author life,  NaNoWriMo2017

Day 4 – NaNoWriMo 2017

Required words: 1,666
Target total: 6,667
Actual words: 3,541
Overall words: 7,438

Ahead of the curve, booyah! And all was right with the world again.

Had kind of a mixed day, but got some good writing done in the evening. I love writing at night when everything is quiet. I finish most of my books at night, not just because I can’t stop, or am writing an average of +7k words at those times, but because there are no distractions, and when I’m in the zone, things keep happening. Like that my cat gives up at 2am to send me to bed, and ends up leaving me a (later) icy cold, stinking present in there that not only requires me to wash the duvet, but also clean the mattress and consequently have no place to crash when sleep finally becomes mandatory. Good times! Happened with the release of Unity, no kidding.

Made French toast myself for the first time, after recently discovering it at a local restaurant. No, we don’t usually have that here, but we of course have a lot of similar dishes. Made it with real Canadian maple syrup that my dad got me when he was on vacation over there. I think I’ll have to send him over the ocean again soon. Or amazon. I think the big A will do for now.

Finally finished writing that conversation, ending with some of the usual Bree hamster wheel introspective paranoia. That I was at first hesitant to write because I recently made the mistakes to read that single one four-star review where someone complained about too much introspective rambling. See, this is why I don’t read (a lot of) reviews, even when they’re good, they tend to screw with my head. I love them, and take great pride in watching their numbers grow. Particularly the bad one-star reviews are always good for a laugh–I mean, really? You got the book for free, read two pages, took a snap judgement because of that, and now you’re so offended by that perceived version of the book that you feel like crapping yourself all over the review page? Because, gasp! How dare a woman writer write something realistic that might contain sex! GASP! Has to be romance, and needs to be burned at the stake. I’m so sad that you never got to read on to book #5 and the parts where someone once said, “Liked it, but didn’t care much for the almost zombie rape.” (I’m paraphrasing here, should have taken a screenshot!). Well, I think neither the zombie nor human involved in that did care much for it, either. Can I let you in on a secret? That very first chapter of GF#1: Incubation, that zap-a-year-into-the-future mall panty raid? I put that up there deliberately for two reasons. Well, three, really:

1: I have almost no zombies in that book, while the rest of the series is teeming with them. By now you know WHY we needed that first book and all the action and non-action that happens in it: because it’s the very backbone of the plot. Of course that limits the scope of what happens massively with just a single POV the story is told from, but it’s easy to fill in the gaps bit by bit later… if you dare read on and don’t make snap judgments about the writer’s inability to build her world (yup, that was a three-star). You could say… it’s deliberate! But really, it wasn’t. It was the consequence of writing a different book and then deciding to watch the world burn, so I missed out on A LOT of the initial outbreak. Never really bothered me as I was much more interested in exploring the consequences of what the remaining humans did. Plus it makes for great, dramatic “what happened on that bridge!” references from all sides. Ah, good times…

2: I know that some people are allergic to sex, and while the books aren’t romance (for that, the plot would have to revolve about the central couple becoming a couple, and you could easily cut Nate out of the entire series and it would be just as strong. Just have the Ice Queen kick Bree’s ass into learning to take care of herself, and use the rest of the cast for the bickering and comedic relief), I always knew I wanted to have some R-rated stuff in there. You know, the gore, the violence… still bothers me that American ratings are more dependent on the level of heat and language than overall sense of the movie. Also the reason why you got that single explicit sex scene in the first book. I figured, if people can handle that, I’m good. Why make them abandon a series they’ve invested hours and money in if I can sort them within a few pages or the first book? Best for everyone if we part ways early if that’s not your thing.

3: That one is more of an afterthought but still true: Some people are (reportedly) triggered by strong female characters, and while Bree has her moments in the very first book, it takes her a lot longer to grow into the size shoes she’s stomping around in now. For that also the intro chapter is a promise. This is what it’s all about, this is what you will eventually get to read. Love it? Awesome! Not so much? That and the very first chapter are both inside the 10% reading sample you get for free, always, from amazon, and the Intro’s also posted on my website. There’s no excuse! Or so I thought until yesterday (see above). Oh well.

As you can likely tell from the levity that’s in my tone (I hope? Does that translate? Oh noes! I’m 75% happy at the moment, the idea of either more French toast or ham and eggs in my very foreseeable future is raising that to 100%!) I’m having a good time right now. Writing 3.5k last night helped a lot to make me feel like a legit writer again, even if it’s still on the short side of what I’d like to accomplish this month, or any month, really. I’ve also decided to embark on a side project once I’m done with the book and some of the short stories. Maybe in tandem with the short stories, not sure yet. Let’s face it: I’m never going to write much sex under this penname. I like leading up to it, and I sure as hell will defend my stance that, realistically, it will still be happening in the apocalypse! Come on, people, that’s life. But I can understand readers not necessarily wanting to read it, at length, in minute detail (way to kill that innuendo, eh?), and after over 2 years and almost 8 books I’m happy to say, yeah, don’t really need to write it in these stories beyond the lead-up. But I’ve crunched my numbers last night (aka looked at my Amazon KDP dashboard and changed the view to my romance alter ego only) and realized that my old work still makes enough each year to pay for a vacation, with a single promo all year and unattended since I published the last one between GF#3 and GF#4 in February 2016. That’s more than a lot of Indie authors make, while promoting the shit out of their work (fun fact: I don’t believe that beyond a certain, rather limited point promo really helps. As in, spamming FB groups with your links and attending parties and shit. Amazon, or whatever other platform you publish on, makes up for 90% of what will happen to your numbers. Goose that with targeted promos like advertising in newsletters and doing some stuff that’s focused, like a blog tour or event where many authors pitch together to generate some buzz, but that’s it. 10% of your money AND time is what should, at max, go into promo! 90% is writing the next book! Spend those extra free hours chatting with readers you already have. They deserve it, and it’s fun!). I know, I’m an eternal tease about my past as a romance writer, I deliberately don’t post the links or tell you the penname because I don’t like to be judged on my smut. But I miss writing it. I have an upcoming ghostwriting gig lined up to do some romance, but looking at those numbers made me realize that I’m already making about half of what I will be making then, with next to zero effort (let’s discount the 1.5 years it took me to write those six books and bunch of novellas, shall we?). I might still do the ghostwriting, but I also plan to write at least one, maybe even a bunch, of smutty books next year, kind of like a palette cleanser. Yesterday evening has once again proven to me that time isn’t the commodity that I’m lacking when my word count falls short of what it needs to be. It’s focus. And guess what this 1500+ word morning ramble blog post is? A stellar way to focus my mind and get it where it needs to be to get some more words done! Paradoxical maybe, deeply routed in habit establishment for sure.

Someone a while ago asked me about my writing habits and superstitions. Here’s the one that’s proven true over and over again:

If I write before noon, I will write a lot that day. Or, if I write over 1k words, I will write more that day, given it’s before 10pm.

Also fun fact, the story I will likely use to grease my writing gears was planned as a rather violent, bloody revenge thriller. Now, if the female lead won’t cut apart her cheating fiancé but just break up with him, it will be romance! Another fun fact: readers usually pick up on shit like that, and this is why my romance only sells a fraction of my horror. I never said I was a GOOD smut peddler! But I love reading it when my mind’s too broken for everything else, and I like writing it when I have something else that constantly wears me down to work on but need a breather. I love Bree, but damnit, woman, you drive me bonkers sometimes! Hope you enjoyed that little regression into my old school vocabulary, before I learned to pretend to be from the other side of the pond.

5 Comments

  • Marie

    Commenting on the “romance” part of Green Fields, I really think it’s pretty well done. There is just enough to have the build up but no finality to it so it keeps you going. I would personally love if there was more in the series (although it doesn’t need it) or if you wrote a romance/horror that was graphic in both ways. That would be interesting reading! Apocalypse or not, you are right, certain human acts would not stop. The characters very well could be thrill seekers too. That’s slightly reminiscent of Nate and Bree spending some quality time together in that cave while zombies were just feet below… 🙂

    I’m not sure why someone would complain about Bree’s rambling. The first book is a lot of her alone to begin with. Alone in the lab, alone in the ducts, alone to her thoughts everywhere else with small interactions with few people.. How else are you supposed to establish a character who isn’t interacting? It also builds to show who she was then, and compares to that first chapter from the future. I thought it was great! Sounds like whoever wrote it wanted more action. Shooting, explosions, whatever. That doesn’t make a story though. Not a good one anyways…

    • Adrienne Lecter

      Oh, the rambling part was for Affliction, book #7. I was afraid that would come but how do you write someone whimpering for ten hours straight? You don’t, that’s why, because Bree’s the kind of character who’d claw (ha, I’m so punny right now) at anything she could grasp to at least mentally keep herself above water, so rambling instead it was. And as you said, it’s not like she’s only been doing that in the last book. Still hurt, but at 3 4-star reviews in almost 130 or so overall, and that being the “worst” I have absolutely nothing to complain about! I’m very aware of that. Which is a problem in itself, but that’s a story for another day.

      The complaints about book 1 are so many that I can’t easily list them. A lot valid, but most boil down to what you said, that wouldn’t make a good story, or even a story at all, and it’s not the story I want to tell. And that there is exactly why I will never let any review change what I write, because I have so many more readers who want MY story, not what that reviewer might have wanted to read, so move on… I’m sure someone else wrote what they wanted already! That’s the wonderful thing about amazon and Indie publishing, you get new books literally every single day! And every one of them will find an audience that loves it, but none will please them all. And that’s okay.

      I’m kind of tempted to write something like that. Problem is, I was kind of smut blocked for a year after quitting romance (the main reason there’s almost no explicit sex in the books), and there’s so, so much prejudice out there against even a note of romance in a non-romance book, it’s ridiculous. I sure as hell would love to read that book you’re describing myself! Plus, come on. If you consider what I’ve done to those two, they deserve to have some fun!!

      • Marie

        I think you need to start a new genre of non-romance, romance stories! 🙂 Why can’t it be all ways? That to me is more realistic and worth a read! Like you said, they aren’t going to stop doing things in a crisis. But really, like I said before, it’s not completely necessary. Part of the fun as a reader is to let your imagination take over and build your own story in your mind on what happens outside of what’s written. That’s part of the reason I enjoy your books. When I’m reading and it becomes almost a movie in my head, it’s a good book. I fill in the blanks with whatever seems like it fits in my head. I’m excited for book 8!

  • Aaron

    I agree with Adrienne and Marie on the “romance”. Life (or Sci-fi Life) includes a little of everything and if you are going to describe some pretty horrible things, why would it be bad to describe some pretty wonderful things to balance it. Also I appreciate Adrienne giving us a foretaste in the first book of what is too come. I think that is a considerate thing to do. (Thanks Adrienne).

    Also, I agree that here in the US we unfortunately have very different tolerances for violence, language, and sex, publicly; however, I think that this is largely the effect of a minority that are a squeaky well. I would guess that if you averaged peoples’ private tolerances/preferences for violence and sex in there literature, the sex would be more accepted. We are just too embarrassed, or like Adrienne, don’t want to be judged by our acceptance or predilection for sex.

    There is also a lot to say about the wonders of Frech Toast. I had some that had some caramel in them that were really good. However, I think that they are best with thick bread sopped with egg, milk, and vanilla and then cooked over low heat. It is almost like a bread pudding. Maple syrup is the only syrup that should even exist. If you have Sugar Maple trees near by why not make your own, “just” collect the sap in the fall and simmer until it reduces down by about 40 to 1. (Do it in a well ventilated room or outside unless you want a maple sap sauna 🙂

    • Adrienne Lecter

      Thanks for the tip about the maple syrup, but we don’t produce any here so not sure if the maples that we have would be suitable. Probably not or it would be a thing. We had French toast today again, worked well, although I do mine with milk, eggs, and cinnamon, and fry it in butter on high heat. Then again, my 35 year-old kitchen appliances likely make that medium heat at best.

      Well, the US is the world’s most prolific producer of porn so I presume that there’s need for that or there wouldn’t be an industry. But yes, what you do behind closed doors it so often not what you claim to do in conversation. It just pisses me off when people go overboard in their hate for a touch of sexy times. It’s okay not to like it, but sheesh. Grow up. Only very few of us would be around without it 😉

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