write at least 6 blog posts
  3. Read at least 3 books
  4. Begin outlining and writing one of the IMD companion novellas
  5. Write the back blurb for Dead Magic
  6. Do a preliminary edit of chapters 1-10 of Dead Magic

I can’t believe I wrote 17k words this month. March and April were so slow in terms of my word count, but it seems that once the story hits the 1/3 mark, it just starts to roll. Laying the foundation is the slowest part, followed by the end when I need to make sure that I’ve tied everything up. I’m hoping that June will continue the trend of the productivity.

I’m so excited to be able to share some random excerpts of Dead Magic. Writing it has been a blast so far with lots of dark things, some gore, a bit of magic, and having to do a lot of research on trauma and PTSD (sorry, Immanuel). My artist boyfriend/cover designer/Photoshop guru will soon be working on the cover for Dead Magic as soon as I finish the back blurb and convince him to do it instead of working on his new design shop, Regal Rook designs. I’m sure I’ll be posting more on that in the future as well.

The one major thing that was sacrificed this month was my reading. I meant to finish Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater in May, but I was busy researching and writing and it ended up sitting on the sidelines. It’s a really good series despite how long it’s taking me to get through it.

On Tuesday in my post Plot Bunnies and Projects, I wrote about the companion novellas I’m planning to write over the summer. I haven’t really begun planning them out yet, but I hope to have at least one of them written (probably Judith Elliott’s first). I’m super stoked to work on them because I really love the ideas I have rolling around, so hopefully, they’ll come out as good on paper as they are in my head. I will be updating you as I write.

At the top of the page is a little newsletter sign-up thing. If you want to get exclusive excerpts, ARCs, and messages about new sales/deals, sign-up. I don’t send them out often, so you won’t need to worry about me blowing up your inbox.

So what are you working on this month?

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Sale Time!

2 books saleFor today and tomorrow only, The Earl of Brass is free and The Winter Garden is 99 cents. Why? Because I feel like it and because The Earl and the Artificer will be out fairly soon, so I thought I’d celebrate.
http://smarturl.it/TheEarlofBrassIMD1
http://smarturl.it/TheWinterGardenIMD2

A better/real blog update will come later this week. I’ve been slogging through school, my GA job stuff, and writing, so my mind has been elsewhere. More updates to come soon!

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Fear, Self-Doubt, and an Update

This post would have been written earlier, but I woke up with the worst headache I have had in a while. The kind of migraine that makes your face hot, your eyes sore, and your neck stiff. Oh well.

Anyway, this post isn’t about migraines, it’s about The Earl and the Artificer and writing. I’m hitting that “I’m nearly done, so now I’m getting really self-conscious about my story because I don’t know if it’s good or not.” Part of the problem I think comes from the fact that I really liked The Winter Garden, and this book is nothing like it. There isn’t that darkness or intimacy that I enjoyed writing in that book, and because I know that will be in book four, I feel myself being pulled toward that book while forcing myself to finish this one.

The odd thing is, I like this book. I like the softer tone, the different focus on intimacy, the role Hadley plays in this book, and the new character, Nadir Talbot. I keep reminding myself that I feel this way every time I hit the 2/3 mark of my manuscript. Typically, I’m a fairly confident person, so feeling down about my work is a bit soul-sucking. This book has done this to me more than either of the others, and I have to think I’m doing something right. I’m trying some new things, expanding the cast of characters and delving into history. Probably when I begin editing it, I will feel better about it, especially after I tighten things up and smooth over some early draft hiccups.

Thus far, I am at 68,000 words (not including what I’ll write tonight). Something else that’s bothering me is that I wrote so much in August that September feels meager. I know, grad school started, so I need to consider that I have new sources of stress and that I’m adjusting to the new schedule and balancing act. I’m set to hit my minimum monthly goal of 10,000 words in a few days, and I should finish in October. That scares me. I’m nearly done. Oh my god, I will be DONE soon. I’ll finish it and it will be out in the world before I know it.

Writing makes you vulnerable, and at the moment, that terrifies me. After two times, you would think I would be over it, but you’re laying yourself out for judgment each time you publish, letting the reader get an intimate glimpse of your inner world. Sometimes it’s just harder than others.

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Audiobooks and Updates

I thought I would just check-in this week. Unfortunately, I have not thought out a coherent post for the end of this week, but I’m thinking that early next week there will be a post about being inspired by authors and how what inspires you as a reader inspires you as a writer.audiobook eob 2

So, the major highlight of my week is that The Earl of Brass is now available in audiobook! My narrator was fabulous to work with, and he will be narrating The Winter Garden and hopefully every Ingenious Mechanical Devices book after this. If you’d like to check it out, click here.

Half the reason I’m not writing much on my blog is that I am in the thick of writing book 3, The Earl and the Artificer, and hope to get as much done as possible before the semester begins. Currently, I am about 39,600 words into it, and I hope to complete it by the end of the year but hopefully sooner. According to my word count tracking spreadsheet, I’m 31% done with my word count goal of the month (15k), which is shocking to me considering it’s only August 7th (and I haven’t written yet today). The last scene I worked on hit a little too close to home and gave me a literal headache after working on. It still amazes me how much emotion is tied to creation, especially when a scene is so personal and fraught with emotional tension. I just hope I did it justice and that it will come through on the page. Luckily, the next scene involves a lot of action, so that should raise my moral a little.

I’m also nearly done with my companion short story “An Oxford Holiday”. All I need is the final scene and my cover for the ebook. Next week I should be able to post the blurb for it. It has been the magically expanding short story, going from 5k words to 6k to 7k as the target word count. It’s been a lot of fun to write, and it gives you a taste of what Adam and Immanuel will be getting into in the yet untitled book four.

As a final bit of news that isn’t very informative, I picked up these beauties on Amazon as a way to reward myself for going above and beyond my word count goal for July.laura lamI have been trying to get my hands on fantasy books that involve diversity not only in race but sexuality and gender. These two came highly recommended but were rather hard to get my hands on since the author is currently in the process of switching publishers. I cannot wait to read them.

If you would like daily updates about the progress of my third book, I will be live-tweeting my word counts and progress daily on Twitter with the hashtag #Augwritingchallenge and you can find me at @AuthorKaraJ.

So what writing or reading plans do you have for August?

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A Sloppy Update

Become-a-writerFor hours I wracked my brain to figure out what I was going to write today and still came up with very little, so please excuse this meandering and somewhat aimless progress update.

Well, for the first time in a while, I have actually been writing pretty consistently. I wish I could tell you what has suddenly caused this change in productivity. Part of it I think it is shaking off the transition period from the end of the semester, but I think a lot of it is taking the pressure off myself. For a while, I was telling myself, “You will write 1,000 words or you are a terrible writer!” Well, that doesn’t accomplish anything and only makes you feel bad about yourself when you don’t reach that goal. Then, I tried not editing anything while writing. I ended up getting frustrated because there were scenes I was itching to fix and it made it very hard to go forward.

Now, I have been sticking to what I like to call the croissant dough method. It can also be called two steps forward and one step back. When making dough for croissants, you need to continually fold it and layer it with butter. By building up the dough and breaking it down, you make a richer product. What I do is reread what I wrote during my last writing session and tinker with it. I tend to build-up scenes when I do this sort of editing because I have a tendency to write before bed, which leads to missing words and skimmed scenes that need to be beefed up later. By doing this, I also become reacquainted with my work, which makes it much easier to move forward.

In terms of word count, I’ve told myself that I need to write daily, which I’ve done all week thus far. My goal is to write between 500 and 1,000 words each day, and for the majority of the week with the exception of two days, I have been able to do that. This actually surprised me because in the past I have not kept up with it when I set word count goals for myself. I will admit that it felt like it took forever to get to 10,000 words, but now that I have passed that milestone, the words seem to flow easier.

Right now, my biggest issue is trying to weave in the many threads that will make up the plot for the rest of the book, and because I’m not that far into the book, I feel like I am sitting in the middle of a yarn basket. Well, hopefully as I reach the middle of the book, these threads will weave and knot and eventually form a story. For now, I keep telling myself that I’m not even a quarter of the way into the narrative and can’t rush things.

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Sales, Interviews, and Updates

As the title says, we have some updates, an author interview, and a sale. All fun things, I think, for a Friday.

eob 99c promo

SALE

So, first off, The Earl of Brass, book one of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices is on sale for 99 cents from May 22nd (today) until May 26th (Tuesday) on Amazon. If you’re looking for a summer read to transport you to the deserts of Palestine or back to Victorian England, look no further. If you’re willing, please spread the word as well, especially if you know anyone who isn’t historical fantasy or steampunk/gaslight fantasy.

**Update** Spur of the moment, I decided to make The Winter Garden 99 cents as well from May 23rd (Saturday) until May 26th (Tuesday). If you want to pick up BOTH Ingenious Mechanical Devices books for less than $2, head over to Amazon.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Next item of business: I did an author interview with the lovely Steve Turnbull. Mr. Turnbull is a fellow steampunk author who writes the Maliha Anderson series. To find out more about Steve Turnbull, check out his website. The author interview was featured in his newsletter here. You can get to know a bit about my process, what projects are coming up, and what I’ve learned along the way. I must admit, I love doing author interviews. By being asked questions, I often find I learn more about myself and my writing process.


UPDATES

I am part of a Steampunk media bundle from the Steampunk World’s Fair on We Bundle. It’s filled with music and a couple books including a short story by yours truly. It’s a name your own price thing, so you can spend as much or as little as you’d like on the bundle. It’s quite a bit of music and reading for the price, so if you’re interested, check it out here.

For the past few weeks, I have felt so stuck in my writing. When I’m feeling stressed out or torn between school and my personal projects (aka my writing), the words don’t flow. Oddly, I also get the urge to write when I have a ton of work to do, but I think that’s just an avoidance tactic. It’s been really hard to get anything done and have been stuck on the same chapter for two weeks. FINALLY, I finished it.

At first, I was just happy and relieved that it’s finished, but then I realized that I had finished my schoolwork completely, didn’t have to worry about my reading at the Steampunk World’s Fair, AND I got my grades for the semester, both of which were very good. As soon as the stress is off, it’s like someone unclogged the dam. The words come flowing out, and suddenly, I’m writing again. I don’t quite have the writing bug like I do sometimes, but I feel a lot better. I don’t think I’ll make my goal of 3-4 chapters for the entirety of the month. At this point, I’ll be happy with 2 finished chapters.


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A Little Update

Okay, so this is going to be a cop out blog post.  I’m not feeling that great, but I will post something of substance later in the week.  I have a terrible habit of eating things that don’t agree with me, knowing full-well I will suffer later.  Currently, I’m suffering and going up to school in a few minutes.  So, here come the updates:

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