Wednesday, 5 November 2014

What's Up Wednesday & IWSG

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I read The Palace Job, a really fun high fantasy adventure about a mismatched group who plan a heist on the capital of their republic. There's a ton of action and humour and some great characters!

I also read Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke, a great sci-fi with awesome worldbuilding around the idea of parallel/alternative universes (this may be a current obsession of mine!).

I also read Talon by Julie Kagawa. I was really looking forward to this one, but I didn't enjoy it as much as her other series - I found it a bit slow-paced and cliche in places. But the dragon mythology was pretty awesome.

What I'm writing

Shiny Book 3! I'm NaNo-ing. Slowly. Well, it feels like that, probably because it's winter. I've mentioned before that I suffer from SAD, which basically means I spend summer running around like a hyperactive squirrel and writing drafts in 24 days... and then winter flopping about on the floor wondering why the words won't write themselves. Le sigh. But I WILL beat this! *switches on light box*

I also finished the first draft of the prequel novella I've been working on since August (don't ask how I wrote a novel draft in 24 days, but took four times as long for a short novella, because I've no idea. :P). And did some revisions on the second book. I need to do at least one full-on edit before I send Shiny Book 2 out to betas, but I'm still crawling through Darkworld Book 3. One more read-through before I return it to my editor for round-two edits!

What works for me

I kind of hesitated on sharing this because it's not a popular opinion, but I find that reading books in the same genre as I'm writing is one of the best ways to get inspired. A lot of writers warn against reading similar books to your work-in-progress, but I find that when I'm in the mood to read a certain genre or sub-genre, I'm more inspired to write it, too! For instance, right now I'm all about the high fantasy/sci-fi and alternative universe stories. The book I'm writing takes place mostly in another world, so I'm trying to work out how to get the balance of worldbuilding/action right.

What else I've been up to

Sorting out exciting things for my upcoming release! Sign-ups are still open for Walking Shadow (Darkworld #2) - I'm organising a cover reveal, book blitz and blog tour (because I apparently don't have enough to do already. :P)! If you'd like to help out, you can sign up here!


It's also time for IWSG! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the creation of Ninja Captain Alex, and is a great way for writers to share their worries, support and encouragement. 

As I have two book releases coming up in the next two months (my Darkworld novella and Walking Shadow), I've definitely been feeling the pressure a bit. I'm doing all the blog tour organisation myself this time, and I think one thing that always comes with being published (whether you're traditionally published, self-published or with a small press) is that feeling of responsibility. These days, writing is only part of an author's job, and it can sometimes feel like the book's success depends on doing ALL THE THINGS - it certainly felt that way to me when I was first published! But there's only so much one person can do, marketing-wise. 

This time last year, when Darkness Watching first came out, I almost reached meltdown level. I was organising book blitzes and tours, emailing reviewers, running contests, on social media... and, well, I can't say the results matched the number of hours put in (to say nothing of the money spent on organised blog events, tours and advertising!). The comparison game can be deadly at this stage (I can't count the number of times I saw other writers complaining on social media about "low" sales which were twenty times higher than mine... seriously, who does that?!). So this year, I made the decision this year to focus on the WRITING first. No checking sales numbers, no obsessing over marketing - in fact, earlier this year, I decided to opt out of spending any money on marketing at all for the foreseeable future. As for the rest, well, I'm going to keep writing. Keep creating new stories. I'm a writer, not a marketer, and my number-one aim is to write stories readers will love, and given the plans I'm making for the next year - watch this space! - this is more true than ever.


  1. I get what you are saying works for you! I sometimes feel the same way. I read a really great book in one theme and I want to write my own story with a similar theme. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Good luck with your upcoming release! and Happy NaNo!!!!

  3. That's a good plan. Expensive advertising rarely pays for books.

    A hyperactive squirrel like Hammy the squirrel from Over the Hedge? I can relate.

  4. Good for you! It sounds like you've got a plan in place for everything. You can - and will - do it! :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

  5. I am currently reading Dissonance; it's very cool but the world is so intricate, there is TON of worldbuilding on every page. I'm kind of in awe of the whole concept. I'm only about 50 pages in.

  6. I'm with you 100% on reading books in the genre you're writing. For me, that's just another way to find inspiration. I also think it's smart because it ensures you aren't inadvertently writing something that is too similar to another book already on the market. I think agents actually suggest that writers do this so they're really familiar with the genre they're writing.

    Good luck with your NaNo-ing! :D

  7. Good luck with NaNo, we're all cheering for you. :D

  8. Winter used to really get to me too. It's just too damn long. First snow = gorgeous, 1 millionth snow = not so much *sends you tons of sunshine from Florida*

    And I like reading books in the same genre I'm writing. I guess no one ever told me I shouldn't. But I find it helpful and inspiring.

    Good luck with your upcoming release! Hope you have a great week!

  9. Wow, busy busy. Reading and writing are difficult for me to do at the same time. Good luck with NaNo and your releases.

  10. Reading books in the same genre as what I write helps me, too. I find nothing wrong with it. :) Good luck with your two upcoming releases!

  11. I fully support reading in the genre you write. That way you know that your story is original, and you know what your readings (fans of that genre) will expect. So read on, and write on. Have a great week!

  12. It sounds like you are busy but in a positive way. Good for you for deciding to not stress on the sales figures too much. Best of luck.

  13. I think reading in the genre is a smart idea. It has really helped me to find what works and doesn't. Good luck with the release of book number 2 and hang in there and don't let insecurity keep down!

  14. Good luck with NaNo! When it comes to reading and writing simultaneously, whatever works for you. I've never really had an opinion either way. I just read (and write) whatever I'm feeling at the time.

  15. I'm so glad you said TALON didn't live up to expectations - after her IRON trilogy, I had such high hopes, but I read the first 3 chapters of TALON and got a little ... bored? Impatient for it to get going?

    I hear you on reading books in your current genre - sometimes it's just the images and setting emersion that can reinspire you, I think. Plus, sometimes you get a feel for what *not* to do, haha ;-) Have a wonderful week!

    -- Caitie

  16. My publisher invests in marketing, but outside of a few book giveaways, I've not done anything that costs money.
    Two upcoming releases? You are going to be busy!

  17. The Palace Job sounds like a great read. :) Good luck with your WIP!

  18. I totally understand reading a novel in the same genre you are trying to write - especially when working on world building. I think it helps to see examples of world building where you think the author got it right (and, also, when they got it wrong!). Good luck with your revisions!

  19. The Palace Job sounds so fun! Best of luck with NaNo and your release :) I think you're wise to focus on the writing - it is one thing you can control and it is definitely the most important. Have a great week!

  20. Good luck with your NaNo and book launch! I can't believe you wrote a whole draft in 24 days! That's crazy, but as they say, each project is different, right? :)

    I'm generally with you on the reading in your genre thing. I definitely get more inspired reading whatever I'm writing. I guess you just have to be wary you don't lose your own voice when you're immersed in a lot of other people's worlds.

    Have a great week!