Tag Archives: Conjuring Raine

books have their own DNA that will not be denied. at least, mine do.

Back in June I wrote  about outlining my work-in-progress and how strange it was that it seemed to have no SF element.  No magic realism, no paranormal, no weird shit in sight.  Was I really writing a straight, no-fantasy, novel? Inconceivable.

Then in November I wrote about how much I was struggling with it. It just wouldn’t write, I kept skipping writing days, what was wrong with me.  I usually zip along, but no. I should have twigged then, but I did not.

In December I finally figured out the SF element.  That is six months after starting, and only NOW has the root of the problem finally been revealed: I am an idiot. This will come as no surprise to many of you.

Basically, I’m writing a ghost story. There are three characters, a foul-mouthed cook, a violinist, and a teenaged girl, and  and they are all haunted.  Only, see, back in June and all through the end of 2013, I didn’t want to write a ghost story. I thought, “Oh, I’m sick of ghost stories, that’s all been done. This isn’t going to be a ghost story.  I’ll write something else.”  And I went on my merry way, trying to write some other book that had no ghostsbut it’s a ghost story. You can’t take the ghosts out of a ghost story!

No wonder the book ran aground.

Just this month, like pulling teeth, I finally allowed the GIANT FREAKING HOLE in my book to be filled with the ghosts that were meant to be there from the beginning, and…suddenly the book is fine. Of course I’m not writing a book with no SF in it.  This is ME we’re talking about. It’s just that I was just systematically not letting THIS book’s SF be in the book. Now that the ghosts are in there, it’s all going as it should, pages appearing, writing is no problem again.  I’m psyched to get to it each day, I feel happy and at peace with the world, all the strange things I get from a good hit of writing (why?  I don’t know).  As I said: I am an idiot.

Six month of resistance!!!!! SIX MONTHS.

What’s worse, this isn’t the first time I have made this mistake.  I did this exact thing once before. I didn’t want to write a vampire book because DUH. Vampires. So I tried to write Conjuring Raine without a vampire. But of course, IT IS A VAMPIRE STORY.  If you’ve read it, can you imagine Conjuring Raine where Joshua is not a vampire?  NO.  (And if you haven’t read it, go read it!  It’s a great book! 🙂 )  I ended up putting the vampire back in when the story ran aground around the 100 page mark and refused to budge. And all was well.  I just had to accept the fact that I was a person who had written a vampire book.  No shame!

Is twice enough to have learned my lesson? If a book wants to be a ghost story, it’s a ghost story! I can’t just decide for it not to be, because I think I don’t want to write a ghost story. This should be obvious!!!!

Also, writing ghost stories is spooky. As in, I’m kind of creeping myself out lately, especially at night. Plus I’m thinking about death all the time. It’s kind of morbid.  And man, the sex in this one.  Plus swearing, lots and lots of swearing—just this one character, but still.  Nevertheless, I’m surrendered at this point.  It is what it wants to be, ghosts, sex, swearing, and all.  And if I try to make it something else, well…maybe I’ve learned my lesson.

conjuring raine going FREE next week to celebrate SPRING, plus the sleep report

So yeah, if you haven’t read Conjuring Raine, but think you might like to, next Tuesday and Wednesday, March 20 and 21—Spring Equinox! it’s freaking 80 degrees today and the daffodils are going nuts!—are the days to download a FREE copy from Amazon, and did I mention that it will be FREEEEEE?????  Toby did so well, I decided to give Raine a similar chance. Conjure magic, human trafficking, vampire abolitionists, and family ties, plus romance, and a strange vampire religion…what’s not to like?  Don’t forget you don’t have to have a Kindle device to read a Kindle book, just download the free app from amazon to the phone, tablet, or pc of your choice.   And there is always the free podcast of your humble author reading her work (check the sidebar for a link).

But now, for those of you following along at home, I announced yesterday my Crazy Plan to stay up all night last night (research for the work-in-progress) and you might be wondering how that went.  Well, I did it.  Until 8 this morning that is, when the kids came and got me out of the Noah house and pulled me into the yurt and everywhere there was a bed.  I mean, there were the usual number, but somehow, I couldn’t fight the gravity of all the visible beds, beds everywhere I looked, and so I finally fell onto one and slept for about an hour this morning.  I’ve got back up around 9 after probably the most delicious hour of sleep I have ever had, bar none, and have been limping along all right since then.  It’s surprising how much difference even an hour makes.  I’m not too grumpy yet, though there is plenty of cognitive dissonance, haha.  Basically I’m getting just the first hand experience I needed, so I’m calling the whole thing a win.

Sophie stayed up with me until about 4 (!) when she finally collapsed on the sofa, sweet little thing.  It was impossible to sit next to her gorgeous slumbering peace and not fall into it myself, so I had to leave.  It’s so much easier to stay awake when you are out dancing in South Beach Miami clubs, then it is in a quiet, dimly lit yurt next to a sleeping child!  Today she has these little purple circles under her eyes (compared to my sagging black under-eye suitcases)  and has been reporting her experience of sleep deprivation as we go along, quite the curious scientist.  “Why do you want to do this?” I asked her last night (or was it this morning?) and she shrugged, “to see what it’s like.”  A version of “because it’s there.”  Got to respect that.

The pocket coffees are AMAZING.

I bet we’ll be sleeping well tonight….

Conjuring Raine LIVES!!!

SQUEE!!!!  Get out your party drinks, body glitter, funny hats, etc, because I’m thrilled to announce that at looong last and after many, many requests, Conjuring Raine is now available for kindle! That’s right, you can now buy that puppy on amazon right here at this freaking LINK!  WOO HOO!  *doing crazy dance around the yurt*  So y’all just rush over there and take a peek, and if you’re into it, you can get you’re very own copy!  Go on, I’ll just sit here and wait… 🙂

Did you click the link?  How does it look?  Everything working properly? GOOD. (If not, for chocolate’s sake, tell me!)

Hey, if you read it and like, or if you enjoyed the podcast, please consider leaving a review on amazon.  It would mean the world to me and help other people find the book.  Thank you so much if you are able to do this!!!

And, of course, a huge thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has helped Raine come to life: Rick Fisher who copyedited and formatted it, Ida Larsen who did the cover art, all my insightful beta readers, podiobooks for hosting the podcast, and all my wonderful podcast listeners and commenters across the globe…all y’all ROCK.

For me, I’m going to chill out for a day, sit in the yard sipping a margarita, frozen, with salt, plus a little umbrella.  And tomorrow, you know, back to work on the next one.  Because this is only the start…of my INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING EMPIRE!!! MWHA HA HA!

*turns up the music, salutes with drink*

the writing life

Tremendous thunder storm last night, I thought for sure the pine trees were going to crush us in our sleep.  I woke over and over to thunder booms—storms are SUPER LOUD in a yurt.  But we’re all fine this morning, lived to see another glorious day in the forest.  Everything is sparkly and moist, I love that.

Anyway, I’m up to 20,000 words in my drafting of the wip—wait, wasn’t I at 30,000 last time I posted about this?  I know, I know, but I had to throw out a big pile of words and write four new chapters, had a great idea for how to fix the trend to BORING that the previous version had.  So, the new, improved, version is at 20,000 and ticking along nicely, although I need to get my main character more fixed in my mind.  She waffles.  Which is totally typical at this stage.  On the down side, my new idea meant I had to go and do a bunch of research on interrogation, GOD humanity is so fucked up.  Have you heard of “enhanced interrogation,” all “legal” whatever that means, and pretty much evil, if you ask me.  Jeezus.  Well, my poor characters, why do I do this to them.  I’m sure they would have been happy with the “regular” interrogation, but no, I had to go and “enhance” it.

It’s interesting to see that, so far, this novel is a totally typical novel process for me.  I mean, interesting (to me, anyway) that I have a typical novel process.  Here it is: push forward to 100 pages, run out of steam.  Go back to the beginning and find out what went wrong.  Get some ideas and implement.  Push forward again, maybe to 150 pages.  Run dry.  Repeat.  Push forward again.  Until finally, finally, I reach the end.  Party.  Let it rest, binge read, watch movies, eat chocolate, play with kids.  After obligatory resting period and recuperation, print out that bad boy and read it.  Realize, FINALLY, what the novel is about.  Begin Real Revision.

I’m hoping to reach the Real Revision, what I usually call the Second Draft, although it’s all been through multiple versions by then, by the end of June.  I may be fooling myself.  I probably am fooling myself.

So!  In other writing news, I got a near-done progress report image from my cover artist yesterday, and it looks terrific, I’m so pleased.  Actually, I am TOTALLY STOKED to release Conjuring Raine into the world as a print book, hopefully very, very soon.  Like yesterday!  Okay, not yesterday, because I have not perfected my time machine.  YET.  And then the next novel to be released, I think, will be last year’s project, Toby Streams the Universe (working title, I’m not sure about it…) which I got back from the editor recently and hope to rewrite later this summer.  So stay tuned for news on that.

So many projects, so little time!

raine and joshua get physical

I am talking to a couple of artists about creating a cover image for Conjuring Raine.  This is really fun, and also ridiculously stressful.  But anyway, the current idea has both Raine and Joshua on it, and thus, I’m having to explain something of what they should look like, beyond the deliberately vague physical descriptions I wrote in the book, and, well, it’s hard.  Hard, I tell you.

I make physical descriptions in my books pretty vague because I want readers to fill in the blanks on that.  Also because a character, to me, is what’s on the inside, not the outside.  A few cues on clothes and general hair comments and I pretty much leave it at that.  Raine is early 20s, starts the book with long (unspecified how long) multi-colored hair (due to a bad break-up), has pale-ish skin and ‘dark’ (brown? black?) eyes.  She wears a lot of black.  Joshua thinks she’s pretty and she can wear his jeans, which says something about her size, since he is described as fairly skinny.  But that’s it. That’s what we know about what she looks like.

Have you listened to the book?  Did you have a picture in your head more specific than that?

Of course, for an artist to actually draw/paint/render-in-some-way-visible an image of Raine, it has to be a lot more specific.  Okay, she’s pretty enough—but how pretty?  How does she stand?  How big are her boobs?  Are her teeth straight?  Exactly how long and how thick and how curly/straight is her hair?  How close together are her eyes?  Etc.

ARRG!  I don’t know!

I’ve taken to combing the net for photos.  Stock photo warehouses, google-image searches, stills from movies I’ve seen with characters who kinda sorta look right.  At this point I kind of think of Raine as being a paler, less pretty (or less groomed) Nora Jones.  Maybe.  You know that kind of mixed-race look.  Only not as confident.  And no heels.

But really, some other face could work.  It just isn’t one of those thin, intelligent, sharp faces.  She’s rounder to me, more emotional of feature. And, I suppose, it’s my book cover, so I get to pick.

But Joshua?  Well, shoot, I practically describe him as ugly in the book, while still trying to write him as kind of hot, so hows that going to work made flesh?  I knew this guy a decade ago, a passing acquaintance, who had this super thick, straight blond hair, came to about his shoulder tops, cut blunt, that he wore slicked back into a stump of hair at the nape of his neck.  He had that super translucence to his skin, too, the kind that turns bright red in the cheeks when he got mad.  I always thought of Joshua looking like that, I have no idea why.  Only Joshua is awkward and weird, where that guy was pretty charming. I can’t find any pictures of a guy like that to show cover artists.  I mean, Joshua is stuck at 19 and he came from Eastern North Carolina almost 200 years ago—he’s got to be kind of…plain.  Made interesting by his personality and the whole vampire thing, but still, there are no male-models native to Eastern North Carolina for a reason.

No offense to any Easter North Carolinian dudes!  It’s just a different kind of face is all.  And typical book-cover face is not what Joshua looks like.  To me.  In my head.  If that even matters.  Which, maybe it doesn’t.

Because you can’t put a plain looking guy on a book cover, can you? And anyway probably lots of readers don’t see him in their heads as plain.  Raine doesn’t see him as plain, but of course, she doesn’t care what he looks like.  Hm.Maybe I’d sell more books with a Californian guy on the cover?  Like maybe that Smith from Sex and the City, he had a blond pony tail and a kind of bony face.

No, no! says a voice in my head.  Joshua DOES NOT LOOK LIKE THAT.

Fine, I say back to the voice.  What does he look like then? And be specific, please.

ARG!  AGAIN!

What to do, what to do.  I need a photo of a guy with a kind of bony face, too tall and skinny, super intense expression, with super thick blond hair, blunt chopped at the shoulders.  Yeah, right.  I’ll get right on that.

Any of you listened to Raine?  Got any star-casting suggestions for character looks?  Cause I’m all out.

nyquil eurekas

We’re all sick around here.  Snot, coughs, that hurty skin feeling, ugh.  We’ve been socked into the couch with blankets, discarded vitamin C packs,  a mountain of crumbled tissues, watching endless tv. Thank goodness for streaming netflix on the wii.

Anyway, Saturday night, I pulled out my last bottle with the last dregs of Nyquil D, that’s the good stuff, the stuff that gives you that delicious floaty sleep, not the crap they sell now sullying the good Nyquil name.  Did you know they changed the recipe?  Then brought back the good stuff under the name Nyquil D? But you had to give your driver’s license number to buy it?  And then they took it back off the market again this fall??  Its SO SAD.  So this was the last of my supply.  It was not without some mourning that I glugged it down.

Ah, the dreams!  Nyquil dreams are—were (sob!)—the BEST.

I dreamed of my book Conjuring Raine.  Wednesday I got back the last of fulls from agents who, with praise and apologies, still refrained from offering to sell it.  Sigh.  I should keep going, I’ll find someone who will take it on, persevere, yada yada fucking yada.

But I’m turning 40 in a few weeks.  I started this writing thing ten years ago.  Ten.  A decade ago. Before I had children, I wrote my first novel and I really, really thought I’d be doing the Published Author thing by now.  By 40 I was supposed to have a few books out, for heavens sake.  And I’ve worked it, believed me.  I’ve had a top New York agent, I was on submission with her for eons, then she drifted away when nibbles did not turn into bites.  Back to query land, back to the rejection factory, why did I want to do this again?

In the dream, I was designing the new cover for Raine, this fabulous cover, and in the dream, as it can only be in dreams, designing this cover was a kinesthetic, sensual, technicolor thing to do.  I would wake up a little in my floating Nyquil euphoria and then roll back over into designing my book, not the content, but the book.  And when I woke up, I knew I wanted to join the ranks of Indie Authors and publish it myself.  Waking Dreams Press is born.

I’ve contacted a copy editor, several cover artists, made a to-do list as long as my arm, made a business plan.  In between blowing my nose.  It feels exciting, and freeing, and a rush of energy where before I had felt something close to despair.

I’m still querying Toby Streams the Universe, the book I just finished.  Keep one foot in each world.  Eggs in multiple baskets.  Hedge my bets.  Have my cake and eat it too.   But I have a whole stack of books written over the last decade that could be released, possibly, by Waking Dreams.  We’ll see how it goes.  But for sure, stay tuned for the release of Raine to a Kindle near you….

conjuring raine passes the 1000 mark

Just a quick note to celebrate that the 18th and last episode of Conjuring Raine has been downloaded over 1000 times!  I figure the chances of someone downloading the last ep without having downloading the previous 17 eps is small, so I’m thinking this number is a pretty good representation of the number of people of who have actually listened to the whole thing (and thus, presumably, enjoyed it enough to do so).  1000!  I jokingly put this number out as a goal a couple of months ago—it didn’t take long to pass it.  This is so cool.

Thanks to all you listeners!!!!!

conjuring raine is DONE

I just finished yesterday, the last podcast has been edited, mixed, given intros and outros, ID tags, turned into an mp3, etc etc.

The LAST PODCAST.

(It’s not up for y’all yet, I’ll post it today—no, I’m not going to make you wait for Friday—and it might show up tomorrow or Thursday, depending on how quickly podiobooks updates.)

The end of a big project is always a surprise.  I can’t believe I did it, honestly.  The newness of the idea—how about podcasting one of my novels?—still feels pretty new.  I bought the mic in mid-March, so that’s five months ago—five months!—but it has gone by in a blur.  And now it’s done.  Complete.  Podcast a novel: check.  This is so weird.  The time between idea conception and completion just…collapsed.

Anyway, I really hope y’all like the big finale.  It’s a bit long, 45 minutes, but it didn’t seem right to cut the last arc into pieces.  Look for it tomorrow!  If you’ve been listening all along and like what you’ve heard, consider leaving a review over at podiobooks.  I know I’m encouraged to try things when lots of other folks have reviewed it and and said it’s worth my time.

I have had such a good time with this whole project.  Podcasting a novel turns out to have been a very postivite experience, not in small part because of all you great listeners who have been cheering me on.

So, with that giant creative project in the can, I now give my full attention back to my current novel revision.  Will this novel ever be finished?  I started it a little over a year ago.  I don’t even have a title for it yet….