An Update At Last!

Okay, so now that I’ve got some deadline stuff out of the way and returned to this website in a spectacular way (posting a couple of stories?), I feel like it’s a good time to empty the litter box.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Booktrope has closed its doors so Drowned History will not be published after all. Thankfully we hadn’t started work on it so I wasn’t trapped in a contract like some of the other people I know. This means I’m free to try and publish it elsewhere if I feel like dealing with crushing rejection, which I currently do not.

Why? I have a good job that I like for the first time in a long time. I like the people I work with, I love my clients, and I’ve actually started smarting off to the management a little lately with good results. It’s really more of a career, since I’ve been working as a credentialed tech for almost 14 years, and I don’t expect to give up anytime soon. And since I’m not looking for an eject button, I can take my time looking into publishing or save up the money to publish it myself. It’s rather freeing!

However, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be writing! In fact, I plan to be writing a great deal. As a matter of fact, I’m back at work on the Escape trilogy. I’ve made some pretty major changes to the characters and some of the story, so I’m probably going to remove it from Wattpad and resubmit it with new chapters. I was struggling with it for a bit and the changes are making me love it as much as when I first came up with the idea.

I’m also going to be working on adapting a screenplay for a gentleman I met through Booktrope. He based the screenplay on a book that was written by a family member and wanted it adapted into a novel, which is where I came in. I’m going to be working on an outline and sending it to him, then writing as much of the first draft as possible during NaNoWriMo season, so I’ll hopefully have that out of the way by the end of the year.

And of course, I’m going to be posting my weekly short stories for the 52 Week Short Story Challenge. Once that’s finished for the year, I may compile them into some sort of collection and sell them for a buck or so. I’ve always enjoyed writing prompts. They remind me of college!

The Wave of the Future

Exciting news! Drowned History is going to be published!

I submitted it to Booktrope after seeing something from them pass by on my timeline and thought maybe it would be better to go that route than trying to self-publish it. I don’t have the money right now to get an editor and cover designer and this way I get to have a creative team without up-front costs.

See, Booktrope is a hybrid publisher: somewhere between self and traditional publishing. Your book gets accepted and you put together an entire creative team who each have a stake in seeing the book do well. No one gets paid if the book doesn’t sell! It’s a good model to me because rather than just paying someone to do these things and having to market it myself I have help and guidance. I work way too much to try and do it all myself again.

And speaking of Plans (we are now, keep up), they republish books too! So if things go well, I may try and get them to republish Plans. I feel like it deserved better than it got because nearly everyone who read it – even randos! – loved it but I just had no idea about marketing and such. It would be weird to see it with a new cover but I guess I’d get used to it. It would be nice to have a real editor to help me polish it up and re-release it.

Getting DH published has really given me back some of the zest I had been lacking. I finished The Weather but hadn’t gotten around to editing it because I just didn’t feel like dealing with finding an editor, then a cover designer, and as I said before I don’t have the money for that. I get a little jealous of people who self-publish and have the time and money to do it themselves but that’s life. Now that I’m feeling validated, I am ready to work again and might even be able to pull Kitsune out of storage and get the outline worked up. And then of course there’s the Escape series!

I used to be worried I would run out of ideas one day. This is not that day.

Indecision!

Hovering back and forth between putting Escape up for free or hanging onto it until I can publish it. I really enjoy serializing Drowned History but I feel like I would be losing money by giving it away for free and then just hoping that people would buy the collected bits as a book. I may gain readers but there’s no guarantee of that.

Maybe I’ll just put excerpts of it up here and tease it that way, or maybe put excerpts up here and short backstory pieces on Wattpad. Just thinking out loud here, really. I want to keep people updated on what I have started referring to on Twitter as #EscapeRedux so people can mute the hashtag if they want.

As for the project itself, it’s moving forward. I got the outline for the first part finished and am almost through with the second. Once I get through with the third I will probably take a week off and then start on the first book. Or part. I still haven’t decided how I’m going with this. It’s going to be a little large for one book but I feel like the second book won’t be as interesting and people won’t buy it, which means they won’t buy the third and miss the grand finale. Basically I’m going to try and write the whole thing at one time and decide whether or not I’m breaking it up later.

This is all terribly exciting, I know, and I’m going to try and update as much as possible. If you want to get more updates, cat pictures, and screenshots from my epic victories on Love Live, follow me on Twitter. There’s also a fair amount of family stuff and lots of vague talk about my work that doesn’t quite qualify as subtweeting. Oh, and retweets about cat stuff. If a friend of mine is talking about their cat licking the floor or eating a bee, you can bet I’m retweeting that.

Back Again For the First Time

So I decided that if I’m going to make any kind of an online presence for myself I should probably set up a Goodreads page. I’ve always had one but I’ve never done much with it. Imagine my surprise when I went on and discovered that I have reviews!

Sadly, no one likes Minor Side Effects much. I can’t make myself be too terribly concerned about it because it was originally a Livejournal project that was just for fun while I kept myself writing every day. My skills have definitely leveled up since then, judging by the good ratings for Plans both on Goodreads and Amazon.

Something interesting I had heard about Goodreads through writer friends was that you can do book giveaways through them. I just so happen to have restocked myself with hard copies when I did a book trade with Jennifer Foehner Wells, so I may do that this week. I’ll be sure and post a link to the giveaway as soon as I have one!

Work continues on Escape. I finished the outline for part one last night, and it came out to being 17 pages long. Yeah, breaking it up into three parts was definitely a good choice. I started the outline for part two last night also. I think I’m going to get the whole outline done before I start writing because I want to make sure I’ve got all the things in the right places first. I don’t want to retcon. I hate retconning. This is why I had such a hard time with The Lost World.

I also found about fifteen pages of a story that could easily be worked into a book in the same universe as the Escape ones, and about the same size. If I get working on it and release one book a year, I’ll have four years worth of books in the can just in case life blindsides me. Again.

One last thing about Goodreads for now. I plan on going back through my recent readings and doing small reviews of them, so if you’re a friend and suddenly get slammed with reviews from me, I’m sorry. I read quite a bit more than my past performance would have you believe.

If you’re interested, my Goodreads page is here: http://www.goodreads.com/Natalie_Smothers

Vic Quest™

Why did I start my new Wattpad account with the name Vic Quest and why is it my display name on Twitter (for now)? You can actually thank my boss for that one.

When I got my hair cut last December he said I needed a new name, one that fit my new hair. I said I like the name Vic (way too many rewatches of The Shield) and he said it was a cool name.  He also said that he knew a girl named Jen Quest, and that it was a cool last name. So on that fateful day he dubbed me Vic Quest, and he occasionally refers to me as such, usually in regards to my writing. He let me borrow a book for research earlier this year, asking if it was for my writing and wishing Vic Quest luck in finding what she needed in a veterinary parasitology textbook. What she was looking for will have to be a surprise for all of you, I’m afraid.

It was sort of a joke and I fully intended to put Vic Quest on my book covers on Wattpad, but the girl who did the covers for me (they’re serious sully the best premades I have ever seen) put my actual name on the cover of Drowned History and I decided to go with it. I merged the two accounts but left my username as Vic Quest.

I don’t know if I ever explained the whole VQ thing on Twitter before but I figured I probably should since I changed my display name to have it before my actual boring name. It’s not like I really have a personal brand on there anyway apart from retweeting cat nonsense and pictures of what we made for dinner.

Work on Escape continues. It seems like it’s going to end up being a series of sorts. From what I have and what still needs to be written, it’ll  probably be around 100,000 words. A little excessive for one book, even an ebook. Might be perfect to split into two, or maybe even three. Trilogies are good, right? People love trilogies.

Updates Galore!

Guess who’s been a busy lady? I added two new pages with information and links to places where you can buy my two books – Plans and People Who Should Know Better and a page with links to my free ongoing stories – Drowned History and Escape – on Wattpad. Wattpad is really weird about letting you read stories. If you try to read it from the main story page it wants you to sign up before it will let you read. But if you read it from the first chapter, as I have linked on the Free Stories page, it doesn’t try and make you join. I don’t know. Technology, man.

I started my old Wattpad account last year around this time and tried to start putting bits of Escape up but it never really happened. When I started Drowned History (what my Twitter followers will know as my “bullshit AU”) I started a new account with the user name of Vic Quest (thanks to my boss, who is kind of a dork), completely forgetting about my old one. So now the two are merged and I plan to start some more rewrites and update Escape more frequently once I finish with Drowned History. Thankfully, that one is in the can so it won’t interfere with the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo! If you’re into that sort of thing, I’m Chickie Pants on there and would love to be friends. Or cabinmates. Whatevs.

I plan to put excerpts up for the books this weekend if I have more time, and also put up some stuff about my crochet habits and cats. Also, my screed on why NaNoWriMo isn’t a cancer on the ass of writing, just in time for Camp. There’s more content on the site now but I’ve still got a lot of work to do. One of these days I can afford to make a real site. ONE DAY.

Anyway, please enjoy the updates and read some stuff, or buy some stuff (even better!) and tell me what you’re thinking or join Wattpad so you can start telling me off over there or vote for my stories. And be sure to follow me on Twitter if you don’t already so you can get updates about my stuff and hear all about my cats and my current obsession with Love Live! Seriously, that game has eaten my soul. It’s all because I like J-Pop. And rhythm games. CURSE YOU DDR.

Let’s Try This Again

I suppose since I got two royalty checks ($12 – you know you’re jealous) it’s as good a time as any to start up a website again.

So what’s been going on with me? Not enough, to be honest. I tried to go back and work on an old WIP and got super stressed by trying to transfer old writing that could be saved to the new story and ended up abandoning it again.

I went back to my usual backup: fanfic. I wrote and updated two big fanfics, both of which have been very well-received. I also wrote a tiny one and then…I did NaNoWriMo. Ever since I won, I’ve been feeling a lot more confident. I’ve been writing every day and making playlists like crazy.

Which brings me to the exciting thing: I’m working on a new project (two, actually)! I have a friend who told me he might have a line on an agent who wants unusual things and I just so happen to have something unusual that I wrote in 2002. And hoo boy, can I see how my writing skills have improved.

It’s a huge relief to find myself enjoying writing so much again. I think about this story all the time and think of snippets and ways to build the characters that I only roughed out before. I’m super excited to get started on this and see where it goes!

I doubt I’ll be updating the blog too often but I’ll be sure to let you know when I do via Twitter,  or you can email me and I’ll add you to a mailing list. Good times.