Archive for December, 2014

2014 in review (Blog Stats)

I hope everyone’s had some lovely holidays and are prepared for 2015 to roll in tomorrow. It’s been a struggle to get on the computer around everything recently, but I promise lots of fun new content on the other side of the year changeover. For now, here’s some random blog stats, for those people who like such things. See you on the flipside!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Writer Problems: Weird Searches

Sometimes, Squiders, I’m thankful I’m a fantasy author. Well, a lot of the time. But, in this case, I get to avoid some of the more macabre searches that mystery and other genre authors probably have to do.

Luckily, in this day and age, your search history is between you and the NSA, and you don’t have to, I don’t know, make friends with police officers or surgeons or undertakers to get information or whatever it was people did before the Internet existed.

But we still need information, and in order to make stories interesting, sometimes we need really strange and disturbing information that would make people think you were a serial killer if you brought it up in normal conversation.

I imagine mystery/thriller writers have it the worse, what with having to come up with new and inventive ways to kill people. But I’ve had to make some odd searches myself from time to time.

There was the time where I did a ridiculous amount of research on blood to see whether it was possible for an intelligent life form to have blood that was not oxygen-based, only to have one of my betas point out a fatal flaw in my evolutionary logic anyway.

There was the time I needed to figure out if being stabbed in a certain location would kill someone.

I’ve done a lot of research on stabby things in general.

Also with setting people on fire, and drowning…

Okay, I take back the earlier comment about it being better to be a fantasy writer.

Ever done any especially disturbing bits of research, Squiders, that it’s probably just better to never tell anyone?

Writer Problems: Too Much Research

So, my husband and I were chatting last night, and he repeated something someone had said about guardian angels.

Me> Did you know that the Muslims believe that you have two shifts of guardian angels? And people are most at risk at dawn and dusk during the changing of the guard, as it were.
Husband> …what does that have to do with this conversation?

Research. I’ve talked in the past about how it can enhance a story, even if you’ve got it set in the real world in modern times. And I think, to some extent, that writers really like research, because it seems like we tend to go overboard with it and end up with way more than any sane person would ever logically need.

Part of that may be because we’re not quite sure what we’re looking for (with Shards, which is of course why I know random guardian angel trivia, some of the stuff I researched directly impacted the entire plot and worldbuilding, but it was not stuff I was aware of beforehand), part of it may be that we want to be as informed as possible (because I’ve noticed when other authors get things wrong about things I know about in their books), and part of it may be that we just like learning, and if we’re writing a book on a related subject, it’s probably already something we’re interested in.

But, anyway, writers do more research than necessary, in most cases. And then you can’t actually put it in a book. You use your knowledge to create the right atmosphere, to make sure your characters are acting appropriately, maybe twist it into your plot, but most of that information just sits behind the scenes, necessary but not really there.

But you, as the author, knows it, and then it tends to come out at inopportune times, like dinner parties or to your extremely religious relatives that probably don’t want to know how the Bible was constructed or when, and how Moses probably did not write the books attributed to him because there’s four distinct writing styles AND the whole thing was probably written a good thousand years after Moses lived, and…

…you get the point.

Any research that tends to seep out into your normal lives, squiders? Do you have any embarrassing, random knowledge stories? If so, please share.

The Pitfalls of Christmas Creativity

Ah, squiders. If you’re anything like me, you occasionally have these ideas where you’re going to make some or all of your Christmas presents for the year.

And, if you’re anything like me, it occasionally goes terribly awry. There was the year where everyone under the age of 5 was going to get a crocheted toy. I had taken a crocheting class about six months before, but after I bought supplies and sat down to work, I discovered I remembered none of what I learned.

There was the year where I was going to embroider a table runner for my grandmother. I eventually got it down for her birthday–in May.

Last year, or maybe the year before, I thought I’d make everyone homemade bubble bath. I went all fancy, buying real rose petals and rose oil. The rose petals just floated at the top and kind of shriveled up, which was less than appealing.

You’d think I’d learn. Or I’d at least learn to stick to things that I have done before and am relatively good at. (It would have helped me avoid the Great Soap Debacle.)

(I’m mostly good at drawing landsquid and making friendship bracelets, though, which are not the best skills for presents.)

Anyway, I didn’t learn. I’d tell you more, but potential gift recipients may read this.

Let’s just say I need to repaint part of my basement floor, and that the carpet cleaners will be out on Tuesday.

Have any particularly spectacular stories of homemade presents gone wrong, squiders?

Nano: The Aftermath

Ah, December. Sweet, sweet freedom. And yet, it highlights yet another less attractive aspect of Nano, aside from the fact that it is unaccountably exhausting.

And that is that you feel restless when December comes.

I am not one of those people that finishes a draft during Nano. I have exactly once, in 2006, when I wrote a younger YA fantasy whose first draft came in at a whooping 54K. But in general, 50K is about half a draft for me, so I rarely write “The End” during November itself.

So, because November is exhausted, I find that I have little motivation to keep going when December comes (again, not sure why Nano is so exhausting when it’s about what I write on a regular basis) even when my drafts aren’t done.

So here we are, about a week in December, and I still haven’t finalized my writing plans for December.

I have three options:

1) Go back to my YA paranormal edit (sitting at about 65K, so 20 to 25K more to be done) that I was working on over the summer and up to the beginning of Nano.
2) Continue working on the first draft of my space adventure story I started for Nano until it’s done (Probably 30 to 40K more past 50K).
3) Take a break from both big projects for the month and work on shorts and other miscellany.

I can’t quite decide which to do. Every time I think I’ve got it figured out, another one starts to look more promising. At this rate it’s going to be Christmas and I’m still going to be deciding. I have written a section of my serial and sent out some short stories to ezines, so that’s something at least.

I would like to start the edit on my high fantasy trilogy in January, but I’m still missing most of my beta comments and I feel like I should finish the last edit first. But man, to leave a first draft in the lurch…

You see my dilemma.

How did Nano go for you Squiders that did it? Any opinions on what I should do?

Book Announcement: Even the Score

I’m pleased to announce the release of Turtleduck Press‘s latest book, Even the Score!

even the score ebook cover 200x300

One, two, three,
How many will my victims be?
One, two, three, four,
How many more to even the score?

When Taro Hibiki leads a survival class into the backwoods, he has two goals: to prove himself as an instructor, and to propose to his beloved Rafe before he loses his nerve completely. In the wilds might seem a strange place for that, but it’s where Taro feels most at home—and the only place the couple can escape all their other responsibilities.

On BFR, proud colonists say the name stands for “Big Effing Rock,” and brag about their planet’s dangers. More treacherous than bomb bugs or sight scamps, though, is a human seeking vengeance. Soon Taro’s students are dropping one by one, and no matter what Taro does, the killer stays a step ahead. Worst of all, Taro comes to suspect that the students are targets of opportunity—that the ultimate goal is Rafe.

Taro would die for Rafe in a heartbeat, but who’s going to take care of Rafe if he does?

As it happens, the killer has a plan for that, too.

Buy it now!

KD Sarge writes for joy and hope, and works for a living. She has tried her hand at many endeavors, including Governess of the Children, Grand Director of the Drive-Through, and Dispatcher of the Tow Trucks. Currently KD loves her job at a private school for children with autism.

Past accomplishments include surviving eight one-year-olds for eight hours alone (she lasted about ten months), driving a twenty-foot truck from Ohio to Arizona by way of Oklahoma, and making a six-pack of tacos in twenty-three seconds.

Writing achievements include the Weightiest First Draft Ever, as well as eleven other, much lighter, completed novels. She has somewhere between five and ten universes under construction at any given time, writes science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, smut (in many genres), and means to one day undertake a cosy mystery. A widow, KD lives in Arizona with her biological daughter, her internet daughter, two cats, and a hermit crab named Bob.

KD can be found on the internet at kdsarge.com or turtleduckpress.com. Follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, where she mostly talks about cool things she found when she should have been writing.