All posts by amber

About amber

I am a cheese sandwich.

and in other news…

So! News abounds!

In some heroic feet (spanning far too many years than I wish to count), I am 100%, totally finished the rewrite of Gingerbread and I actually kind of love it. I mean warts, right? Because my brain has been in that world for so long, and I have no idea how to look at that book with fresh eyes, I am opting not to Pitchwars it this year. Maybe I will regret that, I dunno. I did hit another writerly milestone this week, aside from finishing Ginger, so I’m pretty excited about that.

I’m just trying to figure out the query. If I have done 6 full drafts on my novel I have probably done 36 on my query and the last line is still a poop. A POOP I SAY.

What else. I might have adopted a 7year old lutino cockatiel named Angelica Monroe Lemonloaf Squawkypants – or Lemon, as her previously family named her. She is kind of amazing, but also a lesson in not adopting a pet unless you are prepared for all the things that come with pet adoption, including a cockatiel who hasn’t laid eggs in forever except for that time she moved into your house and fell in love with you.

So, now we have a sleep cage and I have to set up the backroom to make space for that. She is super duper cute though.

And, I think I’ve decided to head into Happily (n)Ever After, although the first line of a possible Gingerbread sequel (not part of the original story) popped into my head i am going to exploding kittens POPE OF NOPE that because dang.

there is no room in this house for a sequel.

otherwise TERMINUS happened, in which many beats were danced to, and also Wulfband kind of destroyed my brain.

Yesterday I made maps for HNA and figured out my plots, which means  can technically start outlining. I’m looking at this, which is a character map for Breaking Bad, but shows all of the ways in which characters connect, what they want and what they can’t have and I think those are pretty important things to  consider when one is writing a bookie wookie. I’ve also gone through 80% of Take off Your Pants!, a plotting book for pansters, and made copious mounts of notes. Today I think I shall go on an adventure and discover woodsy, watery places and eat a scone, stop by the writer’s centre and who knows what else.

okay?
OK!

 

loglines.

the last two weeks i have been editing the ever-loving-crap out of my YA fantasy, GINGERBREAD. So much editing that my eyes have gone buggy. The other day I met with my writers group and opened Ginger, and couldn’t even read my own typing. My eyeballs revolted.

I revised around 20K, if revising means re-writing whole chunks because you (and your awesome CP) came up with a plot bunny that strengthens the story and makes it more original, and so I am pretty thrilled with where it’s at, except for the fact that looking at it is giving me a twitch.

So, I took yesterday off, and will go back into the revision later today. For now, though, I’m playing ME: Andromeda and working on a logline for my Adult Fantasy, HAPPILY NEVER AFTER. Anyway, it’s interesting to think about plot bits and what would sound cool in a logline, but what is really hard to get in a logline. Here’s the logline I have so far:

In the Land of Foehn, alliances are forged through the bespelling of Princesses and the promise of Happily Ever After. When the Princess of Gael goes missing from her forest shrine, and is later found wandering the bank of the Black Pond, Diego Abello, servant to the Queens, is questioned. When his lover, the blood witch Markus Crowe, is framed for the crime, Diego must risk not only his life, but the honour of his family line in order to protect Markus from a power more dangerous than the Queens.

Here’s the stuff I can’t figure how to get into the logline (yet):

Markus is a somnambulist, and works with his partner to put the Princesses to sleep to wait for their Princes.

Markus is kind of in love with Diego, Diego is mostly ignoring his feelings, and lover is kind of a strong word although also not.

They’re both in love with Annabel.

Markus is also a faerie, and it’s his mother that harmed the Princess, and his mother that Markus needs to be afraid of/is afraid of.

Annabel is the ass-kicker of the group.

Words are hard.

Okay. Take care. Bye bye.

-me.

the Chimes of Aignesz

in the last month or so, my weird little WIP about fairytale princesses, complex relationships, love, murder, blood magic, blackmail and treachery (if all goes well!) grew from a tiny little thing, into 10 thousand words of magic.

Diego’s neck grew hot. His coat was still on, and the intyn leaf had long worn off, and so the memory of Niall twitched beneath his skin. “We delivered a body. A corpse. You can’t blow out a candle and expect the dead to walk. Resurrection is not so simple.” Diego had never believed in resurrectionist magic. He still, after all the years they’d known each other, eyed Markús with suspicion, and the tricks the man performed with only his hands. He had never believed the denizens of the Blood Red Wood gave life, just that they took it away.

I’m fortunate that my CP is a genius, and upon reading directed the story in a much more plot-logical way, so now it is about notes and planning and coming up with the middle to avoid the muddle, and then the ending. I guess I know what happens in the end, which is what makes fiction different from real life.

I was talking to my writing chums last night — once a week I meet up with 2 or 3 other writers just to write — about how characters, for me, come fully formed, and that I’m terrible with planning, and coming up with cause/effect. It’s just not how my brain works. My brain works in emotional reactions. But in order to have a reaction, I have to have already put my character in a situation. And not just on paper, I have to know how they felt when it was happening, and how they lived through it and I learn through writing them. I don’t suspect this is different from other writers, really, but for me it’s the germ. It’s the genesis.

Which is why it’s really important for me to have CPs and readers that are great at plot bunnies, and cause/effect. I can see it in other people’s work, but usually not in my own.

But this, this Happily (n)Ever After. Gah. I am so deep in love with it already. Markus, the blood magician and his boyfriend Rayif. His lover, Diego, and their lover Annabel and the place where they all intersect and how relationships aren’t ever equal, and jealousy and complexity and all of those things.

Also blood. Because why not.

I think I just wanted to write a book about a blood magician. Because one showed up in The Mourning Wolves, too, and his name was also Marcus (for reasons – I had an RP character years ago, who was also a blood magician, whose name was Marcus, because why not? And I just wanted to find the right place to put him), but now poor Marcus will be expelled from the wolves, and instead, live with the princesses in the place called Aetherny.

I think he’ll be happy there. I’m pretty much happy wherever he is, which I guess says something about me, and i am TOTALLY OKAY WITH THAT.

In other news, it was a week of new music:

William Control‘s new EP: Revelations: the Black dropped (some WC is NSFW you have been warned. it’s cool, it’s his thing. I got no qualms.)

And, due to the Terminus announcements (because i am way lucky to live in a place that has an industrial/electronic/dark music festival), bought The Rain Within: Thunderheart, which is syrupy, slightly gloomy 80’s influenced synthpop, and it its beautiful.

It’s also Feb 24. 242. Which means it’s international EBM day. And although the world is full of wonderful ebm, I share with you this classic, by our friends Front 242. I’m guessing you just made the connection.

What else? We bought tickets to see Logan. And I am beside myself with excitement, and I realize it’s because Logan reminds me of my husband Joel, and his sidekick Ellie, but I have actual super high hopes for Logan as a superhero movie that doesn’t annoy me. Also, there’s something about woodsy Hugh Jackman that is just working for my ovaries.

I would also super really like a release date for The Last of Us 2. Okay? Okay.

But first I have to finish editing my YA. But not today, because I’m going to see Matthew Good, and then tomorrow my aforementioned William.

Because sometimes life is kind, and full of fun.

this was not on the agenda.

and because it is precisely not what i should be working on, i wrote 1000 words on the novel-version of Happily (n)Ever After.

Here’s a bit:

Markús curled a hand around the back of a chair, pulling one of the blooded cloths free. “You have worked both sides for too long, Diego. Either you are of us, or you are a pawn of the Edicts.” He took a deep breath. “Do they know of Niall?”

Niall. Not the Earl. “You know they must not.” Because Niall was young, and a son of a tailor, and there were rules around those that worked for the Edicts, and by being with Niall he was breaking one rule, but with Markús, he broke at least three more.

“Is honesty not the best policy?”

“Don’t threaten me, Markús, it would not go well.” For Markús had his own secrets, but Diego had known them for too long, and was now complicit in all of the lies they told, and so the strings that held them together could not be so easily unraveled, not without them all coming apart.

Markús placed the towel back over the chair’s edge. “I would never, my darling Diego.”

But both of them knew he just had.

my day in rockstars/so I’m afraid Enough to stay wide awake

Hey Alice
I’m caving in, I’m caving in
I know it’s not allowed
But sometimes I fantasize
I’m peeling off my skin
Enough to fill it up again
Hey rabbit
Into the pavement
I’m caving in
Mother told me to be something
So I’m afraid
Enough to stay wide awake
Hey rabbit
I came to win, I came to win
I know it’s not allowed but sometimes
You might find
It’s feels like nothing is
And it’s everything you’ve been
Hey…Alice into the pavement
I’m caving in
-Failing the Rorschach Test,
Matthew Good.

all about that bass.

it’s like a new music-a-palooza around here. Last post I mentioned The Blood of Others, and my William, and then alla sudden all the music in music land was released – new Dead When I found Her (OMG) and which does not ignore Michael’s love of Skinny Puppy, but then just when you think you’re onto this album, it changes into something different.

Randomly, Rotersand released a new album and the Gothiscles showed up again in my inbox (and I need to go download them), and it’s like a dance music wonderland around here.

I went to see Dr. Strange, and yes the orientalism is a bit much, and there’s no good reason (despite how good she is) that Tilda couldn’t have been played by someone else, but I am honestly not sure how they would have gotten away from the mystical asian stereotypes in that film. Cumberbatch was great, and my Mads (hubba hubba) was pretty hilarious doing martial arts, when in my heart he is always eating half-raw meat in a very expensive suit. (FANNIBAL).

I sent my wee short story off to the market, and so shall soon hear on that. I’m editing a book for a friend, working on Gingerbread, and The Mourning Wolves and generally not understanding why it is so dark out.

 

let’s talk about love, baby

or! alternately:

There’s more new music, in the form of “The Blood of Others“, which is kind of a post-witchhouse thang, fronted by one of the dudes in Talking to Ghosts, a podcast I listen to on the regular, and the new William Control EP is out (The Pale), and that’s kind of always worth celebrating (for some reason there’s nothing on William’s website, but he is all over the instagrams and facebooks).

I went to LA and back, and although we didn’t make a point of catching every band (because we were there for approx 48 hours and wanted to see some of the city, too) playing DB20, we caught bits and pieces of most, and this.. this! Was probably the creepiest, most disconcerting live performance I’ve seen:

 

This clip isn’t from Das Bunker, but please, if you will, imagine a tiny room that is so loud your body vibrates, and all you can see is strobe lights, smoke, and a shadow that seems to exist and not exist all at once, occasionally wielding a chainsaw. For realsies. The shit was bananas.

But we saw VNV, and Covenant and a lot of Daniel Graves, and Continues (which was fantastic) and the Legendary Pink Dots, who were syrupy and moody and embracing and lovely, really, and LA was great and we ate Thai food and walked on the beach and all was good and right  in the world.

And then I came home and was alerted that a market I’d started a short story for way back in May had extended their submission period (I’d given up up on making the original deadline because of all the Pitchwars madness), so in the last 3 days I’ve written about 3.5K, and finished a draft of HAPPILY (n)EVER AFTER, a story about some jerks and some Princesses. So. We will see, but it was fun and it was short and also NOT a novel, so heave-ho and up she rises, I am kind of happy about it.

Then the tv told me S3 of The Fall had started and OMG STELLA GIBSON I LOVE YOU! So that is that.

Now, I am sleepy.

So good night!

hang onto your hopes, my friend

this AM, on a relatively average fall day, the mighty facebooks were kind enough to tell me that today, back in 2014, I reported that I completed zero draft of Gingerbread. That was a really, really long time ago. The book was terrible.

But all is not lost. I have done 2.5 full edits on it, removed probably 30K, and rewrote about 70K. In some respects, it’s a whole new book, and, when I’m done this go-round, it’ll be the best book it’s ever been.

And I’ll probably have to edit it again. And, I suppose, that’ll be okay, because HOLY CHEESEDOODLES have I learned a lot about writing in the last year.

I have focused on learning everything I can about craft – not just the stuff I know I’ve internalized, the way most writers do, but I’m actively learning and incorporating all of the things I can so that I will, when it comes to write my next book (The Mourning Wolves), deliberately plot & plan from the start, instead of trying to cobble it all together out of the mess I can make in a pants’d first draft.

Earlier this year, I took 3 writing classes. One was an eight week full novel course (alas I didn’t learn much that I didn’t already know, but that was an instructor issue, over a material issue). I started an in-person writing group that’s met almost every week since then. I have written 11K on The Mourning Wolves, and started the plotting for it. I had a short story published.

I have done character grids and arcs and chapter by chapter breakdowns. I have done beat sheets and stared at the ceiling planning out character flaws. I bought rulers and highlighters.

I entered Pitchwars, and while that (as we know) wasn’t entirely successful (it was 100% successful!), I learned that I can, actually, pretty much edit a full novel in 6 weeks if I have a serious looming deadline.

I met a great CP, and it’s been super fun working with them (TeamHaps!).

I have written over 50-thousand words this year – that I tracked. I’m sure it’s closer to 150, all things considered, if you take in all the words I deleted, and all the chapters I removed and all of the changes I made. A goal for 2017 is to be more diligent in recording actual words written – even if my end of year totals aren’t the same b/c of editing and the non stop delete party that is fiction writing, it’ll be nice to know, exactly, how many words I actually typed with my little typing fingers.

So. What have we learned?

I’m not the fastest writer (having a fairly stressful day job impacts), but I’m certainly diligent, and tenacious, and I’m definitely working hard. I’m treating writing as a job, rather than a hobby, and that’s been an interesting shift as well.

Right now my focus is on this edit of Gingerbread, as I’m sending it to an editor I’m working with around mid-October.

After that, I’m mostly going to see bands. 3 hours of a VNV retrospective here, then we’re heading down to Los Angeles for the Das Bunker 20 year anniversary, which will pretty much be a synth/futurepop Valhalla, given that VNV, Covenant, A23 and Apop are all playing (thud), along with my friend (not really, but I Love) Tristan Shone (Author & Punisher).  Music is pretty much the only other thing I blog about, and I would be lying if I tried to tell you I wasn’t super excited.

Also, Cygnets. Nope, they’re not playing but OMG I can not get over this band. My current obsession is “Ana & Mia”, a song about eating disorder recovery.

Because if you think industrial/synthpop/new wave has nothing to say, you are not listening close enough.