Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Tag: muse

Light Magic and the Evil Muse

Moving from one writing project to another isn’t always a smooth process. That is especially true when, like me, you have an evil muse. Myrtle, my own particular evil muse, loves to torment me by giving me the basic plot of a book but multiple ways to start it. I swear she does it because she knows it will drive me crazy. But I guess that’s better than having no idea how to start a book. Of course, I wouldn’t argue if, for once, I didn’t start and stop several times before getting to the opening that works best. Still, the stops and starts on Light Magic will have been worth it if the opening is as successful and i think it will be.

Which is what I have finally done.

I think.

I hope.

Okay, that’s enough insecurity from this writer. Light Magic is under way. With the change in opening, there will be a slight change in the plot, but nothing major. The biggest issue I have where this book is concerned is finding time to write. Fortunately, this one has the feel of one of those that won’t fight me every step of the way. If that is the case, my beta readers will be getting it within the month. Snippets should start in two weeks or so. I’ll keep you informed.

One way Light Magic has changed is that it will be bridging the “normal” plot and characters of Slay Bells Ring with the “Others” of Witchfire Burning. Some of that started with Witchfire but this will cement it even more. Of course, this being Mossy Creek, nothing is ever as easy and “normal” as one thinks. That is something Meg Sheridan will learn quickly. It will take her a bit longer to understand why her mother told her to run to Mossy Creek if anything ever happened to her.

Now it’s time to do the mundane things of life — take out the trash, check email and figure out what I have to do today that can’t be postponed for a day or two. Once all that’s done, I can sit down to write. In the meantime, I have a guest post up on According to Hoyt about heroes and sports figures. Take a few minutes to check out Victory Girls as well. Posts this morning (so far) include covering the Equifax breach and how some of their execs made a financial windfall by selling off stock while the company kept quite about what happened and a great short fiction piece that brings home the impact 9/11 had one some of us.

Getting back in the swing of things — slowly

After finishing a project, it usually takes me a week or so to catch up on things like sleep, cleaning, etc. That’s been true this time as well. Of course, Dagger of Elanna (Sword of the Gods Book 2) isn’t quite finished as a project. I still have the print version to finish putting together. But that is something I can do while working on the next project, Nocturnal Rebellion. Better yet, I know that I’m about ready to start back writing Rebellion.

How do I know?

That’s simple. I spent the morning digging through my office, clearing off the desk, cleaning and putting away all the research, etc., that I’d used on Dagger. Now the desk is clean and everything is set for me to sit down and get back to Challenge.

Of course, as I noted in yesterday’s post,I’ve also been hit with the basic plot ideas for the next 3 or 4 titles for the Eerie Side of the Tracks series. Plus, the basic draft for Victory from Ashes is done. Everything looked great when I posted that and I felt sure Myrtle the Muse would let me work according to my schedule.

She still might. . . but. . . .

Last night, Sarah A. Hoyt messaged me. It seems she had been hit with an idea for a cover and it wasn’t something she had planned. She told her muse, it must be one of my books. So she put this together.

I’ll be honest. I love this cover. It absolutely fits for the next novel in the Eerie Side series. Of course, it also means that book is starting to get loud. The fact it can’t be written quite yet doesn’t mean a darn thing to Myrtle the Muse. At least Mac and Company are louder right now than Myrtle and all the rest of it.

Anyway, I’m off to relax after digging out the office. Back later.

Monday morning, oh how I loathe thee

This is the morning so many employers dread. Super Bowl Monday. The day when employees drag in, suffering from too little sleep, too much over-indulgence and either too much bragging because their team won or too much angsting because their team lost. Those who supported the Falcons — or at least wanted to see the Pats lose — might admit it was a great game, especially the last few minutes. But, there is still the fact the Falcons lost after holding a 21+ point lead at one point, something no other team has done in history. So, Falcon supporters have ruffled feathers, adding to the Monday morning blues.

As for me, I started the day off much too early — thank you, BratCat — and have already been to PT. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am firmly convinced physical therapists are frustrated sadists in their private lives and they take it out on their clients. All I can say right now is OUCH!

Which is also sort of what I’m feeling right now about my muse. Myrtle has never been an easy muse to live with. But, right now, she is taking great glee in causing me problems. Normally, when I finish a project, I need a week or so to recharge the batteries and get the new novel’s “voice” in my head. Except this time, Myrtle has different plans. I’m not officially finished with Dagger of Elanna (Sword of the Gods Book 2). Sure, it’s up for pre-order. Yay!. But there are still a few tweaks that need to be made and I need to finish the print set-up because I’m not happy with how it looked when I did it earlier. But is Myrtle letting me do it? Nooooo.

As you saw yesterday, she has ambushed me with the next Nocturnal Lives opening scene. Except now it is scenes. And, let me tell you, the book is already throwing me for a loop. Not only because I hadn’t planned on it being the next book I wrote but because of how it starts off. Worse, as I think I said yesterday, I don’t know where this is going. Myrtle is hiding more than the next few pages from me. Sigh, someone come take my muse on vacation for a week or so. Hell, I’d be happy if you’d just take her out for drinks and let her spend the night with you.

Why do I feel like Rodney Dangerfield right now when he would joke, “Take my wife — please”?

I guess I don’t need to sleep.

One more thing before I head off to do some work — after finding coffee. If you haven’t read Dave Freer’s Mad Genius Club post today, do so. He hits it out of the part with this post.

New Beginnings

coverThe blog was silent this weekend for a couple of reasons. The main one was the weather. DFW and the surrounding area had not only rain — lots and lots of rain — this weekend but high winds and, in some areas, tornadoes. My thoughts and prayers are will all those in Van Zandt County, Denton County and the other areas where so much damage was done. As for here, well, there is one bedroom and bathroom that flood when we get a large amount of rain at once. Add in the fact that we have had multiple hard rains over the last few days and we have flooded three times so far in the last four days. That means my wet-vac has been well used as have the fans and other equipment used to try to dry out carpet, concrete, sheetrock and baseboards. It also means my allergies and asthma have been kicking up. So, there was no blog and very little writing done this weekend.

Nocturnal Interlude2But, there is one thing physical labor does for me and that is it lets my mind wander while I am busy doing something else. That is a good thing because it means Myrtle the Muse has time to figure out what needs to happen with which project. The really good part of this is that I now have the opening — after three failed tries — to Daggar of Elanna, the sequel to Sword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1), It also means I know what needs to be done in Nocturnal Challenge, the follow-up to Nocturnal Interlude (Nocturnal Lives Book 3). I have a feeling that by the time I start putting the room back together — painting and stuff like that will have to wait until the weekend — I will have the plot worked out for Honor from Ashes, the sequel to Duty from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 2). Those are all good things.

The bad thing is that I also know pretty much where Skeletons in the Close is going. The reason this is a bad thing is that I cannot, absolutely CANNOT, even think about that book while writing anything else. The main character’s voice is so strong and loud and Southern that, if I were to try working on it while doing another project, that other project would wind up sounding like it had come straight out of a haunted version of Gone With the Wind — modern day version, of course.

So that brings me back to beginnings. As I said earlier, I had started Dagger of Elanna. I even know the basic plot. I’ve talked a little of it out with one of my first readers. The problem was actually starting the book in the right place. With it being the second book in a series — and one which builds on what happened in Sword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1), it is important that I set things up so that those who haven’t read the first book can still figure out what’s going on. On the other hand, I don’t want to bore those who have read Sword by rehashing the events of that first book. And, no, I don’t do prologues or introductions. My experience is that most readers at best skim them. so the trick is to start the story and carefully drop the background in without info dumping on a huge scale.

I think I have that figured out now and hope to see it start to flow when I start writing in a few minutes (more coffee will be needed as will stepping away from the computer for a few minutes to clear my head. This is my second blog post this morning.) So, fingers crossed that this takes off the way I think it will. If it does, then I should have the rough draft finished by the end of the month — knock on wood. The others should be done shortly after that. Knock on wood again.

In the meantime, I have blogged over at According to Hoyt this morning. I’ll post a link once the piece goes live there.
And, if you are of a mind to support the kibble fund to keep Demon Kat and his counterpart, Thena, Queen of the Universe, fed and happy — well, as happy as any cat can be when there is a dog in the house — check out Sword of Arelion and my other titles. You can find a list of all my books at my author page on Amazon.



My muse is being evil

nocturnal interludenewThose of you who follow me here — and many thanks for doing so — or on Mad Genius Club know that my latest novel, Nocturnal Interlude (Nocturnal Lives), came out last week as an e-book on Amazon and will soon be available in print. Some of you have been kind enough to buy it and leave reviews and others have promised reviews. A big thanks for that because the reviews do help, especially if you share them on social media or through word of mouth. I’m almost over checking my sales numbers on a much too regular basis. What I’m not over is that mental state of blah that seems to fall on me after finishing a project.

Actually, that’s not quite right. That blah feeling left about a week ago and the need to write once more settled into place. The problem is my muse. The next project I ought to be writing is something I’ll talk more about Tuesday. It’s not the novel I snippeted from Friday. Nor is it the sequel to Interlude. Unfortunately, every time I sit down to write the book I ought to be working on, another book pushes itself to the forefront and wants my attention NOW.

It is as if I am suffering an advanced case of “ooooh, shiny” or popcorn kitten complex. It also doesn’t help that Interlude begs for a sequel to be done quickly. As a result, I have maybe 7k words done on the project I ought to be working on. Of that, maybe 2k will actually be used. Oh, I have most of the book plotted out, including about 15k of plot notes. But actually getting the book down on paper in anything close to readable form, well, that’s not happening yet.

Instead, I have space marines vying for attention against a main character who gives new meaning to the term “skeletons in the closet” (her relatives have a nasty habit of returning home after they die and not leaving. Worse, they want to continue on with their lives even though the rest of the town attended their funerals. Fortunately, the local undertaker doesn’t mind coming by to give them their “treatments” so there are no repeats of the uncle’s nose falling into the soup at Sunday dinner or the aunt’s need to overdo with the lilac water to cover the, er, aroma.Not zombies — at least not the brain eating, mindless kind — and not ghosts but enough to be a pain for the m/c). Shapeshifters are baring their teeth against an attorney, who actually scares me more than they do.

You’d think that with all those characters and plots, and the others I didn’t list, fighting for attention, I could find one that would let me write it. But nooooo. My muse is an evil bitch and right now she’s having a good laugh torturing me. The moment I sit down to write, having finally settled on one project, it goes quiet and another pops in.

Like I said, popcorn kittens. Shiny!

Normally, when this happens, I simply tell my muse to shut up and let me work. I think one of the problems this time is that I’ve been distracted by real life issues. I won’t bore you with them. I’ll simply say there have been more than enough of them and I hope they are the last vestiges of 2013’s year from hell. Since I think I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, that’s the explanation I’m holding onto.

So, this next week I’m going to sit down and force myself to work on the project that needs to be done. I’ll probably work on the sf novel as well since it is basically done. The last third needs major work, but I know what and where so that shouldn’t be too difficult. My goal this year is to put out a novel every two months and short stories when I can force myself to sit down and write them (short fiction isn’t my normal mode of writing so I don’t do them easily). I don’t know if I’ll be able to meet this goal, but I’m going to try.

Anyone else out there fighting their muse or trying to increase their writing output this year?

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