On releasing a second book . . .

Trying to process how I’m feeling with the release of Elude coming up fast has been a pretty interesting experience. It can be all pure, undiluted excitement for who knows how long, only to be overtaken by stress and the like at a moment’s (unwanted) notice. Me, I’m a stressful being. I’ll be stressed about the sky being too blue if nothing else is going on. (WHERE ARE THE CLOUDS?! THERE SHOULD BE CLOUDS RIGHT NOW!) Clearly that’s an exaggeration (of sorts), but there’s always the ‘expect the worst’ mentality trying to break through any bit of positivity in my head. That’s just me.

I’d been ridiculously stressed trying to get everything done and (as close to) perfect (as I can get) with this. I was still excited despite all that, more of that than anything else. Then, all at once, most of the stress and other negativity was sucked up. I was just excited.

Thus far, preparing to release a second book has been an entirely different ballgame than the first. I know what I’m doing a bit better than I did when it was Reave I was preparing for. (Though, admittedly, I did forget some things this time which was much easier to be remedied than initial learning.) Releasing that first one, I was a giant mass of stress. I’m pretty sure I was putting off so much stress that it could easily be detected by others within a fifty-foot radius of me. (Though it’s rare for people to be in that space.) Obviously there was the pleasantness as well. I was FINALLY going to have a book out there in the world. I was going to push it off the proverbial cliff to see if it could fly. It was terrifying.

It was also exciting.

After several years of writing books and wanting people to enjoy them like I enjoyed them, it was . . . a bit surreal, to be honest. I’d been so over-protective and private with my work until that point, and the thought of any and everyone being capable of reading it just blew my mind. (I’m getting better with the over-protective part, but it’s a process for sure.) It still does blow my mind, when I really think about it in certain ways.

I’ll say my head is much clearer this time around. Rather than, “Is this really happening? Really?” it’s, “This is happening.”

I’m happy. I think a great deal of that is due to just how much I love the rest of this series. If you’ve read Reave, you know it leaves off for things to PICK UP. And pick up they do. I really love this second book. (Though I’ll easily say that the fourth is by far my favorite in the series.)

One of my concerns was that other people wouldn’t agree with me on this, that they wouldn’t enjoy the rest and would be like, “FIRST.” After having several people read Elude and telling me they liked it better, and having the people who have either finished book 3 or are currently reading it saying the same (that they like it even better than the second, which was an even larger concern for me if I’m being honest) . . . I’m feeling good.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, or if it’s only a temporary thing, but I think I’m getting just a smidgen better at putting away the negative thoughts where my work is concerned. They’re still there, of course. But I’m getting a bit better at not letting them dictate so much, or have so much of a say in matters where they don’t actually need to have input at all.

Obviously I’m stressed out, wondering how it will be received, and all that. At the same time, I know it’s better and I can be excited about that.

As of right now, I don’t really know that I’ll be posting another entry on here before the release. Unless I think of something important, this will probably be it. So I have a few things to say to all of you who have actually taken the time to read this and are interested. There will be no mass of stress seeping into the following…

1) I am really looking forward to you reading Elude, if you’re planning on it. I hope you enjoy it. I hope it makes you feel something. I hope you’re satisfied with it.

2) Thank you. I sincerely want to thank any and everyone who has been supportive of my work. These books mean more to me than I can actually get across. (I suppose that’s easy when they pretty much consume your life…) And I’m really not very fantastic at many aspects of this. Getting the word out? Yeah, I’m pretty awful at that. Having confidence in myself? Pretty awful at that as well. So thank you all for either dealing with the latter of those, or helping with the former. More than that, thank you to anyone who has at any point ever thought the characters I write deserve to be not only enjoyed by you, but shown to others. It seriously means more to me than I could ever express.

That’s why I do this.

(Apart from trying to keep my sanity in getting these stories out of my head. 😉 )

– C

Releasing a second book? Yeah, it’s happening.

Be prepared on July 14th. Until then, you can check out Reave, or add Elude on GoodReads. 🙂

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Female Friendships

I was hoping to do a post today entitled: ALL THE COLORS Pt. 2.

Obviously I’m not doing that, which is because I haven’t yet attempted what I planned to attempt in ALL THE COLORS. I’m still planning it, but I haven’t got all my supplies out of the boxes they’re in yet. I’ll try it out at some point, hopefully soon.

So instead, I’m going to be writing a post about the importance of female friendships in novels, and in life. This is inspired by Vampire Academy coming out in two days, which I am EXTREMELY excited about.

Most of the reading I do is in the YA genre. I don’t always WRITE in that genre (it’s a bit difficult for me to keep the cursing to a minimum [depending on how badly a character wants to do it] and wondering about the line where *cough* other things are concerned), but I prefer to read in it. My reasons for doing as much aren’t related to this post, so I’m not going to get into that because I’m trying to stay on subject with the new schedule. (Is mentioning something getting into it?)

One of my largest problems (it’s not the only one) with the genre is the lack of female friendships that the heroines have in their lives. More often than not, it seems to be piling a bunch of males in with the one female to develop (sometimes) meaningful relationships and friendships with. If there are females, they seem to be put on the back-burner and are more for keeping up appearances rather than adding any sort of legitimate substance. They’re underutilized, in my opinion. (Kind of like something else, which I will probably get to in another post.)

I’ll completely admit that writing female friendships is a tricky thing. When you’re female, you KNOW how tricky female friendships can get, especially around the age when YA main characters are. I’ll also admit that the male/female friendship ratio I tend to work with is usually pretty indicative that I personally find friendships with males easier. BUT, there’s a quality over quantity aspect. And I will say that in any series I’ve finished, the main female character has AT LEAST ONE extremely meaningful friendship with another female. Doesn’t necessarily happen in the first book of a series, doesn’t necessarily not happen in the first book of a series, but it happens at some point (thus far). It happens because . . . that happens in life. I also believe it’s important.

I think for younger females, it’s good for them to see that friendships with other girls can be healthy. It doesn’t have to be backstabbing and all the other nonsense that comes along with being 16-18 years old (and younger, and older). I think it’s good for them to see that. It’s true that you don’t always get back what you put into a friendship, but sometimes you do.

While I’ve always made friends easier with males (for the most part), some of the most meaningful connections I have in my life are with females. Females communicate together in a way that you just . . . don’t get with males. And no, it’s not all make up and clothes (but yes, that’s fun).

I have no problem saying that Aster eventually develops several meaningful relationships with females in the Reave series (apart from Agatha). Some of them come later into the game than others, but they help her grow as a ‘person’. These females (I’m not giving them away) help her in ways no one else ever could.

I say writing female friendships isn’t any trickier than writing love entanglements. No, they’re not as ‘appealing’, but by god . . . they’re real.

And that’s one thing I loved about the Vampire Academy series (apart from Rose being badass, which she was). Rose and Lissa, whatever connection aside, have one of the deepest friendships I’ve ever read. No matter what boys get thrown into the mix, or what crap, they are always there for each other. I think that’s beautiful, and I think it’s important.

When you have girlfriends and you throw boys into the mix, things can get a bit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . difficult. When you’re young, a lot of times you think the boy is the one that matters, and don’t get me wrong, they matter in their ways. It’s usually not ways you realize at the time.

You might cry on a male friend’s shoulder when you’re falling to pieces over a boy. I know I did my fair share of that when I was younger (A BIG SORRY here to any of you who had to deal with that), but it’s different when you’re sprawled out on your best female friend’s bed, a complete wreck. There’s no, “I knew this was going to happen.”

That comes later, if ever. Usually not.

Girlfriends know you don’t want to hear that garbage, especially when you’re in pieces (you probably did know and don’t need reminding). All you want to do is cry about some jerkface who probably didn’t deserve your time or the tears you’re crying over him anyhow.

I’m not devaluing one sort of friendship and talking up the other. Some of my best friends in the world are male, and I would not give up those friendships for anything, but neither would I with my female friendships. What I’m saying is that it’s all important.

There’s really not much that compares to the bonds females can form with one another, especially in the fueled flames of adolescence. I can easily say that, being well past that time, I’m glad to see it over. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it for what it was, or the people involved. But it’s easy to look back and realize that you take things for granted when you’re young.

So hug your girlfriends and always remember . . . they can’t be replaced. And those connections? They deserve to be written about. They deserve so much more than what they’re given.

Thank you Richelle Mead for doing a fantastic job of that when it seems to be so rare in the genre.

(Also, on a completely unrelated note: I’m trying to get an actual SCHEDULE made up for reading people’s blogs on here. It’s taking me longer than I want it to with all the work I’m doing, but I AM working on it. Please be patient with me until that time, and then I’ll actually have a daily schedule for it to hold myself to.)

🙂

It’s time to play my favorite game.

It’s called ‘the catch up game,’ and if you can’t tell that I’m being sarcastic (SOMEONE INVENT SARCASTIC FONT FOR ME, PLEASE), then I should go ahead and say, “I’m being sarcastic.”

That being said, I should also point out that it means I’ve finished this run-through of book 2 in the Reave series, which means B2 is out of my hands (meaning I can’t touch it again until my friend gets through revising it). This is good. B2 was my priority (obviously, as I’ve fallen off the face of the social-planet), and now I’ve reached the point I needed to reach with it. I don’t have to spend every waking moment working on 3 and 4, so I’ll have all that time to do the other things I need to do. It also means that I’ll get to at least pretend I have some sort of life, and that’s good.

I have to apologize for how far behind I’ve gotten on reading blogs and the like, but I will TRY to remedy that within the next few days. Don’t get mad if I don’t go a month back in archives to catch up, but I’ll do what I can. (And by that I mean, “I’ll do what I can without making my brain explode.”)

Charles Yallowitz, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THIS? I’ll admit I’ve been baffled over that many times.

I’ve been trying to come up with some sort of blogging schedule, but I should also say I’ve been trying to do that for a really long time now. I’m kind of at a loss as to how anyone can even stand reading my posts (they’re always talking about how much I suck at blogging, or at life in general), but hey.

I’m thinking what I might do is use Monday for an ‘update’ post (but I’m kind of at a loss as to what I could actually update) or something to do with ‘work’ or ‘writing’ or SOMETHING, use Wednesday as a ‘random’ post (along the lines of Friendship: The magic of THE CLICK or Hello World. I am a moron. Nice to meet you.), then Friday will get back to my Friday Music posts.

We’ll see how well that works out. I don’t have a clue about it as of now.

We’re going to count this as my Monday post, even though it’s Sunday (I might change my mind about that, but I might not). I need to spend a few days playing that game I was talking about and try not to get overwhelmed by it.

If anyone has some pointers for time-management, I’m all ears (eyes). O.o

(If any of those pointers involve making days 50 hours or inventing a way for people to function on absolutely no sleep . . . I’ve already thought those to death. But if you can figure out how to do either of those things . . . it would be helpful.)

I’m doing it again…

Blog-neglecting, or neglecting all social media(ish) things. Come on, give me a little credit. This isn’t like the last time I got sucked into writing (please excuse me while I go cry about how long it’s been since I’ve written), where I would disappear for three weeks at a time and pop in every so often for nothing more than the following: “Oh, hey there. I know it seems like it, but I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ve just been trying to keep you out of my head while I did other things.” (‘You’ isn’t any person. It’s the blog in general, just to clarify.)

It’s not THAT bad…

The cause for this short (in comparison) hiatus was due to printing out the fourth book in the Reave series for editing. As soon as I saw some of the words, I worried I would disappear for a bit. Still, I was determined not to because I was just getting the hang of this time-splitting thing.

Needless to say, the instant I sat down and opened it for editing………….Well…here I am with a few little blog entries between then and now. I think. I lose track of the days and I honestly can’t remember when I actually started working on that one…

(Give me some credit AND a break. I hadn’t read 2, 3, and 4 in about a year and I WAS SO HAPPY.)

Anyway, once I finished up with that, I started inputting the changes from Book 2. I needed to get done with that because I have to hurry up and get the newest copy to my friend for revisions. And I can’t do THAT until I go through it…again. (I have problems!) If you’re wondering, I’m running out of space from all these books printed out for editing, that’s one problem. (Sorry, trees (*sadface*).) I was also running out of space on my work table with all the empty pens from editing, but that’s cleaned up now…

I’m telling myself that things will calm back down whenever I have Book 2 out of my hands and don’t feel the need to rushrushrush. Honestly, I don’t even know WHY I’m rushing. Yes, several people have said they can’t wait for the next one, but I’m not anywhere near able to release it as of yet. I really am hoping for a decent time frame on it though…

I don’t really know if I’m rushing because I’ve been stressing out so much about all the interacting. Maybe that’s part of it. I actually think I’ve gotten a bit better at it, but I still feel like a moron every time I tweet anything and I still feel like a moron when I comment anywhere on WP. I’ll say my brain is only at half functionality whenever I do. Also, I type faster than I think sometimes (pretty much all the time), which makes me worry about some of the things I say to people. I’m rambling right now. Do you see what I mean about the typing?!

Someone please tell me why interrobangs aren’t okay to use. I think they should be.

(Hey, C. This is the point where you remind yourself that you self-publish to do whatever the hell you want.)

(Oh yeah…)

*cough*

Anyway!(??) I’m just gonna……go……

Yeah.

Hope everyone is doing well! And be sure to enter the GoodReads giveaway for Reave if you haven’t done so (and want to)! 🙂

And if you don’t want to wait, you can go over to Amazon and find it there. People seem to be liking it, for some reason…

(Also, I’m hoping to get back to my normal blogging schedule, which includes my ‘Friday Music’ posts and absolutely nothing else apart from whatever I can come up with between Fridays. Also, it was VERY COLD yesterday and I couldn’t stay out in my shed to do anything. Another sadface moment there, but I DID get a bit of gaming in…)

Aster

Reave has been live for…seventeen days now, and I’m no closer to accepting it being ‘out there’ as I was when I said I was trying to maintain some semblance of dissociation from it for my mental well-being. Somewhere in my mind I’m completely acknowledging the fact that, yes, it is out there and, yes, people are reading/have read/will read it. The positive feedback has blown my mind, I’ll say that again. (I’ll probably keep saying it.) Seeing people post things about it on Facebook, or randomly finding a new review has just been…fantastic. (I could make a comment here about Blades of Glory and the ‘mind-bottling’ remark.)

In a commenting back-and-forth with Ben from over at BensBitterBlog (If you’ve never seen his blog…you need to), I got inspired to post an entry. This is it, by the way. And this entry right here is entirely (mostly, knowing me) about the main character in Reave, Aster.

I’d contemplated making a post about her before, but that’s tricky for me. One of the things I’m most looking forward to as the series goes along – receiving input about it – is hearing opinions on Aster’s development. So what can I say without giving away too much? That’s the question.

I’ve felt it was almost impossible to dance around characters in a blog entry because the characters dance around themselves in the books. (Spend a moment trying to imagine how that works. If anyone figures out how it’s possible, let me know. I’m at a loss. Made sense in my head.) So what could really be said?

There’s never been much of a debate over whether I was going to write about something on here. If I wanted to, I did. If I maybe did, I didn’t. Simple as that. (An example to the contrary is the post I made about sleeping. I’d take it down if it wasn’t the entry that got the most hits off Google. And it might be a bit evil of me, but I seriously LOVE the search terms I occasionally see because of it.)

The point of that digression is: When having to ask myself so many questions about if I DID want to write about her, to let people get to know her a bit more…The answer was no, due to the questioning involved. But I think I might be able to manage it (if I could EVER get to the point in an entry).

Aster began as a product of my first series. The main character in it was……a brute, to be honest. It was fun at first, but then it was just…too much. (She was also an absolute MORON, but that is NOT the point.) So when I sat down to write Reave – putting the Reapers out of my mind and focusing on the MC – I knew…I wanted her to start weak. Now, if you’ve read Reave, or if you’ve even read a BIT of Reave, you probably already know…

Aster is ANYTHING but weak.

Mentally.

Even from the get-go, she looked at me and said, “I will not have this.” So, I wrote her how she was, then got dragged along behind her (and a few other characters) for the four books I’ve written and all the bits of ones I’ve only written in my head. I don’t have a problem saying that’s how she is. It’s apparent from Chapter One.

I’ll admit there were times during my multiple edits where I sat here in my chair, openmouthed, over certain aspects. You see, it’s probably not that noticeable with the first, but these books were made to be re-read. I know a lot of people aren’t re-readers, and that’s fine. I feel you can read through each book once and find yourself satisfied (unless you hate it/them, in which case…I’m sorry). I can’t say I designed them that way (I wrote them, but being a pantser…I only have so much to do with it), but I can say I tweaked it to make it fit the way it naturally wanted to be. And the series says, “I promise you’ll find something you didn’t the first time if you just READ ME AGAIN after you hit a certain point.”

Then again, I found things I didn’t initially find when reading through Twilight more than once. So………………………………………………………………………………………………

*cough*

The point of the most recent digression is: Aster.

I’ve written…six female protagonists, at least bits of them, depending on how far into their stories I currently am. (Seven if you count a spin-off series that goes in a different timeline where the MC is essentially an entirely different person. Please don’t ask.) I can’t say this series was my best WRITING (I can’t tell you how much I wish it was), meaning in the technical aspect or whatever. But I can without a doubt, one-hundred-freaking-percent say…Aster is, and will always be, my favorite main character that I’ve ever written/will ever write. And honestly? That’s WAY more important to me.

There’s the growth, for one thing. But for another? She SCARES me. I look at some parts of the books, and I get freaked out. And this isn’t a ‘she could kick my a**’ freaked out, it’s a ‘……how did she come out of my head?’ freaked out.

She’s damaged (we all are, and she has good reason just like any person). She has her flaws (the lack of knowledge about normal human-type things could definitely be considered one, but by god…it was fun at some points). Her moral compass is occasionally………..askew (then again, moral compasses being askew is all a matter of personal opinion). But there are so many things I love about her.

The ability to overcome anything put in her way (maybe not in the most…fantastic way, but overcoming is overcoming). The drive and determination to fight for what she believes in. Her willingness to accept the bad but see the good (again, how did she come from my head?). She’s fiercely loyal (as long as it’s deserved). There is a whole list of things I COULD say, but CAN’T say without giving too much away. Still, there’s one more I can put on the list, and it’s up at the tippity-top.

The most amazing thing about her? She CONSTANTLY surprised me, even AFTER I’d written her. Every time I thought I knew her, I would find something and realize…I’d been wrong. And why this series will always be my favorite? Because I was constantly surprised over one thing or another, even after the fact, and I wrote it. O.o

I’ve gotten a lot of crap from people who’ve already read the first book. No one can understand my issue with it (I’m still wondering how no one understands my issue with it where the writing is concerned, but that’s not what I’m currently talking about here). All I can say to that is…

Wait and see. 🙂

Things are always better after the foundation is built, but that’s just my opinion…

By the way, I’ve heard/seen something twice that has given me the most stupendous feeling.

Our Aster. People have referred to her as our Aster.

That is….amazing. Because having anyone love her that much – people feeling connected to her? What else could I ask for?

I think I jinxed myself…

And I’ll say that’s what I get for making a statement about how I was managing to do something successfully. I should’ve known that no good would come of it.

Granted, this is a difficult time of the year to attempt a drastic schedule adjustment, especially with the intention of making it permanent. I should add right here that I’m missing my entirely nocturnal schedule VEEEEERY badly, but this is how things have fallen.

I feel like I’m getting pulled in about fifty different directions and don’t have a clue which way is up. Sometimes I can’t do much more than allow myself to get tugged along whichever way is necessary, then get back to doing other things when I have the time. Speaking of time…….

Does anyone know where to find some?

There aren’t enough hours in the day. There really aren’t.

I think I’m just realizing that I have to do a slight adjustment to the adjustment. I said in the last post that the time-splitting wasn’t even. I think I’m gonna have to split it a bit more evenly. If I don’t, this isn’t going to work. What good is doing the other half of things if I’m not coherent enough to do them? I dunno.

I’m gonna have to do that, and will also have to get over this ridiculous problem I have with interacting via Twitter. I don’t know what it is, but every time I interact with people on there…freaks me out. (I say that, but what I mean is that it freaks me out worse than interacting with people in most other ways – apart from in person, which is HORRIBLE – which truly isn’t saying much, given that I get lost when someone says ‘hello’.)

Damn my anxiety for being so bad. I’ve been getting really frustrated with it lately (my anxiety), but I suppose that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, a few random things…

I’ve been a bit O.o (yes, that’s a way to describe it) over the positive feedback I’ve received on Reave. So that’s cool. I need to thank everybody who’s put up a review for it or in other ways said anything about it where it’s gotten back to me, or told people about it, or just even read it. So…….thank you.

Also, I’m planning on doing a GoodReads giveaway, probably next month or so. I’m a GoodReads moron, so it might take me a bit of time to figure it out (or to figure out the site in general), but I’ll get there. I think. Maybe. Possibly. But I will definitely post on here whenever I set that up.

That’s basically it, I think!

Hope everyone is doing well! 🙂