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Space Opera Challenge

I’ve got a friend who writes. Actually, I have a lot of friends who write, which is great because there’s always someone to understand my latest word block or to share a cup of coffee with when the words just won’t stop coming. But this friend of mine needed a little companionship in his writing this week. While writing is something one must do alone, it is also easier to do when you know someone, somewhere is writing too. So to better procrastinate my own writing, I volunteered to share a word-for-word challenge with him. He picked the genre and the word count target and we both wrote.

It was a good dare for me. Space Opera isn’t really my setting — I tend to avoid topics that require any understanding of physics beyond the most basic — but I was able to shrink the stage of the scene down to my usual comfort zone. And I was able to invent a character that I’m sure I’ll transplant into something else.

I’m sharing the result here with you so that this quick piece doesn’t linger in my word trunk unread. It isn’t in anyway related to QUEEN OF HUNGER. But it was fun. Enjoy.

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On Nerves: Having them and getting on them

Yes, it is October. However, consider this your September update, as that’s when all the thinking happened.

Book Status: QUEEN OF HUNGER¬†continues to sell regularly, which is fabulous considering how little advertising I’ve done. It isn’t selling “I’m going to Hawaii for my birthday” well, but well enough. In addition, the feedback I’ve gotten from readers has been really encouraging and inspiring. If I could get half the people who’ve told me they loved it to say so on Amazon.com in a review…but I know not everyone is a “reviewing” type. Heck, I don’t have a Yelp account myself, so how can I complain? I can’t. Still, it is good to know people like it and recommend it and are looking forward to the next book. That makes me inexpressibly happy.

Writing Status:¬†I am definitely writing, producing a small but steady amount of new content every week, which is helping to pull me out of my post-publication doldrums. Yes, post-pub blues. I’m realizing now that’s what I’ve had/have/will have for a bit longer. Those blues are manifesting in one serious crisis: I’ve lost my nerve.

Public art is about risk. Committing words to paper is great, but putting those words in front of strangers takes an awful lot of moxie — a fact I hadn’t really come to grips with until I did it for the first time a few years ago. And now, after taking the big risk, I find myself constantly battling doubt: what if the next book isn’t as good? or is too good? What if someone steals my ideas? or I’ve stolen theirs? What about the characters, are they interesting? complex? amoral? cynical? Is it too long? MY GOD EVERYTHING I WRITE IS TOO LONG!

Writing in a vacuum was so much easier than writing with the will to publish. My second-guessing demon is working overtime.

This makes for slow going. And re-writing. And pep talks with fellow writers. And more coffee than I ever thought I’d consume in a day — and I attended grad school, so my coffee intake upper limit is significant.

So while book two grows day by day, whether it will grow in time for a reliable publication date is up for debate. In the meantime, however, I do have some other shorts that are shaping up to be interesting enough to share. They aren’t in the same world as Teach and the Assembled, but you probably won’t mind. I mean, it’ll be free fiction. What’s not to like?

PS — I’m making additions to the Inspirations page too!

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